Monday, July 19, 2010

It’s the Journey

I saw this on the 37 Signals blog as “I’ve already got the prize" and found it to be both true, and a little annoying. It refers to the Nobel Peace Prize, who Richard Feynman is apparently in consideration for.

The speaker comes across a little arrogant, and a bit of an ass, but what he's saying makes sense. He’s not necessarily a fun guy to be around, but I think many brilliant people, especially teachers and researchers, aren’t.
However he’s saying that the journey, the fact that you are learning and figuring things out, is what’s important. It’s not the award, it’s not being a part of some group that recognizes your efforts that’s important.
I agree with that. It is nice to be recognized, to get kudos, maybe some reward for your effort, but if you shoot for that reward and it’s the best part of your work, then I think you are going to be constantly disappointed.
Enjoy the journey, smell the roses, take pride in your effort and what you do. If there is some recognition or reward later, that should be a small part of you enjoying what you do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Do You Have To Grow?

I was on vacation recently with a friend that works at a large (5000+ person) company. This person was talking about the issues with growing the large company because they didn’t have a large impact on how things might change or the business might decide to enter into a contract with someone. They pined for a smaller company where they could have an impact and achieve that year after year growth.

But is that necessary?

Do you really need to grow your business year after year? It seems that in modern American business we’ve gotten caught up in this constant growth cycle and not ever looking at business to see if it’s viable and sustainable. Sustaining zero growth, or low growth, but having regular, repeat customers, seems to be a failure.

After all, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.

I see that quote often, but I’m not sure it’s true. I think it is valuable to reassess where you are, how your business is doing, but I don’t think that this is a race. It’s a journey, and I think you can continue on that journey in business and be fine. There are plenty of people that want to run a business, not just make an investment that they’ll sell in 5 years.