Creating The “Aha” Moment
Growing up in a family business, you learn to do all of the things that needed to be done to make a business run. I cleaned, painted, fixed windows, ran presses, did photography, was involved in many community organizations, and wrote. In the media business, everything you do is about people. We learn a lot about people. What makes them happy, what makes them angry, and where some of those “aha” moments happen for them, and for us.
After leaving the family business to enter college, I graduated, and become involved in a couple of financial and insurance related businesses. At the ripe old age of 24, I figured becoming a financial planner trainer was pretty cool deal. Yet, calls from dad suggesting I join them continued. They were involved in a highly competitive market in the news business. The business was competing against a large conglomerate, and wanted some assistance to overcome those obstacles. Finally, I agreed, if he agreed to sell out to my brother and me.
In a small business, you learn to do everything. We went from “hot metal” type and chemical darkroom photography, to online digital news sites, digital photography, RSS feeds, and social media. In small business, you don’t have a choice but to figure out how to “make it.”
In 1996, we launched our first website, the first weekly in the State of Florida. We had to make ours profitable at launch, or we didn’t enter into that arena. To succeed, we had to solve a customer’s problem, so they would give us their trust and money to make them more profitable.
There is always so much opportunity when you are on your own, and nothing to stop you, except for a shortage of cash as a business grows.
Stirred with a great idea, a deal was struck to sell the business with a nice agreement to greater rewards on further expansion. The second part didn’t happen, so a new method of making a living came into play. That is, working for “the man.” The big corporate man, that is. The man was great fun, unlimited funds, fantastic entrepreneurial opportunity, and smashing successes filled the time.
New corporate ideologies entered into the market place, where people in faraway places made decisions locally, and upper level executives lost their courage. The safe path, restrictions in changes, and control ideology took the place of fluid adapting to markets. Generic options were chosen where individuals weren’t allowed to innovate to meet the needs of a community. An insistence on mediocrity pervaded, with no risks, and consequently, the squelching of opportunity for further advancing the industry.
The Moment Of Truth
The “aha” struck. The greatest cultural change is happening rapidly in each of our lives. The internet, with its ease of use, ability to communicate in small and large circles, and its technological advances are the greatest opportunity for improving all of our lives. It is a full time job to keep up with the rapid changes. Help people do that and you make the world a better place.