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LA ON Fire – Part II
Jul 6th, 2016 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Blake Glenn’s Looney thoughts, perspectives, adventures, and insights on the world of business!

— By Blake Glenn

 

Upon my arrival in LA, as always the tall palm trees, bright sunshine, and pollutant-infused smog embraced me with open arms. But, unfortunately, for the next week I wouldn’t see much of them. My immediate destiny was to be holed up deep within the bowels of the GAO office, leading efforts to turn around our fast disintegrating hopes for the $5,000,000 tech project.

When I got to the office I hit the ground running. I immediately set up a meeting with the client staff to hear their grievances. We held the meeting in the large conference room. It was windowless, barren, cold, grey, lacking in anything approaching personality, completely soulless.  It was an appropriate scene for the hellish torture I was set to endure.

All of the client stakeholders were present. Having all of them present was critical. Some of these people may have had their careers tied to this project. And even the least powerful among them still had influence and could make our team’s life miserable with their discontent and dozens of small complaints, a death by a thousand tiny cuts.

I should have put on my toxic substance defense suit because the shit began flying immediately. While I wasn’t the reason for their travails, I was now the onsite representative of the enemy. And as such, I was now the one bright red target upon which to vent their unending anger.

 

………………..

 

The grievances were many. That the new network installation wasn’t going well was an epic understatement. There were lots of bugs. That happens all the time of course. Things never go the way you expect. And like roaches in real life, you could quash a few here and there, but you could also rest assured that they would pop up somewhere else. Again. And again.

The situation was exacerbated by the engineers and technicians whose poor attitudes angered the GAO staff . The techies didn’t communicate well about problem resolutions. They didn’t respond quickly to information requests. And most damaging of all, they were simply rude to the customers, treating them like uninformed idiots that didn’t deserve the tech’s time.

My employer had made a big mistake too. They had left a hard core network engineer named Terry in charge of the onsite team. They could not have chosen a worse candidate. He was a very good network engineer, maybe even superb. But his people and management skills were non-existent. He was rude, short-tempered, and thin-skinned.

He was the Donald Trump of the geek world. But this was my employer’s fault more than Terry’s. They knew about his “personality flaws”. He should have never been the onsite team lead in the first place. But, in a moment of weakness, they acquiesced to his desire to be the man.

The other techs followed behind him because, well, he was in charge. But they weren’t happy. The customers were haranguing them relentlessly, not due to their own ineptitude but due to his. And the team recognized Terry’s inadequacies. They were ready for a change. When I arrived, the GAO villagers were so incensed with Terry that they were gathering torches and pitch-forks and descending upon the tech castle to drive him out of the building. And I think each and every one of our team members was ready to join them!

I acted quickly to take control and try to put things on the right track. Here’s what I did:

  • Immediately met with client staff as a means for them to vent their anger, frustration, and grievances. I mostly listened, and listened, and listened
  • Inserted myself between all tech personnel and client staff. There needed to be a buffer or cushion between these two groups and I had to be it
  • Immediately removed Terry from his position and made sure the other team members knew who was in charge … Me. The boss had already made everyone aware that I was now in charge. But that was a mandate from almost 3,000 miles away. I reinforced that mandate upon my arrival and included the boss in our meetings via conference call
  • Set up war room complete with crisis board to manage each problem
  • Enacted an emergency project management plan
  • Set up hierarchy to prioritize each problem
  • As a public relations move, had tech’s quickly fix a handful of small but lingering problems to show progress and ease tensions, i.e., killed several roaches quickly
  • Set up morning, mid-afternoon, and end-of-day progress briefings with client staff as a means to keep the client close to the activity. Only included techies that were necessary for updates and answering technical questions. Kept their client interaction time to a minimum.
  • Held tech staff briefings three times daily … about 30 minutes to 1 hour before client briefings
  • Threatened to drive Terry to the high open desert and remove his man-parts, Game-of-Thrones style, and feed them to the rattlesnakes if he came close enough to even breath the same air as any member of the client staff

 

Of course none of these items were rocket science. They weren’t that innovative. They weren’t going to change the world. They were all mostly just practical common sense actions needed to turn around this failing project, especially the Game-of-Thrones technique.

 

………………..

