One of my closest friends is a doctor, someone I visit often for advice. He also has a PhD. in medicine from one of the world’s leading medical schools.
I have learned a lot from ‘Dr. Bob’ (let’s call my friend ‘Bob’) about being ethical, patient, rational, objective and compassionate. He has helped me with many aspects of my life, from marriage to career.
Bob and I have a dark sense of humor that comes in handy in dealing with life’s difficulties. The more I’ve gotten to know Bob, the more I’ve learned to respect his way of looking at life.
What is your philosophy of life? He is a stoic. He once told me that he did not like the word ‘happiness’ and that he preferred the Greek term eudaimonia..
In the works of Aristotle, eudaimonia was the term for the highest human good in the ancient Greek tradition.. It is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics.
I do not share all of Dr. Bob’s values. He has his flaws about which he is very open. But one of his values appeals to me and I have tried to incorporate it into my work.
It’s another Greek idea (the classic doctor’s ‘Hippocratic oath’) from Hippocrates ὠφελέειν ή μὴ βλάπτειν – ‘be useful and do no harm’.
I have worked for many tech startups in my marketing career, which spans 15 years. My role often feels like being a doctor. Of course, the stakes are much lower; You can lose money, but no one will die if I fail. The worst that can happen is that the company fails and falls into Schumpeter’s cycle of creative destruction..
But I have been fortunate to have worked in companies where patients have thrived and become world record breaking athletes.! – when you have seen those ‘patients’ struggling, sometimes on their knees, it is wonderful to be a part of that transformationnorth!
Despite the best intentions and training (I earned an MBA before beginning my line of work), I made mistakes earlier in my career; Once, I was deeply involved in a website rebrand gone wrong.
Our CMO had not realized that changing the website would crash all of our search and SEO traffic. My main job had been generating business leads, and I was involved in a project that had done the opposite!
On another occasion, I made some mistakes with our database and email campaigns that shut down our marketing automation software. I was forced to negotiate to get it back up and running (thankfully it only went down for two days).
No amount of talent, intelligence, or education will help you avoid making mistakes entirely; only experience will do. Fortunately, many years have passed since I made such professional mistakes. Over time, you accumulate the wisdom to make the correct judgment calls.
Coworkers at startups, like patients, can be rude, disrespectful, and dismissive of your experience and training. But when this happens to me now, I act like a doctor.
– Why is this or that person in this or that company so rude? Is it because they are bad people? No, of course not. In my experience, at least not in nine out of ten cases. They are often stressed and do not think clearly.
Maybe they are suffering; they could be in some kind of emotional or physical pain that you are not aware of. In the past, I was outraged.
I’m human, and using my valuable skills to help when they’re not appreciated sometimes feels wrong. But I have become much more empathetic over the years.
The world of VC-backed startups can be tough. Your goals, from lead numbers to sales revenue, can range from aggressively ambitious to nearly impossible. So even if you have growth rates that would be considered stellar in the normal business world, more is often needed for financiers.
Sometimes it seems that no amount of effort or results will satisfy your private equity investors. His outlook on life is often quite different from Dr. Bob’s. Ultimately, they buy the business to sell it at a (big) profit..
However, I am very lucky to love my job, which helps me stay calm and level-headed in the most difficult situations. I know how lucky I am to do what I enjoy, many people don’t have that luxury!
One part of the job that I absolutely adore is working with data. I enjoy discussing data and analysis with Dr ‘Bob’; Our perspectives are rational, scientific, ethical, and data-driven.
If your business-to-business tech startup is having trouble with its sales and marketing, why not take a Check out some of my work and see what you think?