Posts Tagged 'Inspiration'

March 2, 2011

Motivation to Rock the Boat

Have you seen The Social Network? I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to see a movie before it comes out on iTunes or pay-per–view these days, so I'm a little late to the game on this one. I watched most of it on my flight back from Parallels Summit in Orlando ... And I say "most of it" because I started it up right when they said it was legal to turn on my device, and I had to stop watching it when iTunes decided I didn't need to see the last twenty minutes.

One minute, I was enjoying Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker (of Napster fame) yelling, "Let's get some Sho..." and the next minute, I'm smacking my iPad to figure out what happens next. Since they were at a club, I assume he was saying "shots," but I may or may not have had shots at the SoftLayer Happy Hour, so I might have been projecting.

Needless to say, I was mentally writing a sternly worded email to the higher-ups at Apple as I smacked my iPad like a early 80's televesion set to get the movie to start again. The story was interesting, and I couldn't help but think about its motivational slant.

Sometimes when you do the same job for a few years, you lose focus of where you've been and where you're headed ... both on a personal level and on a company level. I've had the opportunity to see SoftLayer grow from "start-up mode" to where we are today, and in the course of that growth, I filled seven or eight different positions throughout the organization. From the frontlines of support to the back office of marketing to large scale projects that work strategically on the company as a whole, I've seen our success from every angle. And The Social Network reinvigorated me with a fresh wave of SoftLayer-focused motivation.

What I'm trying to figure out now is which perspective in the story I was most motivated by. Is it okay to be inspired by the way Zuckerburg executed on the idea of "thefacebook," or does the moral compass require me to root for the Harvard Connect gang? Does Sean Parker's vision for Facebook and influence on its growth lose steam if it's framed by how it affected Eduardo Saverin?

Regardless of which sides are the "right" ones to take, each involves a dramatic departure from the status quo. I'm not encouraging you to go start a legal war or model your business after Facebook's quasi-factual history, but don't be afraid to rock the boat a little if it needs to be rocked.

Jean-Paul Sartre once said, "Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat." If that quote were to pick a side in the movie, it would be on the now-defunct Harvard Connect side ... With a few billion dollars less than the alternative.

-Skinman

May 5, 2008

Money, Money, Money, Money…Money!

I am a CSA with SoftLayer and I have the privilege of working with extremely successful customers on a daily basis solving issues and keeping their businesses running smoothly. I continue to be amazed at the amount of money that some of our customers must be making. I looked at a certain customer’s website, and then compared his prices for the services he provides using his SoftLayer servers with the average price of a server on SoftLayer’s website, the conclusion I came to was unbelievable. Of course, I had to make an educated guess concerning how much he could provide per a given server. And, I do not know how much he actually pays for any particular server as specials have been run at different times on different servers. But, taking into account that this particular customer has over 30 servers with SoftLayer, and few other factors that I know about this customer from speaking with him over the phone at different times, my best guess is that he is making somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 per month all things considered. WOW! (Hold on…I choked…yep, that’s right…about $30,000 per month)

Example Customer X (one of many!):

  • Started with one server and a great business model
  • Took advantage of all that SoftLayer has to offer (specials, tools, resources, etc.)
  • Continued to grow to more than 30 servers
  • Now brings in at least $30,000 per month per my best guess! WOW!

Of course, this is just one of our customers. SoftLayer has many extremely successful customers like this. I find it very interesting that we have such a large number of very successful customers. That tells me that SoftLayer must be a great foundation for a successful business. It just makes sense. If you have many unsuccessful customers and the customer turn-over is high, then your sales team must be great, but your product is bad. But, when you have many enormously successful customers and customer turn-over is low, then you must have a great product that is the best thing going. And, if these successful customers could choose to support their very successful businesses with any provider that they wanted, and yet they continue to choose SoftLayer, that means that SoftLayer is a great choice if you want to be successful!

Personally, I will attain this level of success one day. Will I be a Customer X or will I be a Lance Crosby? I don’t know yet. I do know that I am truly enjoying the journey to my ultimate success while learning everything I can in my current position here at SoftLayer.

So, to all you amazingly successful SoftLayer customers…and to all of you who are so quickly building your success on the foundation of SoftLayer, thank you for your inspiration.

If you don’t mind sharing some of your story of success with us here on this blog, I, for one, would really enjoy reading about it.

-David

Categories: 
April 3, 2008

Lemonade Stands in an Internet Age

To borrow a phrase from my favorite movie from the time period in question… a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... budding entrepreneurs had a few options for starting a business. Our options back then were pretty simple:

  • Newspaper Route
  • Collecting Pop bottles – if you don’t remember bottles made out of glass, don’t worry about trying to understand this one.
  • Lemonade Stand

Lucky for me, I grew up in a family business and did not have to worry about starting a business since I had one already – I was head dishwasher! Aside from that, my biggest concern was what bait to use to catch the bass that hid under the dock near our restaurant and when the parking lot would empty out so we could play baseball under the street lights. Of course, I did wash my share of dishes and bus an equal share of tables over a 13 year period. Still, life was pretty simple back then. Comics were $0.25, a pack of gum was $0.10, and you could go to a movie and have a drink and popcorn for about $3.00. A former colleague of mine would fondly refer to these as the salad days. But, times have changed… a movie is easily $20 and I am not sure any comics exist under $3.00. There are also very different “start-up” options available to the current generation of 10 year old entrepreneurs. Mom and Dad may still be out there shuttling kids around in the rain to deliver newspapers, or carving up and decorating an old box to sell lemonade (I did that too, but that was to raise money for Jerry’s Kids) to people wandering past a sidewalk-based store front, but I doubt it. I can’t in fact remember the last time that I saw anyone undertaking such a venture. Instead, it seems that this generation has fully grasped the value of the Internet. Whether it is our youngest blog contributor, or our youngest customer – a 13 year old web host who’s Mom did her part by setting up a PayPal account for him to run his new business. Not to be outdone, we have a slightly older generation of entrepreneurs that have taken inspiration from a number of areas, including turning hobbies into viable businesses. Take a look at www.mmoguildsites.com as an example.

The mantra at SoftLayer has always been to enable business through innovation and by empowering the customer with our delivery of Serverless IT to businesses everywhere. But, I am not sure that any of us ever envisioned the impact that this approach and vision would have. Who knows, we might be helping to stimulate the ideas that could lead to the next Microsoft, Google, or Apple.

So, here’s to entrepreneurial spirit at any age! And if you are one of those young entrepreneurs out there, best of luck and please continue to create new ideas. We are all relying on you. SoftLayer will continue to do its part to help you make your ideas real.

-@gkdog

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