Interesting times

So many people are afraid of others stealing their idea. Sure, it may happen. But here’s what I’ve discovered in recent weeks: I would rather work with people who see things similarly to the way I do, and the feeling seems to be mutual, so the likelihood that someone will steal your idea and all the thinking that led up to the idea rather than just partnering with you to do it …. Well, it does depend on the situation. But I’ve made my point.
I made a mistake recently. Not a bad one, but an avoidable one, where I was so focused on the 20% of revenue that I would miss out on that I kind of forgot about the other 80%. I’m making up the numbers, it may in fact be 5% and 95%.
In that case, it was partly bad expectation management on the part of my partner. It is way worse to be in the airport and have them tell you every 30 minutes your plane is delayed another 30 minutes than to tell you there is a four hour delay, rather go to the airport lounge or the restaurant and chill. You may not like an answer, but you’ll live with it. What is annoying is being constantly promised something will come ‘soon’ and it never getting there.
But still. I knew better.
No one is perfect, and I learned a good lesson. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. You won’t catch all your own mistakes. That’s what you have sounding board for.
This week was pretty awesome. Actually, it was phenomenal. I think the worst thing that happened is that my physio was in a bad mood and finally told me what she’d been wanting to say for a while, which boils down to that I should really retire from competitive CrossFit if I care about the long-term health of my body.
It’s not CrossFit’s fault. It’s not even my fault. It’s that my mobility and pre-hab programme does not match my training programme. That is fixable, if you identify that you want to fix it. But, the fix will not be easy. No, it’s not easy to stay away from any and all ring work and butterfly pullups until my shoulder is properly healed. I just wish I knew more about anatomy to figure out what exactly to rehab, and it’s tough because as with the back, you may spend weeks and lots of money and no one seems to know exactly what to tell you to do regarding movements to avoid and rehab exercises to do.
In the week I managed a new personal best on front squat, despite a bit of a CNS fail since I hadn’t lifted heavy in about three weeks. My legs wobbled when I unracked the bar and I still made the lift; so I’m actually probably 5kgs stronger than that. 100kgs I am coming for you. I also hit a new squat snatch PB, about 10kgs more than I normally can squat snatch as I have issues getting under the bar. And this was after missing a lift and falling on my bum in the warmup.
Oh, and I discovered that even 45kg thrusters aren’t that heavy unless you’ve just done a ton of pullups or rowing. What was terrible? Tuesday’s workout. Left me wanting to cry like a little girl. How to make burpees hard? Clapping pushups& sled pull & push beforehand. OMFG. There was this time when I was in high school that my mother would brag that I could bench press 100lbs. I couldn’t. Now I warm up with that weight.
So in a world of relativity, as much as I’m as competitive as the next person, at the end of the day you’re not going to win everything. What does matter is that constant improvement, and pride in what you’ve done.
Speaking of pride, I am so proud of my team. Of all of them, but especially this week of Rudolph for having the insight into his team and into the company history to give some context I had completely missed, and of Jade for basically just being awesome. I have at least five rock stars in the making amongst my staff at the moment, and even the ones who aren’t ambitious go-getters are solid team players.
Not saying we are perfect; but one message I relayed loud and clear this week along with our revenue goals & bonus scheme for the next six months is this: you will never accomplish anything if you don’t keep your eye on the prize. Know where you’re going, and live it. Otherwise you’ll get distracted by the minutia.
Here’s my management philosophy, and it will be interesting to see if the Ellie of ten years from now agrees with this. But I think you must let people have as much autonomy as they can take. Hire good people and let them do their damn jobs. Trust, yes. Verify, yes.
I tell my team constantly that there are two truths that I live by:
  1. You will make mistakes, and that’s ok. We all do. What’s not ok is trying to hide a mistake.
  2. The only thing worse than no data is bad data (read: do NOT cook the stats. I will find out.)

This week, as I said, was pretty epic. What happened?
  • We are very close to signing the biggest services contract in company history
  • A joint pitch with a channel partner to a big customer met with resounding success
  • I met with a big competitor, who it turns out would actually much rather partner with us
  • I got a huge compliment from the founder of a name-brand company; more importantly someone that I very much like and respect, and he is helping me with something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now
  • Aligned the company with sales & operational goals and began discussing KPIs for each key group
  • Lunch with my lovely friend Ingi
  • Had a visit from one of my favourite vendors
  • Had a visit from another of my other favourite vendors; one that is quickly crossing into partner status
  • Skype calls with half my board members
  • Did an interview about conference Wi-Fi
  • Met a guy, and had a kind of a meeting, that rocked my world in a good way (it’s the Starlings magic, maybe, just maybe)
  • Prepared for my London trip, which excites me to no end. I know what I want, and this is my shopping trip to go acquire it
  • Met with one of the local ISPs and, among other things, told the what this whole TVWS thing meant to them, so I’ve now earned my bubbly & cupcakes at the next reseller evening
  • Great Skype call with a Silicon Valley company whose tech I find very interesting

