A meeting with Dad’s Friends — A glimpse of pure experience

There’s always virtue in meeting the elders. No I’m not talking about some Confucian ritual or other Eastern philosophy. Experience, whether it be good or bad, is a result of spending time on a task. Those with experience, have spent their precious time (somewhat like a form of currency) in building their craft. To have even the slightest glimpse of their “expenditure” in terms of experience is probably the most valuable thing one can imagine.

While working for a large corporation, I had bosses. In other words, I had access to mentors and their experiences all for free. Hence, I provided my skills and was able to stir up some “output” combined with their experience.

Now that I am the boss, aka entrepreneur, I have to seek out mentors and other “bosses” rather than having bosses tell me what to do. Yes, it is a type of freedom, but as the old adage goes, freedom bears its costs.

I met two of my dad’s friends yesterday. Both in extremely different industries as me and having completely different experiences but skills can be translated all the time. Their largest worry was, “Can you make it?” “It’s a jungle out there.” Coming from their background, having done business in a hectic Korean environment, life is a jungle. Well, now with the advantage of technology, it’s more like jungles from each and every country combined and amassed onto virtual platforms adding more competition and more players to one plate. Yeah, technology can make the plate larger but immediately, there’s one plate.

My answer to them was simple. “I honestly don’t know.” I sincerely have no idea if I’m going to be able to make it. But I’d rather die trying than not right? So the steps to making it were more important to me — hence me firing away questions, and paying close attention to them. Now, here are some of my key takeaways.

Be aware of copycats

Copycats suck. But we do live in a world where copying is frowned upon but it exists. Constant effort has to be made to prevent a design, business model, or skills from being copied. That can come in developing a technology that no one can imitate, providing the fastest design to market business model, to even developing a brand that touches the heart of many.

One practical advice was, to carefully select and choose the right factories, and distributors and markets to work with. Taking advantage of the various platforms, venturing out into new markets and constantly evolving was basically the answer. How to implement this? I have no idea but in my industry, it seemed a high priority.

Aim high

Always, always, look beyond and above. People find plateaus and get comfortable. Seek adventure, seek change, and always make yourself uncomfortable.

Two very simple words of advice was what the elders had to say. But, it’s always good to be reminded of this. After all, time is limited. Time is spent. Setting priorities and acting on plans are what’s important right?