It’s that time of the year – resolution time. It’s time to reflect on the past year and look towards the new one. I usually validate my objectives in January while running a marathon, something one of our partners calls “the soul mirror”, when all the superficial desires escape and I get to see what I’m all about and what I want to do. For the record, here is my last years resolution, I think I’ve lived up to most of it.
Looking back, 2006 was very much a building year both for myself and for my business. I got married, I got a number of opportunities to get in front of people and share what I know, more than doubled my partner size network, grew the international business by leaps and bounds, and took a lot of input into the way I/we do things. That is about as far from Vladville as I can get but it really opened my eyes to the possibilities and potential not just of what I’m doing but what I’m enabling others to do.
That has been a great conflict of mine as well, one for which I have been both privately and personally criticized about. Instead of doing the same ol’ Vlad “shoot and ask questions later”, I’ve taken more time this year to make sure we’re really doing what’s best for the business, the partners and customers and not necessarily what’s best for Vlad. This took a lot of patience (one thing most people that know me will grant you I don’t have), a lot of restraint, a lot of holding back – evaluating and testing instead of doing and revising.
Things that went wrong in 2006…
Expectations. I’ve done a lousy job of setting the right expectations on Shockey Monkey, mostly out of the fact that this was an experimental project to begin with. As I took on more input that literally smashed what I thought was needed, that smashed what virtually every competitive product thought SMB IT shops needed, the correct implementation required more input, more guidance and more time on the drawing table.
Epiphanies. Nothing like getting together with friends in July and realizing you’re on the wrong path. While this was an overall positive both for me personally and for OWN, 2006 would have been a lot easier if I had not decided to significantly shift focus.
Hurting Friends. My biggest regret, hurting the folks that are close to me professionally that I consider my friends. While taking crap is a part of great friendships, I wish I held back on certain things I said to Chris Rue and Susan Bradley.
Things that went right in 2006..
Shockey Monkey. Despite doing a poor job of setting expectations, Shockey Monkey has been the most positive development for me and for OWN. I sat down with so many people, held back judgement, and just listened to what their problems are. Then I did something new. Instead of solving their problems as the old Vlad would have done, I came back to them with a proposal. They shot it down. Ok, how about this? Still not right, ok, how about now? I’ve worked with about 200 IT shops this year really trying to figure out their strengths and weaknesses and how OWN can be a good part of it.
These conversations built and expanded over time not just to the helpdesk and service monitoring but also to the areas of management, training, education, entrepreneurialism, hiring, firing, and what is really important.
So suddenly, whats really important becomes the objective for 2007.
What is going on in 2007?
I see 2007 significantly different from any other year I’ve been in business. For one, it is no longer about doing the same thing just harder. It is about adapting to the drastically changed market, demands and goals of both OWN, our partners and our clients. We learned a lot out of our Vista/Office 2007 deployments about what the next generation is going to look like, what it will take and how it will play out. Hint: There are more important things to SMBs than what Microsoft is imagining. The next wave will be slow.
OWN will continue the tradition of leveraging of its infrastructure and resources to bring the power of scalability to SMB IT Partners to realize the full synergy as we modernize the technology in the SMB sector. And now a translation for the folks that were not fired from a large company due to gross incompetence: OWN will continue to help IT shops bring the powerful applications, expertise and systems to the small businesses that couldn’t afford it otherwise.
Personally, I will be dedicating more time and effort in the areas that I have identified as critical to both my personal professional growth and helping OWN adjust. You will see me publishing a lot more technical stuff during 2007, I’ve already bought and read a few technical writing books. I will work with Susanne to further the scope of the SBS Show to beyond just IT and business.
Wish me luck and work on your resolutions too. Failure to plan is a plan to fail.