You know what? You don’t climb out of the kiddie pool by yourself. Organic growth is fine, but I’m far too impatient for that. Skyrove won’t get there any time soon without some serious partners, and I do mean plural. Three-way trades in sport are way harder than two-way trades. I have this nutty idea that is going to be more like a five-way trade. But what the hell. I’m a connector and a salesman. Go big or go home, right? So far so good. It’s encouraging when you meet others who see the world the same way you do. That means either you’re all right, or you’re all deluded in a similar way.
This article is awesome because it basically says that most people and most companies think that big paradigm shifts are the job of someone else. Big companies think small companies are better placed, small companies think big companies have bigger war chests. Well …. Put two and two together and you can figure out what I think.
One thing I do think: I have no time for crap, or being disrespected (have always hated that). Like passive aggressives and covert aggressives. There’s a fine line between being unintentionally ignored (as I do to my cat sometimes) and intentionally shunned (as I do to the specific car guards who I don’t like). My EQ is decent. If you are weird with me, I will notice. And I will not just let it sit.
Accept the situation, change it, or leave it. Usually the route is clear, even if it’s  not easy.
Back to those cognitive biases. I feel like we can rationalise nearly anything. In sport, that’s why we need a coach, to make us work our weaknesses and through the suck. Same thing in the business world, and yet how many executives let someone ask them the difficult questions?
There’s questions you can think on the fly and answer. And then there’s the ones that cut close to home. It’s actually painful when someone asks you a question about something you’re not talking about for a reason. But what did we ever gain by hiding things from ourselves?
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by.” – Robert Frost
That old Chinese curse: ‘May you live in interesting times?’ I like interesting times. And I think the next few months will be very interesting.
  • “My dog ate my passport.” – Rudolph
  • “You can’t search that question from Google. You have to search it from within Meraki.” – Adam
  • “There’s a dead stuffed lynx upstairs and you’re telling me this is normal?” – Ellie
  • “I’m not sure how something that looks so easy can be so hard!” – Ellie (I should know better by now!!)
  • “We charge by the centimetre.” – Victor
  • “You’re right. They do give Wi-Fi a bad name.” – Victor
  • “What do they call it when they come knock on your door after midnight?” “Jehovah’s Witnesses?” – tax guy & Jade
  • “You can’t put a 2Mbps uncapped on a 4Mbps line. … I’ve tried it.” – Adam
  • “Oh look, it’s a guest appearance from Ellie.” – Shirmo  
  • “I need someone who will ask me the questions I can’t answer.” – Ellie
  • “You certainly don’t seem to have a problem with the vision part.” – Casper
  • “I spend that much money on CrossFit.” – Ellie
  • “Is everyone even at A?” – Casper
  • “Oh no, you have to let people do their own learning.” – Kerry
  • “That’s a very mature approach.” – Kian
  • “Yeah, I get the idea that I’d rather bash my head against a brick wall than use your online configurator.” – Ellie
  • “Wait. They installed Linksyses and told them they were Ciscos?” – Ellie (yes they did. Our industry can be a bit dodgy)
  • “I am always dubious when I am told I will love someone.” – Rob
  • “We need a way to get you a bigger footprint.” – Doug
  • “How long ago was that?” “About 12 years.” “See, you’ve been dodgy for 12 years!” – Rudolph & Ellie
  • “I smuggled — into —–.” “Nice.” “Nice.” “Nice.” “Nice.” – does it really matter who said what?
  • “Don’t give me guesses, dammit!” – Henk  
  • “No one cares what you’re selling. They care what problem of theirs you’re solving. ” – Ellie
  • “I hope your body still likes you when you’re older.” “I’m not convinced my body likes me now.” – Bryony & Ellie
  • “Cold turkey.” “No!! You can’t tell an addict they need to go cold turkey!” – Bryony & Ellie
  • “At least I can talk to you.” – Eugene
  • “No one is thinking of this as – .” “I am. You are.” – Eugene & Ellie (they will be if they read this, and we do not want that, now do we??)
  • “Cartels are fine, but screw the cartel. Just build it yourself.” – Ellie
  • “I was trying to Wi-Fi the world.” “I was trying to get here.” – Ellie & Adam
  • “Now, go get it!” We’re starting now.” “Yeah, I suppose you are!” – Ellie & Tim
  • “It’s easy to point the finger when it’s someone else.” – Jade
  • “What’s going on? What’s so funny?” “We’re trying to figure that out.” – Ellie & Tim
  • “I don’t like to get under.” “But you have to get under.” “I know. That’s why I’m practicing.” – Ellie & JP (and I hit a squat snatch PR a few minutes later)


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