 

The primary requirements to do my job were pretty simple:

  1. Organization and project management;
  2. Thick skin to take all of the heat from the client … and my team members;
  3. Great communications skills;
  4. Ability to seamlessly transform at a moment’s notice between being a soothing “crisis whisperer” to a tough but fair ass-kicking leader;
  5. Sense of humor – seriously, some things you just gotta laugh at;
  6. Ability to combine individual profane words and phrases into new semi-lucid profanity strings targeted at non-compliant members of my team. This was a last resort of course, but proved unusually effective when used sparingly and with precision. As effective in many cases also was the strategic use of profane hand and finger movements and gestures.

 

And, while not flawless, the tactics worked. Within a week we had saved the LA project, which helped to renew confidence in my employer, which helped save the other regional GAO installations, which means we rescued about $5,000,000 in revenue for my employer. I was proud of the team coming together under my leadership to make this happen. But it was a team effort. They just needed the right leader. I didn’t have to Game-of-Thrones Terry’s man parts … unfortunately. And my boss was able to maintain his golf privileges.

The trip wasn’t all work though. One upside of that adventure was that my girlfriend-of-the-time lived in the Los Angeles area. Though we amicably went our separate ways soon after this trip, it was certainly good to see her.

Frankly though, I couldn’t understand why she brought her good male friend with her each time we met. It was good to see that she had a friend out there. Who says men and women can’t just be friends. I guess he needed her support. Going through a difficult time according to her. And he was strong. Lots of muscles. I knew she was safe. She later got married and had kids. I never met her husband. But the kids kind of looked like that guy. What a coincidence. I wonder if they’re still friends.

 

Want to catch up on Part I? Just click here!

 

………………..

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

 

If you dare, I can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

P.S.  I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my business game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the player pool!

 

 

LA On Fire – Part I!
Jun 30th, 2016 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Blake Glenn’s Looney thoughts, perspectives, adventures, and insights on the world of business!

— By Blake Glenn

 

In mid-June, 1995 at approximately 8:29 am EST, on a typical sunny-hazy day, a major fire broke out in downtown Los Angeles, California. The sparks from this blue-hot blaze had been smoldering at a low level for about 10 days and now threatened to burst into an inferno and engulf the U.S. GAO building. The GAO was the Government Accounting Office.

 

An aside … As a result of a brilliant and strategically considered rebranding effort, in 2004 the “A” was changed from Accounting to Accountability. Yay!

 

This was not one of the ubiquitous 100-times-a-year forest fires indigenous to Southern California. No. This one was special. It was entirely contained within the GAO building. But if not contained, it threatened to leap-frog across the U.S. and spread to Atlanta, Washington, DC and other regional offices of the GAO.

Let me set the stage for this story.

You see I was working on-site as a contractor at the U.S. GAO Washington, DC headquarters. Our mission was to maintain the information technology system at the HQ as well as several field office locations around the country. Our services included installation, help desk support, repairs, maintenance, disaster recovery, and training. In total, the contract was worth about $5,000,000.

In 1995 the contractor I worked for was in discussions with the GAO for renewal and expansion of said contract. When you’re in a contract renewal year it’s like being a professional athlete in your last contract year. You want to have a great year. Be on your best behavior. Do a great job to try to ensure another big contract to keep the money rolling in. Those titanium golf clubs don’t buy themselves you know.

Needless to say, the higher-level, and by default, mid-level managers were all in a tizzy, as would be expected. The prospect of losing country-club memberships would panic even the most fearless individual. My employer implemented a secret plan send a specialist with a particular set of skills to address the situation.

Me.

And after conducting a bit of clandestine research, putting myself and those I love in dire danger, I was able to uncover the original transcript from the top-secret 1-on-1 crisis meeting with my boss, the project manager at U.S. GAO HQ in Washington, DC. Below I’ve provided a complete un-redacted original transcript.

………………..

 

8:47 am EST: Boss called into office of GAO division director in Washington, DC to get an earful on a critical situation developing in Los Angeles, CA

9:17 am EST: Boss asks to meet me in large GAO conference room … alone

9:23 am EST (I had to make a bathroom stop): Boss provides overview of the critical situation in Los Angeles

 

Full Transcript (un-redacted):

 

Boss: I need you Blake.

