Monday: Focus on completely the wrong things!

It is Monday morning, and usually for me that is a good moment. I like working, and don’t mind if my 4.15am alarm clock wakes me up to hop under the shower, get a double Senseo coffee (nobody noticed this subtle commercial. I am not even getting paid for it, I simply like their coffee. That it is a Dutch brand has of course nothing to do with this) and drive my ride to work for a little over an hour.

But this Monday absolutely got me writing about one of those things that always end up being a problem usually in smaller companies. As I have written in my introduction I have worked in small, tall and huge companies, in roles improving from being a designer to running companies. And believe me, I have seen excellent and horrible company management. Also, if you read my introduction a bit more in detail, you will notice I start my own company and – mostly due to a lack of experience – I myself has my share of horrible company management which costed me dearly.

But I can pinpoint excactly where my mistakes were, rather immediately after disaster struck and after trying to blame it someone else. The reason was simple, we had every field of experience in there needed for perfect multimedia development halfway through the ’90s. We could have shocked the wold with our abilities. We just lacked one; sales. Never thought of that one. And no matter how good something you build, if you cannot sell it or don’t know how to, it is worth nothing. So, our focus should not only be at quality, but also on how putting it into the world. Since then, I make sure sales is a major part in any project I run. Make sure you don’t only rely on others when it comes to it, but if all else fails, be able to do sales yourself. Talking about sales in a more in-depth level is something for a next time.

Anyway, it brings me to another subject; focussing on completely the wrong things in a project. The traps are always obvious, but often made. Everyone thinks only in their own field of experience. I am sitting here now, running the technical department of a small multimedia company in the vicinity of New York City. And my computer crashed. It actually did that last week already, based on a failed video card. Now, one of the major flaws in this company is the lack of a network administrator. That is not my expertice, and I have pointed it out here that we need someone like that here; with an internal network and 7 web servers for clients, you need someone available.

But I am pretty handy with computers, so I usually try to fix problems myself. Which by the CEO and CFO is mistaken with that I can do that job, and so it is not nessecary to get someone like that in here. And no matter how I try to explain to them that a network administrator is so much more then someone who comes in when a computer brakes down. A good administrator is like the engine oil for your car; if you do not have it, your network, and with that your company foundation and structure will tumble down. And if you do not have someone immediately available, it costs you thousands, if not millions of dollars, if your are lucky; because it could also mean that your clients are walking, which is almost unrecoverable.

A good network administrator is one of those things that seem like they only cost you money, but you have them to save you from disaster. Like right now. My computer is kaduk. Nothing that I can fix with my hobby knowledge of hardware that is still from the early 2000’s. And now? Seems I will be leaving today, because the focus has also not been on software licenses, so even this laptop I am writing on right now, is not able to do the job.

What I try to point out with this post is that it is so very important not to lose focus in any business, in any project, that your focus is also on foundation and continuity, just as much as on creation, maintenance and management (FCCMM). If you ever are in any project or company, first find out what their opinion is on that, because companies who don’t have that under control, might be wise to stay away from.

Have a good one!

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