The Hardest Part, Execution

As you watch companies like Facebook or its now underdog MySpace, there seems to be this ‘aw’ and ‘astonishment’ to these brilliant ideas that Mark Zuckenberg and others came up with. I don’t mean to be little their ideas but so often we see the outside finished product and just think that it took a brilliant person to come up with such a grand idea.

Well, I am here to switch that thinking. I am positive that Mark Zuckenberg wasn’t the first person to think of an idea like Facebook. The truth is, we should be truly astonished by the fact that Zuckenberg executed this idea and made it truly happen, even if he wasn’t the first.

In a slow process, I’ve started to learn that the process of coming up with ideas isn’t the only hard part of building a business. Executing these dreams take the time and effort. In essence my personal tag line says “creatively – executing – ideas.” The more I read this tag the more I realize the depth of it. It isn’t simply about ideas but also the execution and creative problem solving that makes a brilliant idea.

It seems that there are three things you have to do to get a brilliant idea into a company that grows and astonishes others. Those simple three steps I think will build companies that are grand in nature for us “internet entrepreneurs”. Simply put:

  1. Lay the Ideas Out
  2. Problem Solve Creatively
  3. Understand how to Execute

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn, all took time and accomplished this while continuing this mindset throughout the grand growth of their companies. They, in their own business mindsets, creatively executed ideas and brought up the social networking world in a whole new realm that was unreached till they took the time to execute their creative ideas.

Continual Ideas

For a little while I’ve tried to figure out why my mind comes up with random ideas on a regular basis. I am not just talking about new entrepreneurial ideas but also business solutions, inventions, systems, and performance styles.

So, how and why does this occur a lot of the time for me? I think it is because my mind is set in a continual circle and debate aligned with the idea of brainstorming. No, I am not saying that my ideas are amazing or the next potential ‘big hit’. I see myself as attempting a million, failing a billion, and succeeding at a few. The ride is the part that I enjoy, the completion and success is what I drive for.

The tag line I live by came from this theory, “creatively – executing – ideas”. I come up with creative (not always great) ideas. I try to continually execute each one, even if that means I run them into the ground. And, both of these things occur because of a continuous soup bowl of ideas venturing in and out of my mind.

In simple form, that is how Random Rental came about. I was chatting on the phone with a friend in California who started WebConnect, realized that I wish I could rent out the things I don’t use on a regular basis, wrote it down and left it there. Then, as the day went on I listened to conversations, probed the idea into people’s minds, listened to responses, and heard about hundreds of things that lay around a house wasting away.

Aletheia pointed out many ways that we could use it for our home life from the lawnmower to the rake… The GPS unit to our books. And, my mind continued to go into a realm of brainstorming by labeling the problem I saw, adding in the solution I wanted to see, knowing what I personally wanted to add to the business idea and get out of the venture as a whole.

Random Rental will open its doors in the near future, less then a few months for the best and/or for the worst. Depending on the use we will find out if it is a amazing idea or a failing idea. Though, no matter what I’ve stuck to my tag line of “creatively – executing – ideas”. And, my theory is that everyone comes up with ideas on a regular basis but we don’t stick with them long enough and/or remember them. My solution…

Write down every thought and remember, you may have the next Facebook/ExemplaryPerformance/Apple/Google idea!

I Almost Did

I almost used this as a venting post for my thoughts then realized, what is the purpose and who would care? Everyone has a bad day and this blog isn’t about exploiting it. To be honest, I am not even having a bad day, but my mind is leading me down the road of upset over nothing. I rather use that towards creativity and networking. This thinking made me dig deep into my sub-conscious to find out why I am writing at all and to ask the simple question, why use social media?

It is all about being a creative thought leader who uses his network to execute.

After I read this a few times I realized how much it fell into my mission / tag statement which says “Creatively – Executing – Ideas”. For a few days I thought about my response for why to use social media and still kept with the same idea, it is a way to execute ideas through the network created. Sure, you can see it as a way to market your company, find new employees, become a leader, and/or become a famous individual but all of these things all fall into the realm of networking.

It’s a simple answer for a simple person like me. I truly realized that if we see social media in this way we would represent ourselves, our businesses, our markets a million times better because we would want to reach person not to be simply a number but someone who will help out.

Each individual you meet on the social networking world will be able to help you in one way or another. So, for me it is all about being a creative thought leader who uses his network to execute. Welcome to my life!

Mile Hike

I never thought that I would be able to say to my future children that I walked a mile in the rain, cold, and snow. And yet, I will be able to share that face and that I walked up hill both ways.

But this day wasn’t in the rain, cold, or snow… The walk simply consisted of me racing three people I had never met with the greatness of competition pushing us through the cold, leaves, and the intersections that said “Don’t Walk”. The three of us should of gone into a full out run at the speed we were walking. Our clothes flew in the air as the wind hit us.

The black-coated women kept passing the red backpacked man and I. But every moment that we got to an intersection he and I would get through with no scratches, to the other side of the cross walk, take a breath, and see the black-coated women creeping up on us.

