Open Source Voip
It’s not often that I write about my personal life and my family, but as my life significantly changed over the course of the past year – I felt the need to share my insights and personal reflections about these changes.
Early 2017, we’ve decided to start working on our penetration to the US market. Now, as any CEO would know, penetrating a new market requires several things to exist: a clear and concise go to market strategy, a dedicated and loyal team to take the effort forward, the trust of your employees – and most importantly, the calm and support from your family and friends. With this post, I would like to talk about the last one, family and friends.
What can we say, we tend to take our family and friends for granted – while we are globetrotting 10,000 miles sitting on our heads, they are the ones left behind. Your wife left home with 2 kids in early grades, your aging parents that sometimes require your assistance, your friends who normally rely on your advice and support – all of those, the minute you walk on that airplane, are put on pause in your head till you get back. But truth is, life doesn’t pause – it never pauses. Even 10,000 miles away, if your daughter needs you she will call you on the phone, she will whatsapp you from here to tomorrow and of course, Skype video is now her best friend. It’s very easy for us, the CEO’s to forget, specifically when we are in a totally different timezone – but you should never forget.
So, here are my small insights and advice for the upcoming globetrotting CEO:
- Don’t disappear
It’s so easy to completely disappear, especially when your new timezone is 7 or 10 hours away. You wake up, your family and friends to go bed. Dude, don’t be in such a rush to bed, nothing will kill you if you start talking to your family at 1AM – you didn’t plan on sleeping anyway, so don’t tell me a stupid story.
- Don’t Overcompensate
On your first trips you will overcompensate. You will spend your entire per-diem budget on finding gifts for your loved ones. Don’t say you won’t – you will, trust me, I know. Overcompensating works for the 2-3 first trips, afterwards it becomes the norm. Your family needs you, not your wallet – make sure you are available for the really important stuff. Btw, don’t take into every new fad that kids have, it will drive you insane.
- Escape the rush
When travelling, it’s very easy to work yourself to death. You are doing it because you are away, you want to make good use of your time – while at the same time, without knowing, you are punishing yourself. Don’t do that, find some time to simply put your head down and relax a bit. Something I’ve learned from my wife, always find something that you enjoy and try to do it. For example, I try to go see a movie on every trip. Yes, there are plenty of movies on the plane and I can surely stream with Netflix, but nothing beats the experience of sitting in a proper theater. Besides, watching Avengers on 42″ or IMAX isn’t even a choice, is it?
- Make it your home
You checked into your hotel, you open the door – and there it is, your room for the next 5-10 days. If you are staying anything beyond 2 nights at a hotel, make the room your home. Go out, get some drinks and snacks you like – and stock up your mini-bar accordingly. It’s always nice to come back to your room after a full day and finding a cool drink you like.
- Be a walking pharmacy
This is something I learned on my last trip – always, but always, bring your own medicine on your trips. Even if you are not sick, make sure you travel with the medicine you are used to taking, for the various common issues. For example, on my last trip, I caught a flu that literally dropped me to bed for 3 days – it was awful. Imagine going an important business trip, with meetings set up and you can’t hold them, because you are sick. You can always walk into a pharmacy and start buying stuff, but if you need to stand around the store with your smartphone, searching google for every medicine derivatives – you’ve done something wrong.
- Walk, don’t ride
If you are inside a large metropolitan area and you have meetings in various places, check if you can walk the distance. One of my favorite head clearing techniques is to go to a meeting, then after the meeting, walk back to my hotel – even if it’s 10 miles away. Why? exercise is good for you, it stimulates your body and releases endorphins. As these are released into the body, you will be able to process your meetings better and come up with solutions to challenges and issues. On my last trip, I found myself walking from Brooklyn, over the Williamsburg bridge into Manhattan and then all the way up to 30th St.
- Don’t be stingy
Yes, roaming charges are expensive – but travelling without proper communications is literally death. Make sure you have a good roaming plan, you have a local SIM card as well and that your phone is able to carry video calls – trust me, it’s worth every penny. You really don’t want to miss your daughter doing her first cartwheel, or you miss her music recital – simply because you were away on business.
Here is the last piece of advice and I believe it is the most important one – find a confidant you can talk to. You are on foreign lands, away from your family and friends – and in many times, you don’t have anyone to talk to and share your thoughts. Finding a friend or colleague in foreign lands isn’t easy, but as your globetrotting stabilizes, this is a must. I’ve been coming in and out of Manhattan during the past 14 months, almost every 5 weeks. It’s somewhat crazy when you think about it, i’ve travelled almost 150,000 miles in one year. I’m grateful that I have both family and friends in Manhattan I can talk to, as it makes each trip easier to tackle and digest.
Guest blogger – Dan Jenkins –Based in Kent, Dan’s is the founder of Nimble Ape Ltd, which he started at the beginning of 2014. Dan loves working with Node.js and
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Giants! They are all around us, but we don’t even realize they are there. We are so much into looking forward, that sometimes, we don’t even realize that our current position or state are due to these giants. It’s sooooo easy to dismiss a piece of technology as “improper” or “inadequate”, even if had served you extremely well over a long period of time. Yes, if you take a Smart Phone and a cellular phone of the early 2000’s, they are fundamentally different – but, if you drill down to the basic functionality, it still is the same functionality.
