Tag Archives: Business

A request: does this person exist?

I am looking for someone to help with a digital product. It’s a challenging project, without a clear path forward. It is also incredibly exciting and impactful on a global scale. And it has the potential to be even more so. I’m looking for someone to help make that potential become reality.

It’s a social business operating on a non-profit basis. The product is providing support to medical professionals in low resource settings globally. It is literally improving health outcomes and saving lives. (Contact me for more specifics.)

But, unlike recruiting for a normal job, I can’t tell you exactly what the role would entail – because I need someone to work with me to figure that out.

The ideal person would be interested in social entrepreneurship, international development and global health inequality and have a background in medicine.

This person would be involved with everything. That could be discussing a new business plan, changing the business model and structure (a social enterprise? coop? something else?). It will definitely include supporting, training and spending time with users. It will probably include speaking to new and potential clients. It is likely to include learning about and participating in product management.

I’ve wondered if the correct term is “co-founder”. There is a basic salary and an opportunity for some sort of equality/ownership. However, as a purpose led initiative, there will never be a big money exit.

It could be a social entrepreneurship “apprenticeship”, because there is so much opportunity for experiential learning.

For the right person this could be part-time (around studies or a family for example). Initially it would be a 12 month commitment.

The role is unclear, the opportunity is exciting and none of it will be easy. The right person could co-create the role that works for them – while helping grow a truly impactful social business.

So here is my question: how do I find the “right” person for this challenging and very vague role?

“Business without meaning is just annoying admin”

You know that feeling you get when things seem too hard?  When your goals and ambitions get lost in a forest of details, complexity and questions?

I felt like that this morning.  In fact I was starting to question wether my public statement of intentions was just a bit silly.  Sure loads of other great people and businesses have built success based on their values and not solely on the bottom line. But who am I to think I can do the same?  I can’t even clearly answer simple questions about my business.

Continue reading “Business without meaning is just annoying admin”

The next stage

Everyone wants to matter. Yet, how many of us truly feel that the work we do “matters”? Or even that our contribution to that work “matters”?

Too many conversations about the dreaded “job” revolve around the negative aspects: office politics, dreading Monday morning, the unfairness of that thing that happened, not getting paid enough, boredom or the pointless nature of much of the work.

That’s just depressing.

There are three places where I have been honoured with the opposite conversations. And by “the opposite” I mean conversations dominated by the positive. Perhaps not perfect, maybe even very far from perfect, yet voices and faces become full of enthusiasm and energy.

Continue reading The next stage

Women are better than men?

Recently I’m being followed around by this message: Women are much better at business than men.

Nonsense!  “Glass ceiling, sexism, men have all the high paying jobs, etc, etc”
Yeah, but that’s not the fact that keeps rearing up where ever I look.  So don’t confuse me.

Yeah, but it is a generalisation. And all generalisations are bad!
That’s true (wait… what?), but this is really about me articulating an important point I am attempting to learn in a slightly disingenuous way.

OK, so what do you mean “followed around”?
Glad you asked.  Here is a completely un-random sample:

  •  An off hand statement over coffee from Eoghan MacKie, who is the force behind Challenges Worldwide (they do amazing work matching talent to businesses in low income countries). I’ll paraphrase: “One of the major indicators of a successful and sustainable business is a high percentage of women involved“.
  • I have spent years watching (with a little envy it must be admitted) the successful growth of SKChase into an amazing culture and an inspirational company. SKChase was founded by Kaye Clarke and Steph Wilson and is almost entirely female.   They accidently employed a bloke a few years back, but that doesn’t seem to have held them back too much (sorry Ben).  I did a lot of web dev for them over the years and wish I could learn more about non-techie things from them!
  • I just finished listening to the episode of Tim Conley’s Foolish Adventure show where he interviews Mark Manson of Postmasculine.com.  In the interview Mark throws out some data about how (I assume in the US) women under 30 are successfully turning the old gender assumptions on their heads.
  • We don’t have any women working for us AND the company hasn’t made me millions yet!
See? I’m haunted.  It adds up to incontrovertible proof.

Stop wasting time!

One of my current challenges is being efficient, not just in how I work but in what I do.

I see lots of advice and comments on this, there seems to be an endless supply of schemes and programs that are aimed at helping productivity.  The problem is that its too easy to get caught up in the system and lose track of the goal.

So I’ve come to a conclusion: there are two things I will concentrate on, everything else is window dressing.  When I am better at these I achieve more and am happier about it.

This isn’t rocket science, when I focus on one thing I get it done.  When I’m trying to do lots of things (or think about lots of things) I get nothing done.

So why am I spending so much time in the ‘blue’ region?

 Achieve, not just spend time
There is too much to do, absolutely no way that I can fit in everything I want to.  So obviously the challenge is deciding what to do.  From a personal perspective this is boiling down to choosing those things that I feel are most important and/or enjoyable.

From a business point of view I am not yet doing well on this.  A huge amount of my time seems to be used up on the stuff (mostly technical) that I could be delegating, outsourcing or otherwise getting done differently.  Of course, there are lots of reasons; “I can do it better”, “it takes to long to explain”, “can’t afford it”, “its what I’m good at” and many more.

That’s not good enough.

My resolution from now is to change things so that all my time is on the most important parts of the business. That will be challenging personally, practically and financially; but it is the only way that I or the business can grow.