Published December 5, 2013
We’re celebrating 2 years in business this month. With 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses failing within the first 18 months, I’m pretty happy that not only are we still here, we’re growingly strongly.
We’ve managed to double revenues and profits over the same quarter last year. In the last month we’ve hired a senior software engineer and a sales and marketing assistant.
How was I reminded of our birthday? Our domain expired and we couldn’t receive emails. It bought back a memory from two years ago, my credit card was charged for some domains I’d bought for a previous business that had failed. I’d set the previous business domains to auto-renew. I didn’t have much money so even though it was only $30-$60, it really stung. So, when I bought the domain for terem.com.au I said “no way am I going to auto-renew in case I annoyingly get charged again.”
Luckily a quick call to our domain name registrar sorted everything out and we were back in operation within an hour or so.
I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not the only one this has happened to, Microsoft forgot to renew their hotmail.co.uk domain.
Published October 16, 2013
Marketing, Sales & Business
I just read an article on Mashable making “the case against business introductions” that mainly refers to Iris Shoor’s post where she discusses how she made appointments and sales at Twitter, LinkedIn and Github using a direct approach. She talks about how the direct approach led to better sales results than introductions.
I can see how this works if you know who you are targeting but introductions have provided Terem with new clients that could not have been gained through direct contact because we didn’t know they existed or had a need for what we do.
As a side note, her results fly in the face of those saying “cold calling doesn’t work”.
Published October 12, 2013
With the quarterly reviews at Terem coming up again I decided to take a moment to consider the way I do reviews when there are no serious issues with an employee (serious issues need a different tack).
To me the purpose of a review is to two-fold (1) for you to understand how someone feels they are going and what they want to achieve and (2) for you to gain feedback in how you and the business can improve. Goal and performance tracking
My experience at my first real job when it came to performance reviews taught me that a yearly review just isn’t often enough. It isn’t enough for one overwhelming reason: people are the most important ingredients in a business so you need to be as close to them as possible, provide as much assistance as you can and help them develop.
Another important consideration is that people are now more mobile than ever when it comes to jobs. So it is vitally important to ensure continued goal alignment and regular reviews are a great way to ensure this happens.
Published February 20, 2013
Tags: essay, management, thinking
“Full sentences are harder to write,” Bezos says. “They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.” (from CNN Money)
We have been debating taking two different approaches for implementing something with one of our clients. At the outset we were all favouring Option #2 but our client expressed a few concerns with it. Lucky they did.
I went to write them an email that was to describe the two options, weigh up the pros and cons and ultimately provide a recommendation. Secretly I wanted to convince them that the internally favoured Option #2 was the way to go.
Half way through the email I realised there was no point doing Option #2 at this stage and that in fact there weren’t two options, just a simple version and then an extended version of the same thing. Option #2 needed Option #1 to exist before it could be implemented.
As you can see my point of view completely changed, all because I took the time to write an email. It was all because I had to clearly articulate myself with the written word, full sentences, essay style.
This is the way to go.
As an aside, Option #2 was one of those slightly over complicated but very powerful but probably over engineered ideas common to software engineers.
One of the things I enjoy most about being in business is its ever changing nature. I’ve noticed a particular pattern that I liken to powering down a mountain at 1,000 miles per hour only to hit a bump and suddenly have your wheels start to fall of. You madly scramble to re-attach the wheels properly whilst still powering down the hill. Once you pull through you’re back powering down the mountain, feeling like an unstoppable F1 driver.
Like I said, I love this feeling. Especially that moment when you pull the wheels back on.
The bumps might come about because you’re growing – you’ve got to pull the team together for some extra effort until your new hire comes on – or they might come about because something didn’t go as planned.
Earlier in the business I’d get quite worried when we hit the bump. Overtime I’m getting better at seeing the bumps before they occur and having the confidence that we’ll pull the wheels back on.
Knowing that I’m always keen to devour anything related to personal development or business my wonderful wife Susie bought me “The Leadership Challenge” for Christmas.
Early on in the book Kouzes and Posner put forward the characteristics of admired leaders based on studies they’ve conducted asking leaders’ constituents to describe what they look for in a leader they would be most willing to follow. Over numerous studies four characteristics continue to stand out:
I think that this list is a great tool for self evaluation purposes. If you are reflecting on something that occurred and wondering whether you lead the situation well then you can quickly evaluate yourself against these four characteristics.
I caution against using it as a list of “things that I must do to be a good leader” because it lists the symptoms or effects of the character, passion, commitment, beliefs and understanding operating on a deeper level. For example, a reader could take this as “well if I just act forward-thinking then I can lead people.” I personally believe that you must be forward thinking and being forward thinking comes from a deep interest in and understanding of the area you are leading people through. Similarly, a reader of the book might be tempted to think “well if I just act inspiringly then people will follow me.” But you can’t inspire others if you aren’t inspired yourself; when you are inspired yourself, that will just rub off on others. If you are looking to exhibit the characteristics that people look for in a leader then you need to look under the covers.
Published December 16, 2012
This is fantastic. Mail.ru CEO Dmitry Grishin has created a $25 million towards robots.
It was always my passion. I studied robotics at university. I was excited about what robots can bring to society. But one of the biggest problems 10 to 20 years ago was that it was very expensive. Now because of new technology – including smartphones – a lot of components have become very cheap. You can spend a few thousand dollars and build robots.
You can read more on the New Scientist website.