Not fitting in fits us perfectly.
My career in web design started by working out of my boss’ home with 5 other people in 2001. It was as bad as it sounds. And something about the way they did things didn’t sit well with me. High volume and fast turnaround was the name of the game. I had the sense the web could mean so much more. So when they fired me for “not fitting in,” I took the opportunity to do things my way. It was refreshing.
I never wanted to start a business. I just wanted to get it right.
My goal was to deliver a more effective digital experience than “make it look pretty and do it fast.” So I jumped on all the offerings that were gaining momentum at the time: PPC campaigns, SEO, blogging, social media, branding—and even print media. Everything a “blended agency” was supposed to do. I had one foot in my business and one eye on big agencies struggling to react to the internet era.
“What do you do best?” asked a prospect in a memorable pitch meeting.
I froze in my tracks. I couldn’t answer. I murmured something that probably didn’t make sense to anyone but me. I was hiding.
I didn’t win that project. And it was a big one. All the things I had hoped would make my agency better were hurting it. I was lost. As a company we just weren't very good at any particular thing and the projects we lost were proof.
I knew I had to change. Or I just wouldn’t be able to deliver on the promise of what I knew the internet could do for businesses and people alike.
It was time to find myself.
You know all that business talk about having a mission and values? Well it’s true. And it works. I’m not talking about the “We believe in customer service” kind of stuff. But the real, personal, disruptive kind of values.
It took me several years and the help from a handful of wonderful coaches and team members to finally see a clear picture. I decided to look inward. And where we landed now defines us. I call it the Code—a set of actionable truths that now hold us together.