March 22, 2019

How the hell am I going to grow in 2019?


Mickey checked his phone while he waited at the restaurant to meet his business partner for lunch. The alert showed the latest apologetic text. “Sorry, I’m on the road…will get back to you soon.”

“I’m pretty sure this is a waste of time,” thought Mickey. For weeks he had been chasing an opportunity with a new contact. And it wasn’t going anywhere. But he wasn’t 100% sure that it wouldn’t turn into something, either. That was the problem with these loose connections. Lots of hope and excitement and investment of time…and the results? Well, Mickey just couldn’t be sure. So he hung in there. But today he was re-thinking his whole strategy.

“What if my approach has been the problem?” Mickey told his business partner of lunch. “Maybe I’m shouldn’t be going shallow and wide…maybe the answer for our partnerships is go deep with a couple of dozen partners and extremely deep with a handful?” His partner looked confused. “Ok – that’s a big change. Tell me more.”

“Ok” Mickey began, “Here’s how I’m seeing it. We focus on exploring synergies and deepening relationships with other companies that are either 1) a lot like us, and 2) different from us in key areas, the latter combination allows each side to bring their strengths to compensate for the other party’s weaknesses. You can’t do that with a lot of companies. I’ve tried – you’ve tried – it just doesn’t work. Partnership is more like marriage than dating. I’m tired of Tinder… it doesn’t get us anywhere. The effort for the hookup is just too much.”

“Yep, makes sense,” Mickey’s business partner replied. “But I feel like you’ve got more to tell me. What else do you have in mind for growing the business in 2019.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ve narrowed it down to a few bullets of where I want to invest most:

  • People
  • Partners
  • Content quality
  • Robust, reliable, fast tech all in the interest of 1) Happy users, 2) Happy devs, 3) Faster dev turnaround times, 4) Reduced safety risks
  • Interactivity

“Keep in mind, ‘investing the most’ doesn’t necessarily have to be purely monetary. Focus, energy, time and effort.”

“I like it” said the business partner. “Let’s rock and roll!”

Mickey left lunch with his business partner satisfied that he was on the right track. And he replied to the text message he had received earlier, “Thanks but I’m going to focus on other projects.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What did you learn from your decisions in 2018?
  2. Where are you investing most to grow in 2019?