A couple months ago, I returned from a cross-country trip during which I met with business and education leaders in Raleigh, New York, and Chicago. It was a busy but useful trip. After returning home, my mind was of course flooded with ideas to sort out and investigate, but I found myself distracted by the memories of what I’m calling “human assumption behavior” I observed.
We humans think of ourselves as advanced, typically right, intelligent, and capable of observing our surroundings. And yet so often when we’re not paying close attention we find ourselves doing some pretty dumb things. We make assumptions; we skip thinking through what consequences will come of our actions (or inactions) because we assume we’re smart, that we’re making wise decisions. We do things that if we saw others doing similar we’d point and laugh. So I’m going to point and laugh (and pretend that I have never, ever done anything similar, which of course is foolishness and an example of human assumption behavior). Continue reading Human Assumption Behavior
This morning, before I had even begun to drink coffee, I wobbled downstairs to find my wife sitting at her desktop doing some research. Next to her were a few reprints of our wedding photos she had recently made in preparation for Christmas. I glanced down and almost cringed at the half-as-old me grinning back. I was thin, too thin, like a stick. Glasses. Geek.
Many years have passed since then; nearly half my life to date. I’m still a geek, but I’m a lot older, greyer. No more glasses. Some would say I’m more distinguished. They would be wrong. My hair is thinning; my waist line isn’t. My muscles have opinions about the sort of mattress I sleep on and express these opinions well. My joints are holding out, at least so far, but I have noticed a curious inability to think as clearly and with as much focus as I did 20 years ago. I’m certainly much more wise now versus then; smarter too if you measure in terms of raw knowledge and data. I can learn things faster, being that I can leverage a history of previous similar learning experiences. But I feel (unscientifically) that I’m slowly slipping as an intellectual. Continue reading I’m Getting Old. Meh.
I happen to be a successful software developer, businessman, and entrepreneur. I’m no millionaire (yet), but by most measures I’m doing pretty well. I started my own business in November, 2007 with a single client and a single employee (me). It’s now 9 months later, and I have five people on staff and am seriously contemplating the purchase of another company that would result in a total combined staff of about 15. The whole time, the business has been profit-positive.
Is that because I’m some sort of business genius? No. (I’m above average, but my staff are all smarter than me.) What about being a guru of a software developer. Nope. (Again, above average here, but there are a lot of developers whose programming foo I envy and will never attain.) Maybe because I just got really lucky? Not a chance. (I don’t believe luck happens on its own. You make your own luck by working really hard and being thereby ready to pick up on opportunities as they arrive.)
So what is it that made me successful, not just in this latest business venture but across my career and life? There are a lot of little things: I strive for excellence in whatever I do. I’m always pushing myself to achieve more, grow more, learn more. I try to have a positive attitude (most of the time). I try to bridge knowledge and experience cross-discipline. But honestly, I think none of these things really makes a difference in the long-run because I constantly see people who have these things and more who are not as successful. Instead, what I see in every enduringly successful person is ethics. Continue reading Business Ethics