Yesterday a friend of mine, Clark, shared a Facebook post that few of my entrepreneur friends would be brave enough to share. He shared how easy it is for the negativity to overwhelm the awesomeness. The stress of the huge expenses and uncertain income takes its toll. You reach the point where your business takes over everything, including the dining room table, which makes it impossible to think of anything else. Panic attacks wake you from your sleep in the middle of the night, even after years of being in business.
His post ended with him reminding himself of the overwhelming success the past seven years has brought him. He reminded himself not to let the negativity, stress, and worry overshadow all the success of the past and his confidence for the future. His post was a self-pep-talk. He ended his post ready to dig back in an pull off another great conference. Not only did it help him, but it helped me too.
Skip to the end if you want to know what my friend, Clark, does.
Clark wasn’t the only one having a bad day. Yesterday was one of those days for me as well. It was the 6th time in a row Apple rejected an app update because I had left out yet another minuscule element in my app description as required by some obscure article in some second addendum to some required contract. At the same time, I discovered that Google’s API was failing to report all those Android users who are stealing from me, now that they can receive automatic refunds on in-app purchases, no questions asked. And, of course, what day would be complete without finding and banning an Android hacker in Asia? So much for getting anything productive done.
I replied to Clark’s post by commenting how ironic it was that he posted this self-pep-talk about resisting the urge to just give up and walk away. I had seen his post just after walking away from my desk, going outside and muttering to myself that Apple and Google have destroyed my love of writing software, and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Just like I said last week, the week before, and every week for the past two years.
However, we don’t quit. We don’t walk away. We don’t give up. We keep going because our customers love what we have built even more than we do. They love what we do so much they do crazy things to support and promote our brand. Often, it is our customers who drag us forward and make ourselves and our products better. They keep us going. It is what makes the difference. It is how the awesome wins over the negative.
A couple years ago, things were honestly pretty bleak for my mobile gaming company. I was on the verge of reducing staff. I couldn’t get our newest game to stop crashing on Android, and I wasn’t sure the business would survive if we couldn’t figure out how to make a stable product. Then, one morning a player sent me a photo. He had gotten a 6” tattoo on his forearm of my company logo. My stomach dropped. Here I am, wondering if we will be around in few months, and he had gotten a tattoo. One so big it nearly covered his entire arm below the elbow. Befuddled, I asked, “Why?” He replied that he only puts things on his body that are important to him. He said playing QONQR for several years introduced him to dozens of what he expected would be lifelong friends. He said that he didn’t know how many more years he would play our game, or if the game would outlast his love for it, but regardless, it had made an impact on his life and he was proud to wear the logo on his arm. Well… that settled it. I guess I had to keep the business going now. Somebody had a tattoo, for goodness sake. My customers are in love with my brand and what it represents. It keeps them going year after year. It keeps me going.
We don’t quit. We don’t walk away. We don’t give up.
For many years, I have told people the best thing I can do to get over a bad day (or week) is to get out of my office and go help another entrepreneur with their business. I wanted to do something for Clark and THAT Conference. I love the THAT Conference logo. The conference’s tag line is “Summer Camp for Geeks,” and the logo perfectly represents that. I wanted to do something to show Clark his customers love his brand. My bad day was the perfect reason to spend an evening in my shop to make something for Clark.
So here you go Clark (and Carrie). Your brand, is now a brand(ing iron). I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it reminds you how much your customers love what you, your family and your friends do. I hope it reminds you of the the permanent mark you make on people’s lives. You are making life-long friendships. You are keeping people coming back year after year. You are making awesomeness.
To everyone else, make your brand something your customers love. Make your brand leave a mark on people’s lives.
- Scott Davis — CEO QONQR
My friend Clark Sell, his wife Carrie, two kids and a small army of volunteers put on one of largest technology conferences in the Midwest every year. It is called “THAT Conference”. It is awesome. It attracts over a thousand technology professionals, and hundreds of kids who also attend kid-focused technology sessions. All of this, and a huge water park in the Wisconsin Dells. Many of the people who attend THAT Conference bring their family. For a software developer with a family it is perfect. Leaving your family behind for a 3 day conference is often a deal breaker. Bring them to THAT Conference. You get 3 days of awesome technology education and amazing networking, while your spouse and kids get to do fun activities, learn some cool tech of their own, and spend a few days at the water park. The second night of the conference, the water park is open only to conference attendees and their families. Not waiting in line forever at every water slide is well worth the price of conference admission. The last I heard, there are still tickets available. Join us Aug 6–8.
Come to THAT Conference. You’ll love their brand. You’ll keep coming back.