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We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg, Same Auld Lang Syne
This is my final Blog of 2016 and my first of 2017. Written across timelines, countries and continents.
It began in the final hours of 2016 as I flew out of London Heathrow for the umpteenth time in the year, this time towards Dubai, and concludes on Emirates 380 (aptly coded as indeed I am on a A380) about 90 minutes out of Hong Kong, as the first day of a new year draws to a close.
A day spent mostly at 35,000 feet, some of it in duty free or airport lounges. Start the year as you intend to go on then.
A day that began almost disastrously, and perhaps symbolically, with the death of my laptop at Heathrow Airport. Maybe like me it had simply run out of gas. Maybe it was just tired from what I had put it through in 2016. The swiftest of visits to the brilliant Dixons Travel at T3, where I was served (and saved) by a brilliantly quick (she needed to be), helpful and pleasant assistant called Jessica and a rapid phone tutorial with The Moodie Davitt Report tech guru Matt Willey and I was up and running again moments before my flight, a new laptop for a new year. From Toshiba traveller I have become what the English might call a Dell boy.
2017 is the 15th anniversary of The Moodie Davitt Report, a landmark along a long, hard road, a road not yet ended and whose direction is not yet certain. It also marks my 30th year living in England, precisely half my life, my homeland of New Zealand now a distant point in every sense.
As for most people, the end of one year and the dawn of another has been a time of personal and professional reflection. When you own your company, inevitably the two become intertwined. The passion, call it obsession, for excellence still burns as bright as it did in 2002 when it all began; maybe the stamina comes up a little short of that possessed by an ambitious, energetic 45 year-old. Like an aging footballer who’s lost his pace, I’m forced to rely more and more on experience and knowledge, and ensuring the work rate simply never drops, no matter how much you’d like it to.
That doesn’t mean you love the game any less. You just have to play it differently.
Consequently, I and we will be making some changes in the days ahead. To continue the sporting analogy, we’ll strengthen the squad and I’ll drop back from striker to midfield. Heck, I know I’ll still simultaneously play wing, full-back and goalie from time to time as well as managing the team and bringing on the half-time oranges but you know what I mean. I might even start playing on a new park: watch this space.
An estimated 75% of start-up companies fall over in the first two years. That is one reason why the fear of failure never leaves the entrepreneur. But there are many others, including the jobs and therefore lives you are responsible for; and the perennial paranoia that what you have created so painstakingly could be taken away by ill-fortune, ill-health, ill-fated decisions or the dreaded ‘Black Swan’ (a wholly unpredictable event that devastates an organisation).
So, 15 years then. Not a bad landmark really. Hopefully many more will follow but for now I’ll take some quiet satisfaction in this one. Welcome to 2017. 2016? Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. – T.S. Eliot