Way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s the U.S. economy wasn’t doing very well, and Dr. W. Edwards Deming wrote about his 14 Points for Management as a way to improve the economy. (The image shown comes from that link at deming.org.)
“When someone learns to drive a race car, one of the first lessons taught is that when you are going around a curve at 200 mph, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will drive right into it. If you focus on the road, you follow the road. Running a company is like that.”
~ Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things
“Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence,
and are nothing in themselves.”
I mentioned earlier that when you’re building a business, you should hire well, and this is true across every aspect of your business. A “secret” that I stumbled onto when I started Mission Data is that you have to be strong everywhere: Marketing, sales, accounting, the service you provide, and you even need to have a good lawyer.
“I thought you were a blind dog, but I see you are a keen-eyed lion.”
One of the most valuable lessons I learned when I created Mission Data was to hire well. Phrases like this have become more popular recently when people learned of the Steve Jobs quote, “A players hire A players, and B players hire C players,” and other similar quotes. Guy Kawasaki, who was there during the early Apple days, expanded on this quote with his own thoughts:
“The best way is to know the strict rules of karma,
and to work on our karma immediately.”
For anyone who knows me, I'm the high-paid consultant who accidentally unleashed a virus/worm on one of my customer's networks, and wreaked havoc on their business one day. To say the least, it wasn't one of the better days of my consulting life.
“When it’s time to be a general, be a general.
When it’s time to be a monk, be a monk.”
A friend of mine is currently unemployed, and as I've talked to her about ways to approach her situation, I'm reminded of how I started Mission Data.
“The beginner’s mind should never be lost.”
If you're a new consultant thinking about going to work for a small consulting company, I'd like to share what I went through in the first three years of my consulting life, in particular my thought process about the revenue I was trying to generate. Hopefully there are some valuable lessons in what I went through way back then.
In this section I share a few additional stories that I first wrote after selling my consulting firm in 2007. These stories are generally related to the topic of starting and running your own consulting business.