Last night, I re-read “The Brand You 50” by Tom Peters. It’s a short little book, full of hard-hitting messages, but primarily aimed at those who are working in organisations rather than solo Entrepreneurs.
Well, since December, this applies to me again – I’m working as CTO and Marketing Director for an Internet startup. I’ve discovered that retirement is all very well, but taking massive action towards a worthwhile goal is what makes like really fun.
Which brings me back to Tom Peters. The central message of “The Brand You 50” is that no-one has a job for life anymore (well, I guess we knew that by now, but the book was written in 1999 when some people hadn’t yet got the message.)
Instead, what we have is a collection of “Cool Projects” in which we’ve been involved… and a Rolodex full of interesting and useful contacts. I know I’ve got the stuffed contact list, but until this book, I’d never really thought about my career in terms of cool projects. But, you know, Tom is right. Rolling out the IT for a new organisation across 17 countries (1997-2000) was, well, a cool project, particularly when you consider that it was a joint-venture between two FTSE-100 companies, so full of massive “political” issues. (Don’t be scared of Politics in your job – politics is the art of getting things done [another Tom-ism]).
So, what did I learn from the re-read?
Interesting things happen when you meet (and learn from) interesting people. I look back at the four years since I retired, and discover that, again, this is true.
– Parmdeep Vadesha taught me a lot about scientific marketing
– Vanish Patel and Tamkin Riaz taught me about the power of face-to-face networking
– Ranjan Bhattacharya taught me about the power of focus
– Darryl Mattocks taught me (incredible amounts) about running startups, and getting investment funding
As I look back, the MORE OUTRAGEOUS I thought I was at the time, the better the results have been – my sins have been sins of conservatism, not in trying to do too much…
… So, March is “invite a freak to lunch” month for me – I’ve set a goal to, each week, meet someone utterly, radically, different from me (but someone who has accomplished huge things in their own field) and take them to lunch.
I have some targets to call, but if you get a call from me, I don’t think of YOU as a freak, honest ( 🙂 ), but other fun freaks are also welcome to send me an email suggesting a lunch date.