What I Learned in 2006

RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 636 Site Admin
edited December 2006 in Thought Leadership
When I was in college, I remember an insciption in the frieze above the entry to the Natural History building. It said, "He who knows not his own history is doomed to relive it."So, as 2006 starts to wind down, we at StartupNation thought it might be a good time for fellow StartupNation entrepreneurs to look back and refllect on some of the most important things you`ve learned--or have done--this year. Some of the things you learned or did you may want to bring to life in the year ahead. But others you might prefer to keep reserved for history.Something I learned this year? Though difficult for a gut-instinct entrepreneur, I learned that business strategies and tactics based on customer feedback are far more powerful than internally generated strategies and tactics not based on customer input. What a tough lesson (but a goodie)! Something else I learned? You can be a better entrepreneur as a "significant other" than as a bachelor - my work has been more steady, more directed, more intense, and more balanced as a result of great dinnertime conversations and the refreshment of a stimulating relationship.Another thing? The combined power of thousands of people can massively increase the power of one person. Just look around here...What have you learned in 2006?
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Comments

  • FrozenFrozen subscriber Posts: 0
    I learned to slow it down, remove the clutter in my life and focus on my family.  Anyone with kids needs to read the book `Last Child in the Woods - saving our children from nature-deficit disorder`.  In the end, whether you are a kid building a tree house or an adult building a business, its critical to drop the hammer a few times from twenty feet and deviate from your plans once in awhile.  I took myself a lot less seriously this year and remember what was learned by building tree houses as a kid.
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Great post Rich.
    I learned to be more curious. To be geniuely interested in people. It sank in my OLD head that we are all in the human relations business, the people business. I continued on my path that believes ATTITUDE is everything. It it`s not what I want, I won`t say it. Words are previews of things to come. And I learned it is EASY for me to change.
    I understand better this year that asking a lot of questions is a great thing. When I ask a lot of questions, I have an advantage. It sank in recently that people like to talk about their roots and their history. Once you get someone started with easy questions, they`ll usually find it easy to keep talking. Be curious.
    I learned (and it is sticking in my mind) that I need to make everyone feel important. Always.
    I learned that I actually do more for everyone I come into contact with when I do for me.
    I learned the importance of ACTION. Take some kind of action every day on your most important goal. Small steps, over time, turn into giant leaps.
    I learned that blogging is fun! 
    [email protected]
  • reasonableSANDRAreasonableSANDRA subscriber Posts: 1
    As I type I am putting into practice one of the things I learned this year -- that is to let go of perfection. My instinct was to go off-line, open a Word document, start typing. Then in my mind this turned into something I could use for my newsletter; which meant I would need to run it by an editor... all the sudden... it was a huge project.I can turn anything into a huge project. So two things really (1) let go of perfection (I do wish there was a spell checker on this forum)(2) do things in small chuncks (taking advantage of windows of opportunity).Sandra
  • MNGrillGuyMNGrillGuy subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    I`ve learned much this year about getting quotes and samples from china.  Been very interesting.  Much different then I thought and at times extremely frustrating.  I have had to learn a new philosphy and needed to redesign product to meet process capabilities.  Very much looking forward to launching product in 2007.  It`s gonna be a great year.  Also learned that nothing happens quick.  5 years into this venture and I feel as if I`ve done nothing.  Glad I didn`t quit the day job.  Onward and upward. 
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 636 Site Admin
    folks,these are great entries. thanks and please keep them coming! sharing this kind of wisdom (though seemingly very personal) could very well have a huge positive ripple effect for the SUN community as we all try to avoid pitfalls and attain  success in the year ahead.rich
  • chrisruechrisrue subscriber Posts: 2
    Wow...2006 was quite a year at the funcave.
    The short list:

    5 weeks off my feet = huge shift in perspective
    Co-host of an SMB-focused podcast series with over 1M downloads
    Struck out on my own
    If I had to boil all the highs & lows into 1 thing I learned, it would be this...
    if you don`t believe in yourself, no one else will eitherchrisrue2006-12-12 12:43:16
  • SolidGrndSolidGrnd subscriber Posts: 11
    Rich,
    What a great post! I have learned soooo much this year...it is hard to put it all into a simple post...I will try to cut it down to the main points:
    1) I learned that absolutely anything is possible. I can become an executive director of my own non-profit, my son could ACTUALLY start getting better, and my life could generally start heading in a direction that FEELS RIGHT!!
    2) Like Chris said, if I don`t believe in myself...no one else will either.
    3) It is very difficult to move forward if you are holding onto the past!
    4) People can and do change.
    5) You can make some amazing and life long friends over the internet...without ever meeting face to face (thank you SuN).
    6) Like my parents always told me as a child...I CAN be anything I want to be if I just work hard at it!
    I am really looking forward to this next year! I can only imagine all the great things that I will get to do and learn and experience!
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 636 Site Admin
    another takeaway from 2006:"make the call" decisively - even if it`s a tough call, instead of hemming, hawing, and delaying. being indecisive burns money, dilutes passion, cuts into progress, and leaves tons of opportunity on the table
  • truegeniustruegenius subscriber Posts: 3
    I learned to:
    1) Listen  to my gut.  It never leads me astray.  A
    2) Take the time to hire those independent contractors and to do a test project with them before signing on for a significant amount of time.
    3) Ask lots of questions about any contract and include my own interpretation and requirements before signing it.
    4) When you see a potential business partnership, don`t be afraid to ask.  Even if someone tells you no, it was worth at least asking.
    5) Always budget 25% more than something is projected to cost.
    6) Never give up.  truegenius2006-12-19 15:3:40
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 636 Site Admin
    great stuff, tammy! we could all  benefit from these lessons....
  • ChristinaChristina subscriber Posts: 6
    I`ve learned that I must pace myself. No matter how fast the world around me is spinning, I operate best when I accept and respect the fact that I`m human and humans do get tired sometimes I`ve also learned that you can find de-stressing exercises in the oddest places. I had no idea that the kitchen would be a place for me to unwind. Expressing myself through experimentation with cooking has been a great asset to my creative spirit and my physical health.
  • SolidGrndSolidGrnd subscriber Posts: 11
    Oww...I thought of something else the other day and you just reminded me of it...
    My head actually only fits one hat at a time...no matter how many hats I may carry...I can only really wear just one at a time. (Not to mention...cloning is still technically illegal!)
    Mommy hat = mommy time (this is a VERY big hat...includes buttons and safety pin decorations for nurse/doctor, chauffer, chef, monster fighter, artist, crime fighter, pony, punching bag, english teacher, math teacher, music teacher, singer, philosopher, etc. This hat DOES NOT include: engineering hat, wife hat, or nonprofit hat) 
    Wife hat = adult time (DOES NOT include mommy hat, engineering hat, or nonprofit hat) 
    Engineering hat = engineers time (Does occassionally include mommy/wife hat...have you ever worked with engineers)
    Nonprofit hat = nonprofit time
    Student hat = school time
    You get the idea! I can multi-task better than most...but I am not giving my all if I am always doing 40 things at once! If I spread myself too thin...I am no good to anyone! And somewhere in there...there is a personal time hat...I don`t get to wear it often...but when I do...I try to make sure I go somewhere special so it is worth wearing!!!
  • reasonableSANDRAreasonableSANDRA subscriber Posts: 1
    These are great observations and insights. This week I read on a blog about doing an end of year inventory...and really looking for all accomplishment... because if you don`t... you`ll only focus on all that is yet to do.AND there is always more to do.I went from being a semi-successful artist/painter and semi-successful diet coach to a full time very successful diet coach. So my biggest lesson is to have focus, even if though it goes agains my nature.So, I`m going to put "inventory" on my to-do list to have a good look at all that I HAVE accomplished. Lesson I still need to learn: to work more "on" my business instead of only "in" my business.Sandra
  • RichRich Las Vegas, NVadministrator Posts: 636 Site Admin
    katherine,love the wisdom about focus. so true. thanks for contributing to this topic.these must be exciting times for you. but please note: What I Learned in 1996:infomercials are very high risk and really expensive.would you folks like it if we brought on our radio program some people who`ve tried infomercials to share their experiences?
  • ChristinaChristina subscriber Posts: 6
    I`ve thought infomercials were not really cost effective for quite some time now. I`d enjoy hearing what other people say about it, though. 
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