Resetting for 2022

Historically, I’ve been really bad at maintaining this blog – mostly, the pressure I put on myself to write long, detailed posts with some sort of point at the end.

The last 12 months have been even more challenging for a number of reasons – business, personal, a global pandemic, the usual stuff – but it feels like we’re starting to come out of it a bit.

Alongside that, new things are starting to happen for me, and I’m increasingly optimistic about 2022 as a year. South Africa might be going to hell in a handbasket (seriously, the contemporary statistics are horrifying), but that’s just motivating me to build harder.

As I write this, we’re a few days away from the Local Government Elections, and the conversations on Twitter have become largely unbearable. It reminded me that I can actually just publish stuff to my own website if I want, and there’s more than a few things I’ve wanted to write about lately, but haven’t.

Hence, this. I’ve reset everything content-wise (blank slate!) and am taking another shot at blogging. Mostly to provide a non-Twitter outlet, do away with character limits (both numerical and interpersonal) and to give me a place to engage my brain that’s not overly formal.

Instead, the three things I really want to talk about right now are:

  • How great the Logitech MX Keys is. That’s it.
  • Doing my first-ever office renovation
  • Never do business with family

A few months ago I took a 12-month lease at a local coworking space (Venture Workspace, incredible brand), and I’m now one week away from customizing my little beige box into something with a lot more personality.

Paint’s picked out, window tint’s on the way, got poster designs sitting in Canva, frames, brackets and flatscreens on order, and a general impatience to see my “dark mode” office come to life. I’ll post photos!

And yes, never do business with family. The last 12 months have been made infinitely more difficult owing to a project that, despite my best efforts, never seems to end. Some of the red flags I can share with you, in case you’re thinking you’ll be the exception and run a *great* business with a family member:

  • Not respecting your time = red flag. Simple things like planning and missing calls, not responding to emails, not getting you feedback when you need it? You’re going to get stuck.
  • No internal alignment, ownership or responsibility = red flag. This is a red flag anywhere, impossible to mitigate when it’s family.
  • Family time becomes business time. The last few times I met up for a casual braai, the conversation turned to business. I doubt there’s a family alive that can cleanly separate the two.
  • The expectation that you can trade on your relationship. Wasn’t expecting it to get to this point, but more than once, the clearly-laid-out processes I put in place (because I’m a professional running a professional services firm) were bypassed because “I’m family”

That last one is actually hilarious to me: One of the fights I got into this year involved said family member being dissatisfied with their service they were getting from my support team. That same support team delivers literal world-class support to a literally-global customer, reliably and consistently, but it wasn’t good enough for a local shop?

My argument: “You’re expecting special favors because you know the boss, is that it?”

No, that definitely wasn’t it! Except a few months later when the confession did finally come: They felt like I had “handed them off” and that they “weren’t important” as a result.

That entire disagreement? Based on the premise that you can trade on the relationship, and get special consideration just because you’re family.

I don’t do business that way, have never done business that way, put it in writing that I don’t do business that way, they signed it, then ignored it and expected special consideration anyway.

That’s family for you! Best to steer clear. Whatever you think you’re going to get out of it, rather put that effort into mutually beneficial professional relationships.

There’s lots more to talk about, but for now, I’m just going to try developing a more regular posting habit. It’s all going to be as disjointed as this post was, and I apologize for nothing.

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