“He fell asleep with his head against the window,
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind.
This world offers riches and riches will grow wings,
I don’t take stock in those uncertain things” – John
Cougar Mellencamp, Minutes
It’s Christmas time… a time of giving and good cheer.Are you happy?Depends on
you are in sales and you haven’t made your quarter or
your year yet, then Christmas is a pain because you lose
the last 12 days of the month… there will be no sales,
therefore no bonus, therefore coal for your kids.Unless you made your numbers already.Then it’s party time!Spread the wealth… support
the retail economy.
you are in finance and your company is profitable, then
shutting down the office for a long paid break is a
well-earned reward.Spend some time
with family or on the ski hills or on the beach
somewhere.If you aren’t profitable
and the cash is low, then from December 1st
on you have been sweating… this time of year stinks for
raising money.Decisions for
investing in private companies get put on hold until
January.Of course, you can
rationalize shutting down the office because nothing
major will happen… but you might be taking un-paid leave
and the beach just doesn’t feel as warm and relaxing in
this situation, does it?
you are in product development then you really don’t
notice that it’s Christmas.You have
milestones and deliverables and your world is a never
ending series of Microsoft Project timelines that start
at Week 1 and end at Gold master.
There is no real world calendar attached.You might get a day or two off to go and show up
at a family dinner, but then it’s back to Red Bull and
wasabi peas and plenty of
coding.Sounds like a Douglas
Coupland novel?Well it isn’t far from the truth.Hey, maybe you can be an extra in the TV version
you are in marketing, then this time of year is a
re-charge.No trade shows until
January, the last press releases are going out next week
because news is “canned” for two weeks around Christmas
anyway.All the on-line campaigns
wind down until the New Year as well.Sure, you can plan, strategize, work on the plan
to re-energize the brand, but hey, it’s Christmas… let’s
focus on the company’s charitable giving, company
culture and new sustainable “green” plan.The feel-good stuff that goes with the season.Time to bond with the development team that
usually roll their eyes whenever marketing people speak.And when you are back in January,
it’s new marketing budget
Time to spend those investor dollars on new initiatives.It’s like a January sale for marketing types.Something to look forward to as the season
what of the CEO?What is Christmas
like for you?Let’s be honest… for
most of you, it’s time to catch up.
Not with your family… I’m talking about catching up on:
8,000 messages in your Inbox.
strategy document you owe your Board.
2008 budget that had to be re-worked.
staffing issues that have been boiling but you can’t
fire someone before Christmas so you had ignore it
reading and reviewing the pile of un-read mail on your
time looking on-line or at trade journals to see what
the hell your competition is up to.
worrying.You just haven’t done enough worrying lately.You’ve been too busy.Time
to worry about your product offering, value
proposition vis a
vis your competition,
whether you have a world-class team or not, whether
you will lose all of Uncle Chuck’s money in this
venture, whether your being a good mother/father
because your working so damn hard, and whatever else
get’s your stomach acid churning
silver lining for the CEO?At least
you do have some down time to tick off a few tasks
before January comes and you have to hit the ground
running full speed again.And
seriously, if you do have your life in some sort of
order, you can turn off the work brain for a few days
and enjoy your family and friends.
Unfortunately for many of you entrepreneurs, there is no
off switch for your work brain.
are you happy?Chances are that
there a thousand work-related reasons that you are
stressed, which tends to NOT help overall happiness.
fun aside, it’s time for some perspective.It is a time of year, regardless of religion,
work ethic or personal stress level where you should be
thinking of others.If you are
reading this, you are at the top of the charts among
your fellow human beings. You are a success by any
measure… look at this:
know, not fair… I sucked you into a story about how
tough work is and then hit you with the softy “big
picture” video.Well, it is the time
of year for you to take a little time and reflect that
the issues at work, while important, are dwarfed by the
challenges faced by others.I urge
you to put down the Red Bull for a minute, leave the
pile of e-mails for a second and figure out how you will
make Christmas time a happy time for someone else.It’s not hard.And any
contribution makes a difference.
are lucky to be where you are, even if you don’t feel
that lucky most of the time.
Something Ventured is a bi-weekly column designed
to supplement the T-Net British Columbia web site with
some timely, relevant and possibly irreverent insight
into the industry. I hope to share some of the
perspective and trends that I see in my role as a VC.
The column is always followed by feedback (if its
positive or constructive. I'll keep the flames to