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Introducing the Sutras

I had been working for over ten years, when, by 1999,  my wife and I went for our first dives at Thailand (Koh Samui).  I had moved into the role of an entrepreneur from that of an executive at large corporations.  By then,  I was toying with the idea that I didn’t really enjoy managing companies.  Instead, what I enjoyed was building them.  Once they grew to a steady-state, I quickly lost interest.  The excitement became stale; the job –  a drudge.

And so, after having transitioned my own company’s (help.com) management to a team of sales, marketing and operations people, I started dabbling with other initiatives.

Since 1996, I have worked as an advisor to an Intel backed start-up to build their customer service operations, and I have worked with a US based start-up to build a market to assess technology professionals.

I have worked with dot coms that had brilliant ideas but no capital, and I have worked with brick-and-mortar companies that had the capital but no ideas.

I have advised organizations on how to raise (and how not to raise) money.  I have showed organizations how to attract the market.  I have helped others sell, and get their first paying customers.  I have helped design products and services.  I have assisted organizations reposition themselves and I have helped them find the people who would help them grow.

All this time, I was taking two holidays a year – where my wife and I would go off to some diving resort, and forget the mad rush of the world in the peace and calm of the underwater.

But I couldn’t really forget.  How could I?  By the time the holiday was over, I would be back on the plane thinking about what problem was plaguing my client, and how they could solve it.

Confusing thoughts used to flit by at odd hours: for a few minutes, I’d be thinking about the time I almost drowned because of a leaky jacket, and the next minute I’d be thinking about how a company I was advising almost went under because they lost a key executive.

Sometimes I’d think about the terror of seeing a shark at close quarter, and the next minute I’d be thinking about the fact that we had closed a deal with one of the largest companies who we had considered as competition.

I’d think of the pretty little trigger fish that attacked a fellow diver and tore away great chunks of his fins, and I’d think of the break-away from one of my clients who was now successfully competing for business with my client.

And that’s how the idea for this blog was born: Lessons for businesses come from many different places.  What if these could come from my experiences with scuba diving?

And so: here are the ten lessons I want to propose to companies and entrepreneurs.

Ten lessons from under the sea

  1. I will never dive without a check
  2. I will maintain neutral buoyancy
  3. I will enjoy the dive, not just the fish.
  4. I will be a good buddy.
  5. I will not confuse expertise with certificates.
  6. I will respect the currents around me.
  7. I will remember that trigger fish can be more dangerous than sharks.
  8. I will respect my 50 bar dive limit.
  9. I will pass on my enthusiasm to a non-diver.
  10. I will remember there is always another ocean to dive.
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