Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mavericks Win

If you are a regular reader of this blog why keep clicking on the URL, or come through my web site? On the right column, below links to other blogs there’s an email sign-up feature that will send you Diary entries the day after publishing.

OK on to the week’s first entry with quotes (some of which are embedded in the text). A new book (and blog) from the founders of F@st Company called Mavericks at Work, which basically says non-conformers that buck conventional trends in pursuit of “quixotic quests” often turn into the real winners. A quote from the blog, “Originality has become the essence of strategy.” Kudos to William Taylor and Polly LaBarre for publishing this book.

My own view of this is I think they’re on to something, at least within my sector. The reality of business marketing (which is creative by definition) is that if you’re not thinking out of the box, you fall into points of parity. Marketing is meant to position company’s to be first in their offering, and in some cases the marketing itself needs to be innovative, and out-of-the-box.

That’s the beauty of web 2.0 technologies, not that they're great new toys, but they are enabling great innovation within our field. Many people look at internet marketing as a unique discipline, but my experience is that it’s not. It’s just new media that requires marketers to blend PR, advertising and direct marketing skills to be successful. So really Web 2.0 technology encourages hybrid marketing strategy and tactics. Practitioners that are ad men or PR gals solely will have a hard time in the 21st century marketing world.

So are these hybrid innovating practitioners mavericks? I think so (BTW: For a true business and marketing maverick consider Sir Richard Branson's many successes in disparate markets). I know that the firms I respect in the area are often headed by an exec who believes in innovation, or by someone like me, who had to start their own company to execute their vision. If you go to the theory of evolution, even Mother Nature is a maverick, constantly innovating and evolving species to better meet the changing needs of earth. What’s sad is that as human beings we fight change. Another entry for someone else’s sociology blog.

A young reader asked me if I thought it was a good idea for him to go out on his own and start his own agency. A couple of thoughts:

1) Being in business means you are a salesperson. Many people start businesses who have a great idea, but can’t sell, and therefore fail. Every company must generate revenue to be successful, so learn how to sell before going out on your own.

2) In order to sell something, you must have it. Therefore gain superior domain knowledge before going out on your own. People will buy expertise.

3) If your gut is telling you to start a company, then you should trust it. I had the same feeling for about a year and a half and ignored it. I wasted my time trying to make it work in someone else’s start-up, and really regret it. That being said, if you don’t have one and two down, it’s not time yet. Work in your job to gain the skills to become a successful entrepreneur. Here’s a Business 2.0 article about five entrepreneurs who stated companies while in their current position.

Notes on the business side. Just passed $50K in net revenue collected, not bad for the middle of my sixth month (especially given the whole flood episode). Of course, there are a lot of costs associated with starting a company so this is definitely not my profit (far from it). The good news is I have been able to pay myself something every month dating back to June, and I am I’m paying others, too. Contributing to the economy, boys and girls.

With this kind of revenue (plus a little more to cover business costs) I could have a nice lifestyle company. That’s not interesting to me, though I do like the life. Now, it’s time to scale this thing to bring more people on board, become more innovative, and make some clients/companies very successful. That means back to getting retainer accounts, which is not an easy task.

Non-business note: The Yankees lost! I am amazed and very happy.

Additional Monday Quotes:

“…the most powerful way to create economic value is to embrace a set of values that go beyond just amassing power, and that business, at its best, is too exciting, too important, and too much fun to be left to the dead hand of business as usual.”
- William Taylor and Polly LaBarre

“The whole world loves a maverick and the whole world wants the maverick to achieve something nobler than simple rebellion.”
-Kevin Patterson


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