Me: Of course. How can I help sir?

 

Boss: We have a major situation in LA. A raging fire has broken out at the GAO regional office there. And I’m not so sure we can contain it. It’s bad. Real bad. Our entire tech contract is in deep shit. That’s $5,000,000 ready to go poof!

Me: Hmm. I see sir. How did this happen?

 

Boss: The geeks. Those damned geeks. No people skills. They ran wild. Talking to the customers like they were idiots. Not fixing problems in a timely fashion. They’re utterly out of control. They’ve fucked it all up! Damnit. Damn. It!

Me: I agree. That’s a bad situation sir. And by geeks I assume you primarily mean Terry, the onsite project manager.

 

Boss: Yes, Terry. Blake you’re our best hope. Hell you’re our only hope at this point. You’re the sole individual that can drag us out of that quagmire. Without you I’m afraid this contract will be lost. It’s worth $5,000,000 you know. We can’t lose it. You have to save it for us. It funds my country club membership. We have to focus on the real important things in life right?

Me: What? That’s a lot of pressure sir. By myself I don’t know if I can …

 

Boss (interrupting): We’re depending on you Blake. I mean TOTALLY. DEPENDING. ON. YOU. We really are. I need you to fly into LA and fix this freakin’ mess.

Me: Of course sir. I’ll do my best. But …

 

Boss (interrupting): No buts. I mean butts are fine. I like butts a lot, just not as part of this conversation. Just make this happen. And here may be a pony in it for you if you can pull off this miracle. You like ponies don’t you?

Me: Silence. Bewilderment. Staring. Mouth open.

 

Boss: Well don’t you?

Me: Uh. I don’t know. I never …

 

Boss (interrupting): Of course you do. What a stupid question. We all like ponies.

Me: Ok sir. I can see you’re under a lot of pressure. Are you ok?

 

Boss: How about a pink one. I think I can make that happen. You like pink do you?

Me: Pink? What?

 

Boss: Pressure! You have no freakin’ idea. I picked a helluva day to stop taking my pain killers recreationally.

Me: Ok. Ok. I’ll go to LA and do my best sir.

 

Boss: Of course. Your best is all I can ask for. That and fixing this mess of course. And saving my golf privileges. We can’t forget what’s important here. Am I right?

Me: No. I’m not promising …

 

Boss (interrupting): So that’s it then. It’s settled. You’ll fly out and deal with it. I already have you booked on a flight.

Me: What? When?

 

Boss: Two hours . You better get moving.

Me: Two hours! Sir what the fu…

 

Boss (interrupting): Excellent! I knew you’d be excited and want to leave right away. You’re my main man. By the way, does my golf swing look correct? Look at this.

Me: You son of a …

 

Boss (interrupting): No reason to thank me! You know I’m an unsentimental fool. When you reach LA be sure to check in straight away. Now off you go. You’re the man!

 

………………..

 

And with that I raced home, quickly packed, and caught a taxi to Washington National Airport. The 8-hour trip to Los Angeles, including the layover, flew by (no pun intended … ok it really was) rather quickly. I had a little time to prep myself for the hellish, toxic environment I was about to walk into – angry clients, battered tech staff, low morale on both sides, and the prospect of losing a $5,000,000 contract.

After a good night’s sleep, the last one I’d have for several days, I stepped onto pavement directly in front ofthe downtown Los Angeles GAO office. It was 8:00 am sharp. I quickly glanced the bright yellow shape in the sky, adjusted my red power tie, took a deep breath, opened the glass door, and walked head-first into the raging inferno inside.

 

For the rest of the story please read part II of LA On Fire!

 

………………..

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

 

If you dare, I can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

P.S.  I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my business game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the player pool!

 

 

The Case Of The Missing Equity! … Part II
Mar 9th, 2016 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A true story taken from the (Mis-)Adventures of The Looney Executive.

 

If you missed The Case Of The Missing Equity – Part I, it might help to catch up on the chaos of this tale and then come back for the rest!

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

So all of that insanity set the stage for a chaotic, unfocused, middling, small business pursuing government contracts. Having advised a handful of distressed small businesses I’d become somewhat of a distressed biz profiler. I’d seen the story before. And the evidence was laid out in plain sight for all to see.

