Thursday, March 26, 2009

Global forces?

I'm listening to an audio book and reading another book right now that are really making me think. The audio book is "The Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. The reading book is "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zakaria. Both are really good.

Mr. Gladwell's book discusses the basics of personal development and he traces several phenomena regarding some of the wealthiest people in the world, some of the successes of the really famous people like Bill Gates and Bill Joy (Sun Microsystems and the writer of Java) and how they 'happened' to get where they are today. Coincidences abound. Expertise is another strong topic. He talks about ten thousand hours of practice to get to become an expert at something. He discusses the relative merits and advantages of genius versus average and above-average intelligence. It's really interesting and gives one pause to consider the sheer number of hours we put in, especially as independent businessfolk, and just how we've spent our time. In seventeen years, I wonder if I've managed finally to become an expert at business.

Mr. Zakaria is as interesting, if not more so, regarding his analysis of the developing global economy and the United States' past, present and future positions within it. His book is fabulous. His analysis is relatively straightforward, logical and not filled with opinions or conclusions so commonly dropped into supposed historical comparisons. He simply gives facts and allows us to create our own opinions.

Both books are incredibly fascinating to me. Both give me reason to hope, especially in these currently troubled times. On the one hand, the United States remains (and will most likely continue) as the strongest economy and global influence on the planet. Zakaria's logic is really quite strong and I see all sorts of proof of this in every aspect of my life even at my current lowly level. At the same time, we have to work hard to continue to achieve this incredible dominance but we need to accept the fact that the rest of the world is indeed catching up. And as far as capability, each individual truly is. The persistence required to become an expert is the only really big thing stopping us.

What are the messages here? That we need to be efficient, positive and inventive. We need to be competitors. We need to be strong and aggressive in all of our work. Oh, and, according to Malcolm Gladwell, I coulda been Bill Gates. Well, at least I was born at just the right time.

Team Mates has been that way during the past year. We've actually been working toward this particular goal of aggressive efficiency (to coin a phrase) for several years, but we are seeing the fruits of this work pay off. I'll try to explain that a little bit more in the future but for now, suffice to say that we work hard to encourage everyone in our company AND all of our customers to push ahead, suggest, badger and work more efficiently in order for us to keep costs down, keep the damages down and keep deliveries on schedule regardless of the deadlines we set.

As we improve, we market. We work to sell our particular skills to the rest of the country and hope that there are enough people who haven't heard of us who might just want to get embroidered goods. I continue spreading the message that someone else is out there adapting to changing times, working within the changing business community to continue to survive and sell and prosper. It is, after all, what we have to do. I really really don't wanna go back to working for someone. It just doesn't sit right with me.
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