Recently, an announcement made by #Slack had showed me how small respect and acknowledgement current technology companies have, for the roots and bases of their current technology. The announcement made is the following:
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Now, I remember the first time I’ve seen #slack – the person who showed it to me was only 24 and I said: “Are you fuck’n kidding me? that’s a glorified web interface to IRC”. Seriously, it even adopted the same directive and channel structure as IRC. It was so similar to IRC, that it even reminded me of the same flaws of IRC. And then the #bots came and i was thinking to myself: “What? a new type of eggdrop bot bullshit, again?” – honestly, for a 40+ year old geek, #Slack is nothing more a spiffed up version of IRC that simply looks a little better. Actually, if you are an Open Source developer, IRC is so common with the various projects – that #Slack is considered an obscene word. The cool kids now use #RocketChat and #MatterMost, but still, these are nothing more than a #Slack alternative, which in turn is a clone of the old IRC network. Yes, it has several new features that make it awesome for developers and team building, but the basics are still the basics.
Now, regardless of how successful #Slack will be, it will not ever be as successful as IRC. The span of IRC across the Internet is not millions of users, it’s billions of users. With over 30 different IRC networks world wide (with DALnet, EFnet, Freenode probably the biggest). Thousands of servers collaborating freely across the world and a very low barrier of entry, the IRC standard is here to stay.
#Slack’s announcement of “separation” from IRC and XMPP, to me sounds like: “Hey Dad, you’re an old dude man and you’re embarrassing me. I’m going to deny any type of connection that is suggested between us from now on.” – sounds familiar? If #Slack would have truly wanted to show its appreciation to its predecessor, it would have easily would have been able to say: “As #Slack had evolved, the support for IRC gatewaying will become community based only. #Slack will continue to provide the community with the various APIs required to connect to the #Slack network, however, that support will be performed by the community.”. Doing so will provide the community and #Slack two things. If the community sees a true need, it will continue supporting the IRC gatewaying function – if not, it will die. Personally, I find #Slack’s one sided announcement irritating and insulting, as it simply spits in the faces of the creators of the original.
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How many times have we heard or said the phrase: “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m sorry, but it’s not going the right way” – why do we say these phrases? why are we all so self involved with the way we see the world? are we that self involved and incapable of seeing other perspectives? – the answer in most cases is “YES”. Sorry to say, most CEOs and managers are so self involved, so self centered – that apart from their little point of view, they are incapable of seeing the big picture (or in some extreme cases, any picture).
Over the course of the past few months I’ve come to learn that running your own venture is not about myself and it’s not about the venture – it’s about one simple thing, my ability to let go and let others do their job. Being a tech-head and a CEO is always problematic – it’s the never ending conflict between the “I’ll do it myself in 10 minutes” and the “I need to let go”. It’s so hard to let go, personally speaking, it’s virtually impossible at times. But, and this is the biggest but in the world, if as CEOs we want our companies to evolve, grow, expand and succeed in their goals – we must simply let go.
What have I let go? I have let go of my own personal desire to know each and every line of code in our platform. I’ve let go of my own fear of not having intricate details of each and every one of our products. I’ve let go my overbearing nature of telling other people what and how to do things, and most importantly, I’ve accepted the fact that just like myself – other people prefer to be shown the way, but walk it on their own. Personally speaking, it’s one of the most frightening thing a person needs to do. It’s like walking into a self-driven car, put the destination and sit in the back, grasping the seat with fear, praying and hoping that the car doesn’t crash into another one along the way. But, if you learn how to communicate with said self-driven car – you rapidly realize that while it is autonomous, it listens to you. You are able to direct it and point out various flaws to it – after all, it is intelligent, but still lacks your years of experience and know-how.
So, as I’ve let go of some things, I had to take ownership of other things. While I no longer cared how the “Object Factory” was implemented, and the reasoning of using one library against another was no longer an issue to me – I’ve discovered that my mind started racing to deal with the larger questions. For example: “How to increase my deal funnel?”, “How to I convey my thoughts and ideas in a clearer way?”, “How do I turn my ideas into actionable items?” – and then I realized one little thing, all these questions are no longer about me, they are all about THEM.
Who are THEM? Them are the company employees that work alongside with me with a shared vision, them are the various prospects that we converse with, them are our customers and partners whom we’re at constant communications. It’s no longer about my own personal wellbeing or success – it’s about theirs. Their success become my company’s success, their personal growth and advancement are my advancement and growth – and as they grow and advance, so do I, as a leader, as a CEO, as a person – and as a human being.
In the world of business it’s easy to forget. Easy to forget that we are all human, that we all make mistakes, that at the end of day we all crave and desire the same basic things. I used to work to someone who said: “If an employee doesn’t challenge me technically, I have no use for that employee” – what a stupid thing to say. This is not a Trivia contest, this is not an academic decathlon, business has its own set of challenges and issues. Some are technical, but most of them are not.
So, what CEO will you be?