 

  • No core strategy.
  • No focus.
  • Poor leadership.
  • No bread and butter clients (i.e., clients that brought consistent revenue).
  • No nothing else that was superior or unique or special that could be exploited.
  • Chaos all around.

 

Since he and I shared an office I’d been talking to him on a daily basis. I knew the strategy because I was helping to develop it, or at least I tried. He changed it almost weekly. This was an act of desperation. And I understood. I’d been in the desperate zone myself. But my strongly encouraged advice of developing and executing a core strategy went unheeded.

One week the focus was on applying for government certifications. The next it’s on contract bidding for items outside of his niche. We bid on a few contracts. Won none of them. Winning government contracts is a volume game. The competition can be fierce. So in order to be successful, you need to produce lots of proposals. It was a jungle where only the strongest, and best-connected, could thrive. We also discussed a few unique ideas that we could launch. These were ideas that would bring his thinking more in line with that of a tech startup founder. But Ricky just wasn’t of the mindset to think, and act, too creatively. On top of it all, Ricky was focused on his PhD studies. So he’d spend large parts of days doing school work and not addressing the severely damaged ship careening toward a fiery crash.

And yet part of the promo (before I arrived) included such typical and overused mantras as “highest quality”, “number one company”, “most experienced” … huh?

Even with that I was a little surprised when one day, out of the blue, he broke the news of layoffs for some of his small staff, including me. My surprise was not the layoff itself, but that he didn’t give a heads up, and frankly that it didn’t happen sooner. But he offered what he thought was a carrot to keep us engaged. He offered us an equity stake but …

 

There was no “there” there.

There was nothing original that was being produced.

There were no long-term contracts.

There were no patents or other valuable intellectual property.

There was no A+ management team.

 

And there was a lack of trust too.

On more than one occasion Ricky told a staff member that paychecks were on the way when they hadn’t even been mailed yet. He was buying time. Not communicating with staff. Operating on the edge. Sometimes when the landlord came by to collect, Ricky would pretend to not be there. Why the landlord felt the need to collect in person was an interesting phenomenon in itself. Perhaps he too had been told one time too many times that the check was in the mail.

As the team gathered in a meeting to discuss this dire situation, I just asked a couple of entirely reasonable questions. I didn’t want to say outright that equity-for-work was a damned horrible idea and embarrass him. But I needed to know. When I asked the legitimate question of how much he currently valued the company, he blurted out an exorbitantly high number. When I followed up with the question of how he arrived at that number, he became a bit irritated and defensive. He said that he could create any value he wanted.

Clearly he was delusional. I didn’t see this as an outright attempt at fraud. He was desperate. He wanted to think that his hard work over the years translated into something of great value. Unfortunately, like for most of the hard-working 49er’s of the California gold rush, it didn’t.

This model he’d chosen to pursue was a dead end. He may get a few contracts here and there. But without a clear focus, a good strategy, and great leadership he was destined to pilot this ship aimlessly through the coldness of space until it eventually simply crashed.

 

After evaluating the situation my advice was simple:

  • Shoot this miserable, suffering beast as a means to a merciful death.
  • Kill it quickly and decisively. He, and it, would not have to suffer any more.
  • Get a job. Save money. Pay off the bills.
  • Develop better ideas.
  • Start fresh in a couple of years.
  • Better yet, pursue acquisitions as a path back to entrepreneurship.

 

But if he was crazy enough to keep going as a startup entrepreneur … start over with a core strategy around one or two unique ideas in a space that was not a low-profit, commoditized jungle.

Ricky did get a job for a while. But, ignoring my advice, he kept the company open for business doing the same thing. A couple of years later, after I was gone from the DC area, he told me he had moved into a new office park. Same business model though. I always wish him the best. I hope he succeeds.

But the old saying is true … sometimes you just can’t teach a stubborn old dog new tricks.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?

 

If you dare, I can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

P.S.  I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my business game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the player pool!

 

 

Jimmy’s Descent Into Hell: A Cautionary Business Tale … Part II
Sep 6th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A true story ripped from The (Mis-)Adventures of The Looney Executive

– By Blake Glenn

 

Click Here … to catch up on Part I of the story

 

Jimmy Spills The Beans!

