Year’s end: time for some reflection

oddreflection1It’s that time of year again. Having visited your family and survived the turkey again, and in a few days a New Year’s celebration with Dutch oliebollen en cheap champagne. Time between Christmas en New Year; a mental vacuum in which you are forced to think. To think about the things you did, and didn’t. And why.

For me 2008 was one of the most inspiring years of my life. Suddenly becoming really responsible for a human’s life is breathtaking. The birth of your child can not be compared to anything else. Ever. Seeing her growing up and recognizing little things in her about yourself is fun and confronting at the same time. I can’t stop wondering in what kind of world she will grow up in. What about health, climate change, peace? And on a less heavier subject, what kind of technologies will she use?

For DigiRedo it was a moment of truth. In 2007 we had some interesting projects, but we were both still on the payroll of our employer. This year, René stepped out of his day job so things were becoming more serious. We had to make some money. Well, the good thing is that he stepped out 1st of April and has not been sitting still ever since. Long days of hard work, for the both of us. Our efforts in 2007 were getting some traction and many prospects became customers. We did some great projects, such as the Afya project in Tanzania, or participating in an expert panel group with some big guys such as Google in New York. Let’s not forget some amazing congresses we went to: Plugg Conference in Brussels, CMS in Nijmegen, National Marketing Day, Web 2.0 and our all-time favorite, the New Media Expo in Las Vegas. Not only did we acquire a lot of knowledge and new ideas, we met some great people too. 

Looking back I can truly say that I did not expect things going so fast. I learned many things along the way, most notably:

  • Get a very clear vision for your company and a strategy to get there. Stick to it. We as DigiRedo truly believe that companies can achieve so much more in communication when they use new media (preferably with us).
  • Finetune that vision and related strategies and tactics somewhere were you can not be distracted. It’s too important to get distracted. We plan a session in the middel of the forrest twice a year for this. Can you believe it, two days without internet?
  • Having said that, always look for opportunities and don’t be too stubborn to change your tactics. But keep faithful to your vision. We have wandered around too, changing our structure, products and services along the way. But the vision remained.
  • When you do business with a partner: talk, talk, talk. Having a (right) partner can bring you to unchartered heights, but sometimes it is not easy to deal with. Two personalities, often strong ones, might conflict so now and then. The only way to sort thing out is to talk about it. We have been doing ‘appraisel interviews’ with each other twice a year. We discuss our co-operation and each other’s way of working. We make plans for the future.
  • Divide the roles there are within your company with your business partner. You can’t do it all. And some people are better in some things, while others are better in other things. And remember; there’s always some work you don’t like. Be it accounting or filling in tables for your milage. Get over it.
  • When you make plans, stick to it. A difficult one. Sometimes plans are lost in the battle of the day and before you know it yet another week has gone. I can personally recommend the concepts of Lifehacking and Getting Things Done. Great stuff which helped me a lot. And o, don’t forget to use some of those wonderful Web 2.0 apps out there.
  • Talking about it: Time Management. If you want to set up your company, work for an employer and find yourself being a daddy so now and then too, you better organize yourself to squeeze every second out of the day like a lemmon. See my previous point for the concepts I use.
  • And finally: have fun. A lot. Because we must not forget that the reason we did it in the first place is fun. 

Have fun with the cheap champagne, thanks for reading our blog and see y’all in 2009!

Erik

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