The Idea Dude

CONNECTING THE DOTS ONE AT A TIME

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Geeks in Toyland

Full-disclosure, I 'borrowed' the title from a Wired article on the next generation Mindstorms. I feel justified having been a long time Lego fan...my son has inherited my passion. I think I've personally helped resurrect the Lego company from financial distress with my periodic forays into Lego purchases. Mindstorms Nxt is an aggressive foray into consumer robotics with support for Bluetooth, USB 2.0, etc. Exciting stuff, read more here...

Back to the point of this blog...this is the month of no turning back. I'm about to embark on another start-up venture. With a couple of friends, a little bit of funding, we're hitting the yellow brick road. I've never really quite escaped the Internet cyclone. Hopefully we will have the hearts, minds, courage and instinct to find our way. I wake up every morning repeating my current favorite phrase, 'I fear regret more than I fear failure'. Having done this a couple of times and made a couple of people rich along the way, it's time to ride my own destiny.

Right now, my long-time friend and colleague, and I feel like Geeks in Toyland. Exhilerating, scary...another rollercoaster ride. Pretty soon, we'll hit reality, customers, bugs, business models, traction, budgets...there is no one else to blame, the buck stops here. I remember reading somewhere that for us to enrich ourselves, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, we have to, at least once a year, do something that we fear the most. Every time I did that, I always looked back in wonder at what all the hullabaloo was about...

The other thought that has been running madly in my head the last few days is 'not to seek consensus but to seek consistency'. What does that mean? As a young manager I spent countless hours trying to win the hearts of management, sales, my tech team, friends to make sure they all agreed I was doing the right thing. Alas, it took many life experiences to make me realize that in business, your goal is not for people to like you (it would be good if they did, but that isn't the goal and that shouldn't be what drives your decision). Your goal is to understand which decisions are yours to make and you make them based on what makes good business sense. Of course, you must try to make the difficult decisions with compassion and respect but you must make them nevertheless. What you want your team to understand that, after listening and consulting all the relevant parties, it is still your decision and they need to respect that. My emerging philosophy is that you can't truly love or care for anyone until you really respect them. Consistency is about everyone signing up and supporting you even if he or she may not personally agree with you because it's about the team that drives success.

Enough said, now where's Toto, can never find that dog when you want him.....

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