I can’t fly anymore without thinking of Louis C.K.’s “chair in the sky” bit about how we live in a miraculous time of technological achievement, yet constantly find things to complain about.
So here I am, in a chair in the sky with my knees pushed up against the seat in front of me and my Macbook essentially wedged at an angle between my stomach and my tracy table. It’s not as comfortable as it sounds, but hey, I have wifi!
I don’t travel much for business, I think this my first trip in a couple years at least (maybe longer), but I’m flying out to Atlanta to see a client and talk through a few operational things for his website project. The site has a lot of business management applications for him, and it’s a pretty large project for us, about 250 man-hours all in, so it seemed prudent to meet in person to talk through some of the details. This is only going to be my second time back in the ATL since we picked up the family and moved to Colorado 5 years ago (almost to the day!), and the last time I was in town was more than 4 years ago when we launched our ORBTR product at WordCamp Atlanta in 2013.
So, fly in today, dinner with a buddy tonight, and then meet with three clients tomorrow with my first meeting at 7:30AM, and then fly out tomorrow night. It will be a quick and busy trip. My last meeting will put me within 10 minutes of where we used to live, the house we raised our kids in until our daughter was 7 and our son 4 so I might swing by if I have time just to see what it looks like now.
Otherwise, I’m doing a good job of keeping busy. The team and I seem to be juggling things pretty well at the moment and it doesn’t feel like we’re dropping any important balls in the process. A big push for the business has been to get more monthly clients in. We’ve kicked off two recently and we have at least two more that we may get started on before month’s end, so we’re doing a good job of converting folks. We are also in the process of expanding our monthly agreements with about three clients, which is similarly good.
As of today we have 12 monthly clients and my hope is to boost that number to 20 before the end of 2017. Fingers crossed, I think it’s plausible, though maintaining that level would probably require at least one new hire. I’m really not afraid of that though, if we put ourselves in that position, it will definitely be a good thing.
I’ve been reading a lot of American History lately, specifically biographies of the founding fathers. I’ve done Hamilton, Washington, and Adams, and I just started digging into Ben Franklin. In a piece that he wrote about the role of printers and the press in society, he said something that really resonated with me, as someone who hates criticism. I wouldn’t call myself thin-skinned, nor would I say that I’m allergic to criticism, but when people are unhappy with me it definitely sticks with me a bit longer than it should.
Franklin told a story (I’m paraphrasing) about a man and a boy walking with a donkey. Sometimes the man rode the donkey and the boy walked along, sometimes the boy rode and the man walked, and sometimes neither rode. But no matter where they went, there was always someone criticizing what they were doing. So, frustrated, they gave up and threw the donkey off of a bridge. The moral, of course, is that it’s impossible to escape naysayers altogether and trying to absolve themselves from it by ridding themselves of the donkey is a poor solution to the problem, akin to Franklin burning his printing press and melting his letters.
There have been times I’ve considered burning my press, such as it is. But the next time things get tough, I’ll try to remember Ben Franklin and his strange donkey story.