Competition seemed to be reining us all into a race that wasn’t even there. The three of us strived “to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same,” (Apple Dictionary).

In some manner, without an original goal, we all were competing for the same goal during the entire mile hike. I started questioning the reasoning and purpose behind this and finally asked myself a question. “What is good competition?”

Everyplace has competition from your work force, school, sports team, and family. There seems to be a goal for every individual to be superior even if it is superior at failing. The problem is when we take the competition to a different level that involves risk and devastation.

Risk and devastation keep us as competing individuals on our toes but at the same time we need to be wise with how we handle circumstances. One reason that I didn’t take a job at Booz Allen was for the mere reason that I felt a high level of risk and competition. It seemed that the only way to go up in the company was if the individual in the cubical next to you failed.

I did not go to work at Booz so I have only my own perception, not what might be truly happening but needless to say, there are thousands of companies that use this idea of risk and competition as their force behind getting good work. Is that qualified as good business? Is the mile hike that I took a wise use of my energy for a competition that was unsaid?

The point that I received from this little speed walk laid the foundation of my understanding concerning competition. If I am willing to walk quickly down the side walk to win the race against the black-coated women, I will want to watch out that I don’t do the same for my fellow team members.

I may not be the most competitive individual when it comes to these things but my nature made me competitive in this moment, and losing wasn’t my end goal though it did occor.

Network Now

The idea of ‘network now’ has been a little thing that I keep in my back pocket but something that I love getting involved with. The basic thought lays on the fact that everyone in every moment is able to network and meet one new person.

Do I do this? Not even close… But it is something that I try to implement on a regular basis so that I know the right people. The whole point of this post isn’t the fact that we should simply network but instead it is the idea that technology is starting to inhibit us from networking while we travel.

Let’s be specific here since we know and believe that the social media realm has furthered networking and communication in huge ways. But, as I travel on daily basis I keep realizing that I use technology as an escape from what is around me. This ‘escape’ is obviously an inhibiting aspect in being able to network now.

As I sat on the metro, I saw two individuals and decide which one would I more like to speak with if I were to immediately take an action forward and meet someone new. One of the men had a cell phone and seemed to be writing/reading. On the other hand, the second individual had a book. Which one seemed more open to conversation? For me it ended on the individual with no technology out.

Simply put, if I needed something and wanted to ask a question, I would be more inclined to chat with the book reader over the cell phone reader. A little harsh but I hope you see the point. For me, wanting to network now involves being ready at any moment. In some ways even looking ready:

  • Smile on the face
  • Engaging eyes
  • And keeping the technology aside
  • Simply Network

All in all, we need to be productive and a lot of times a cell phone helps us do this but if we want to simply network, we need to be ready for a conversation at any moment with anyone. And, having my computer out is inhibiting me from doing that, cheers!

Everyone Will Help

Day after day I see people push and shove, run/cut off others, and get upset with someone who is holding up the line, even if they have a reason. But sometimes, just sometimes, you see that one individual who is willing to help.

A few days ago I got my first “Transit Link Card” which entails the Train, Metro, and Dash (all of which I take for my commute). I realized quickly how much of a money saver this TL Card would be. Though using this at first wasn’t easy and definitely came with a few headaches.

After jumping on a bus late and a few people annoyed with me for stopping the bus to get on I showed my TL Card and the bus driver said “No, that doesn’t work on the Dash.”

To my surprise and financial loss I almost became agitated at his response. If you know something about the bus ‘rules’ you’ll understand that the bus can’t move unless you’ve paid. And, technically I hadn’t paid.

As I stood there and the driver looked at the TL Card closely, I felt the blood pumping to my body with aggravation. And, the driver flowed with agitation in the same moment. Yet I tried to calm myself down and ask for a little help.

I don’t know about you but I had already planned out my attack if he said no. I thought out ever comeback, conversation, and statement prior to his first remark. I then simply asked “Would you mind helping me out, this is suppose to work, I thought?”

He immediately looked at me and said to take a seat and he would call while we drove. His response was a surprise, my ‘worry’ of what I thought would have been said had gone away, and he called his supervisor and found out the card worked for the Dash.

Our conversation didn’t end there. As you know, I love to network and meet as many individuals as I can. The bus driver just helped me and made my day a little nicer with a smile plus a great conversation. The quick synopsis is this: A lot of people will help if we are willing to ask.

Will I Make It

Timing is a dimension that boggles most peoples mind. Lets be honest, time goes on if you want it to or not. It isn’t a relative ‘thing’ that stops and starts compared to what you or anyone/anything is doing. So why do we worry so much if we can’t control it?

Think back to post most Change of Plans. I am not by any means saying that we need to start slacking off on being timely individuals but when things happen and Murphy’s Law takes place on our commute, let it happen. When your baby is born an hour earlier then expected enjoy that it will be over early then you thought.

No, I’ve never experienced having a baby or understand much about it but the point remains the same… We can’t control time, or at least I can’t and I realized this as I was having a conversation with a coworker as I was leaving work at Carney.

