This year, I’d like to break down my end-of-year message into two parts — one post now just before Christmas and another post as we start the New Year .
This first part is an attempt to put 2013 — another year of amazing growth and change at W2O Group Companies and in the world around us — into perspective, which I’ll try to do here.
As we all experienced, the past 12 months, like the past 12 years, has been an incredible run. New clients, new people, new opportunities, new ventures, new knowledge coupled with more than just a few hiccups, challenges and sidesteps along the way.
It’s why I continue to call us a “start-up,” because we are truly constantly learning and experimenting to get it right. We don’t apologize nor do we look back and make excuses. We just Go.Ahead.
Recently I read a piece about Amazon and the sometimes winding and difficult road it was for founder Jeff Bezos, particularly in its “start-up” days. After its IPO in 1997 and a stock price hitting $107, Amazon and Bezos were thrust in the dot.com implosion in 2000 and 2001. Suddenly, Bezo’s vision of a viable on-line business was called into question.
A young analyst named Ravi Suria began writing negative reports about the company raising the possibility that Amazon would eventually go out of business. Suria based this analysis on how other dot.com’s had performed during this time lumping Amazon into that category and misreading the company’s plans to realign its workforce and shift distribution. Suria’s commentary started to shape media coverage and for a time much of what the company did was characterized in a negative light.
Of course, the company fought back but instead of letting others sap its energy and steal its future, Amazon kept experimenting and in the process kept learning. It translated customer data into rethinking distribution center locations and rethinking pricing; it entered new categories and negotiated better shipping deals; it opened up better relationships with third-party sellers, and it invested in marketing at higher than industry standard rate.
My point: Amazon and Bezos persevered and today dominates — at a recent stock price of $400 — in profound ways challenging almost every industry’s business model.
And so I come full circle to us. We too are challenging the status quo in ourselves and in our industry. Every day we’re here — thinking and doing, questioning and pushing, succeeding and failing fast — is a day we’re learning and ultimately winning together. What we are trying to do here to create authentic impact and transformation is not easy. But nothing truly good comes easy.
It takes tremendous perseverance and perspective.
It’s why I started this firm and why I work so hard with all of you to Become the Best. Because of everything you do and how you all come in here ready to play every day, I’ve never been more resolute or excited about our future.
My next post will provide perspective that is informing our business goals, strategies and focus in 2014. It will be the Year of Execution on Our Vision — during which we will methodically and purposefully integrate our new products, ideas, approaches, offerings, innovations and expertise and deliver them at the highest quality with measurable impact and ROI for our clients.
In the meantime, thanks for another great year of growing, changing, risk-taking and going ahead to pragmatically disrupt the status quo.
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy healthy holiday and look forward to a breakthrough new year.