My Three Lessons From 2021

Whatever we produce, share and work for, we have to stand next to it. We’re not here to virtue signal but recognise how we can make a genuine difference.

Here is what I have learned from 2021.

We Have To Keep Going

There are instances where I have started projects but ran out of steam and just dip in and out. Examples are business newsletters, local community livestream, and social media promotion of our high street. However, to have a presence you can’t stop.

2021 has been about carrying the message about my businesses and other people’s businesses too. It has been very busy in that respect.

Dorset Innovation Park has been a hive of activity with a broad range of events happening inside the Defence BattleLab, different visitors from different sectors (including a government minister), and welcoming new tenants.

Visitors and a bunny.

I was involved in Dorset Councils Festival of the Future where I was able to share what I feel about the Park, the opportunities and why we need to get it in terms of our own future living.

Once events opened back up again from late summer, I could pick and choose the ones to travel to. I am fond of the Malvern Festival of Innovation. Whilst there I met another business that is also part of the Dorset 5G programme and it was great to share time and to share our presence.

This year, it has been important to be present and committed. I believe in the importance of communities and our businesses as part of these places and to talk about our economic region and its future.

Just loved meeting up with people again.

Do What Feels Right

By being aware of what’s around us, I do try to pick up and apply and learn along the way.

There is a myriad of inspirational quotes, top 10 lists, the hacks, what to do, ‘smashing it’ posts to pick through but whatever you do, it has to feel right.

Being “authentic” has become the chicken and egg question of marketing.

Being told the most human company wins, and that brands have to be authentic, can easily launch you into a strategy planning black hole.

I post a lot more about what’s happening around me than what my businesses do. It just feels right. Sharing what local events are happening, connecting with a local charity such as Lewis-Manning Hospice Care to create a small feel-good fundraising campaign, sharing news and successes from others in my network, feels easy as it feels right. (Sunflowers of Southbourne video)

Sunflowers and colour into the community

I simply can’t do the product and service posts without cringing. A benefit of that has been the sense of mystery that it creates. Even Paul Tansey, from Intergage, has started calling me Q after a visit to our offices.

Stand By Our Convictions

I can’t abide by the “start with the why” conversations.

My why, in cofounding e-mango way back in 1999, one of the few “digital” businesses still around today was the box for Year 3, Net Profit before tax, which showed £17,988,334.

Mythical business plans and imaginary unicorns.

I am still somewhat £17.9m off target, so I am not smashing it. I have done well though by the great work of every person that has come through the companies. I know many have taken that early experience and propelled themselves onto their own success and development.

It took me 15 years to realise my WHY.

I still haven’t worked out how best to articulate it but did my first public attempt as part of Trisha Lewis’ podcast, towards the end.

My first full length podcast interview. Any surprises?

The future isn’t about flying cars, human-like robots, Whatever-Reality (WR), it’s about providing for those that follow so they can provide for us in our twilight years. Our singular success in a sea of failure does not cut it.

2021 has provided a benchmark to keep going, do what the heart says and to always stand by what we believe in. It’s the simple mantras and delivering on them, that doesn’t make the future a burden. It is important to build on the small steps and create a path to look back on and progress with what needs to be done for ourselves and the places we are a part of.

Happy New Year everyone



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