We were walking out from the front doors of our building when we both saw the bus. For a quick moment I thought that I would run for it and try to get on, but then I had a ‘brilliant’ comment. “I can’t control time, so why rush it”. He and I both chatted about this briefly before I realized the deepness and pressure release from living a life like this.

As I walked, the bus slowed down and picked up some other individuals and hit the red light. We kept walking and I got to the next bus stop and got on without any rush. I wasn’t going to ‘waste’ my time so I rode it but I also knew I couldn’t control the bus so my frustration/rush flew by.

I then came to a nice and quick realization, I will make my 5:34 train to home and meet my wife for a beautiful dinner. Perfection, without the worry that I could of missed it all. And if I had, I couldn’t of done anything about it and would have had to deal with Changed Plans.

The Elbow Rest

Have you ever looked at the most ‘usual’ thing and realized how unusual it truly is? There are so many things that fly by us on a regular basis and yet we never stop and take them completely in. Yes, there isn’t time in the day to take in the paper clip, new vehicle, a child’s smile, or the snicker bar, but they are all extremely usual but when looked at deeply, these usual things can have a whole new meaning.

But the question remains, what type of meaning are you going to get out of an elbow rest on a metro? I have no idea but as I sat here pondering it I started to think back to the process in which it was designed, reviewed, designed again, manufactured, tested, re-manufactured, and then put here on metro car 5095.

There have been so many individuals that have gone before my simple ride on the metro to make an object that would bring more comfort and safety to the train and those riding it. The process wasn’t some ‘random’ act but one that had designers, tester, manufactures’, CFO’s, and others going through a process to bring us the “elbow rest” on the train.

Personally, I’ve never sat down and thought deeply about something so usual. Well, that is slightly a lie, but I haven’t thought of an elbow rest. The point is simple and/or maybe more complex if you truly think deeply. There are millions if not billions of things that we pass on a daily basis that became because of a process that wasn’t simple so that our lives could be simple. It is an idea and thought that is starting to permeate my every moment and fill my mind when I normally just daydreamed.

So, what about the train number 5095? Is it just numerical to the number of cars? Who created the first number in the English language? Why the number 5? Thinking can be a full time job!

Look Around

There are so many types of situations occurring all around you as life is lived out. For me, that is a strange comprehension to think about but one that came to me like an epiphany this morning.

Take for incense my simple train to work like so many individuals in the Washington DC area. We all get on the train like a bunch of sardines, look down the entire time or judge why an individual sat next to us, and then leave the train in the same way a child crumbles a cookie onto the floor.

The fast pace life that is lived and needs to be lived brings light to the fact that I don’t look around and take in those people who are the sardines I wish I hadn’t smelled. But the truth is I need to be around them for inspiration.

Now to the ‘epiphany’ that I went thought his morning…. Here is the thing, everyone on the train is in a rush and yet to notice them may make a world of difference. Think about the smile you received from the worker behind the counter. A simple smile can change the day in a heartbeat. In the same moment though, a harsh word, look, judgment, non-helpful spirit may be a discouragement for many.

Being an idea person, I don’t want to be discouraged but I do want to be inspired and looking around, seeing people going through different situations even on the train can bring to light a new inventions, creativity, thoughts, and give me an opportunity to think outside my little black box.

Every action has a reaction and each person has their own story that could be easier, harder, simpler, and/or more complex then your own. We will never know those stories unless we look around. Why not just look around? These people may I remind you, will be helping ‘layout’ our lives even though they are complete strangers!

Change of Plans

Everyone is forced into changed plans simply because of a mess-up here and there. What do I mean? Well it is 8:00 in the morning and I am sitting on the train… Normally at this time I would be making a mile hike to work from the King Street Metro. But today I took a different path, which in turn took me on the wrong train. A small change of plans but yet for me not an easy change to swallow.

The point? There are always going to be moments in life when you encounter a situation and/or create a situation that changes your plans and even others. Sure, this is a small little droplet in an ocean compared to some things that individuals go through but it all stems back to perspective.

If each individual knows and understands that they will indefinitely go through changes of plans and in certain moments can’t do a thing about it, then we all need to learn how to deal with it.

In this moment, I can’t make the train speed up, skip stops, or magically allow me to appear at King Street. All I am able to do is sit on the train, use the resources that are available, and move on.

And yet, what are the three simple steps that I plan on taking from this ‘wonderful’ learning experience and using for my own life? First, I had to look at the situation as a whole and figure out how to get back on track. Second, I saw that I had more time on the train and looked at the resources available and what I could do in that time period to use my time wisely. Third, I dealt with the bruit realization that I was going to be late and was going to waste time but new I could make the best of it.

No matter the circumstance, we need to make the best of it. I know that I will have unforeseen changes of plans on a continual bases and simply get on the wrong train a few more times. In those moments, all I can do is see the whole picture, use my time wisely, and deal with it. The perspective is what will take an unexpected change of plans and move it to be a profitable experience.

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