Slowly Jimmy unwound the story from deep within the depths of his knotted up stomach. You see, Jimmy and his wife owned a business that supplied nuts, bolts and related items. Fasteners is what they call these things. They had purchased the business a few years earlier from the previous owner. And a big chunk of the purchase price was loaned to them by the prior owner in the form of a note. For instance, let’s say the purchase price was $1,000,000. Jimmy and his wife make a down payment of, say, 20% ($200,000). They pay the remaining 80% ($800,000) over, say, a 7-year period in monthly installments … with interest of course.

Wad of Bills

 

 

 

 

 

Yea, fasteners is real boring stuff. And the industry was cluttered with small mom-and-pop shops doing the same thing, with absolutely no differentiation and consumed by commoditization. The low price was usually the winner. It’s a bad, bad business model dependent totally on volume.  At its peak, Jimmy’s firm brought in somewhere around $1,200,000 in revenue. I deduced that they cleared at least $200,000 to $300,000 annually for themselves. But now it was just a few months after the September 11, 2001 attacks and business had fallen off dramatically. Customers just stopped buying. Jimmy was panicking because sales were down to about $700,000, a nearly 50% drop. I thought how terrified he must be. He didn’t say it. But then, he didn’t really need to. His face told the story.

 

Problem … What Problem?

The problem was that most of Jimmy’s family wealth was probably tied up in this thing. His nuts and bolts supplier business was rapidly tumbling into the dark chasm below. His firm was descending into business hell and it was taking Jimmy’s wealth (and probably his wife’s) right along with it. Maybe the marriage too. Whether or not that would be a blessing in disguise for either party wasn’t for me to surmise.

It scared the hell out of him to think that all of his hard work was doing a Thelma and Louise right over a cliff! Yep. It was driving Jimmy nuts. He was deeply embroiled in a daily living nightmare. On the upside, his wife still worked a job outside of the business. So they weren’t completely screwed. After listening for several minutes, it was clear that cash flow monitoring (or lack thereof) was a big source of his anxiety. He thought there was more cash going out than coming in on a monthly basis. But he didn’t seem to be real sure how much he was losing.

So I asked Jimmy a simple question … or so I thought.

 

“What does your financial software tell you about your cash flow?”

 

Whaaaat!

Jimmy stood amazingly silent for what seemed like hours. He appeared to be in a deep trance. His eyes widened to the size of golf balls. Then they glazed over. I was terrified they would completely pop out of his hairline-receded oval-shaped head. His brow furrowed. His face wore an expression of complete bewilderment. Based on what I’d always heard – but not experienced personally though – Jimmy appeared to be tripping on  acid.

The Looney Man

 

 

 

 

 

As he fixated his dark golf ball eyes on me, I think Jimmy was pondering whether or not I was an alien from the unexplored planet Chromoton 5. He had no idea life existed on Chromoton 5. No one did. For years, NASA had considered sending exploration missions to that region of space. But they hadn’t even completed missions to Chromotons 3 and 4 1/2 yet. But I was an English-speaking alien. And that was something.

Finally, Jimmy began stuttering through a response. He stumbled for a good answer, perhaps a bit embarrassed. He said that he used some vertical industry software to provide income statements and balance sheets quarterly, but didn’t know how to use it for cash flow analysis, or if it even had that capability. Frankly, I didn’t trust the accuracy of his financial statements. As if that first question wasn’t torture enough, I followed with another. I began to feel a sadistic sensation of power – putting a small business owner through a torture chamber of boring and unanswerable questions.

I was soooo evil!

 

The Evil Power of Boring Questions!

I felt a slight discomfort in connecting to my dark side. But on the other hand, it also felt damned good. A million volts of unadulterated power surged through my body. This evil power was addictive. So I asked another question. Ha Ha Ha!

“So then how do you create monthly financial projections?”

 

At this point, Jimmy looked at me like I was a Chromoton 5 alien that didn’t speak English after all. Now I appeared to be speaking some dialect of Southern Klingon, and without the benefit of a universal translator. But good ole’ Jimmy suffered through and responded anyway. He said the company didn’t do any projections. He relied on what was in the bank account to monitor his cash. This was a typical small biz owner MO … aka Method of Operation. Watch at least 3 episodes of the original “Hawaii 5 0” (pronounced Five Oh) for further explanation of MO.

Voila!

There’s one big problem. He didn’t have an accurate way of determining what cash flow to expect from one month to the next. This caused him (and I imagine his wife too) many sleepless nights. So I told him we’d start with the finances. Over the next couple of weeks we analyzed his finacial information. I also helped him to set up a spreadsheet in Excel specifically to track cash flow … nothing fancy, just basic stuff.

Soon we had a good handle on revenue, expenses, and cash flow. Indeed the business was in trouble. But now Jimmy knew exactly how much trouble. And frankly, it actually wasn’t as bad as he originally thought. While we were analyzing cash flow, we also discussed a number of immediate actions he could take to raise or save cash in Phase I of a broader turnaround plan.

These actions included:

  • Selling extra inventory
  • Providing incentives to get customers to pay earlier
  • Making cuts in perks and other miscellaneous expenses
  • Consolidating personnel functions, cutting staff … etc.
  • Repositioning and charging for value-added consulting services he had been simply giving away for free
  • Restructuring the debt held by the previous owner

 

I also didn’t cushion the blow for Jimmy:

“Death is imminent … unless you act fast and decisively”

 

Skeleton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once he exhausted these steps I knew Jimmy would be in a much better position. Not great mind you. Just better. His business might still be in the critical condition, but he’d be off of life support. He might even survive. And survival was better than, well, death.

 

In Part III and the conclusion of “Jimmy’s Descent Into Hell” … A Potential Murder-Suicide In Van Nuys!

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

—————————————————————————————————————

P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR … AND THE REALITY OF FAILURE!
Apr 14th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

Just another wacky perspective from the mind of The Looney Executive!

– By Blake Glenn

 

Cash Register

Several years ago I launched my 1st tech startup venture with lots of enthusiasm, high hopes, and dollar bills dancing around in my head … millions of them!

I started off thinking I was driving a 1973 Porsche Carrera. By the time I watched the crash and burn of this once-promising venture a few years later, I realized I’d actually been driving a rusted out ’73 Ford Pinto. I had taken Porsche stickers from a Captain Crunch cereal box and taped them onto the Ford.

That way I could delude myself into believing this venture was something that it wasn’t.

Well you know what they say … Fake it ’till you make it baby!

And frankly, when the crash came I felt so ambivalent about the whole affair. I was simultaneously:

  • Relieved
  • Traumatized
  • Tired as hell
  • Optimistic

 

What? … Wait! … Optimistic?

Yes. Optimistic.

You see I continued to think that all of those small business customers who kept promising to buy a brand new local area network, and all of its pricey accessories, would keep their promises … if only I had been able to hold out long enough. The salvation of revenue and high profits was just around the corner.

But I was completely deluded. Again with that word. As it turns out most of those “clients” didn’t buy for years. But that’s the thing about entrepreneurs. We way too often believe in a delusionally optimistic scenario.

Once we come down from that magic-mushroom high we’re faced with the realities of our imploding dream. But that can be a good thing actually … even a great thing if we look at our failures with some perspective and then leverage them to reach success.

An article from Entrepreneur.com has an interesting take on failure.

It says there are 5 keys to succeeding with failure:

  • Call failure something else
  • Use failure as a stepping stone
  • Never fail alone
  • Don’t hide your failures
  • Redefine what you want

 

All of these seem to be good principles … except #1. The articles says to redefine failure as “experience”. I say if it’s a failure, then call it a failure. But maybe you can combine the two words into one dynamic term …

 

The Experience of Failure!

 

Now to end this tale, here’s what I learned from that first crash and burn:

  • Have at least 2 years of expenses tucked away before going full time … it would take another crash and burn for this to sink in!
  • If a customer check bounces the first time … it’s likely to bounce the second
  • Build a team of advisors that you trust to provide their real thoughts and opinions

 

But most of all I learned to …

Stay the hell away from those magic mushrooms!

Their powers of delusion are toxic AND addictive.

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way …  blake@LooneyExecutive.com

 

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Ride The RocketP.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  

Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

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