What Business Are You In?

Technology in the hands


I don’t mean the business you go to every day to make a buck. If all that fell away and you had to explain what you had to offer the universe what would it be? What stand-alone marketable skills have you accumulated in your toolkit of survival could you draw on to keep you out of the soup kitchen? I’m a bottom line guy, in case you haven’t noticed. Survival. To me, it’s always about survival. When you come up tough, it’s etched on your temporal lobe.

A few years ago I had dinner with my boss, he was the V.P. of Global Marketing and Business Development in, I won’t say the name but the initials are BMS 🙂 I was letting him know I couldn’t take it anymore being cloistered in the walking dead, fake it till you make it, political broom closet I had spent the last five years in.

It had to be one of the emptiest feelings I’d experienced in my 25 years (at the time). Of course this piqued his interest because he was instrumental in relocating me back east from Arizona because of my video production and early on-line chops. I had created my own position, title and domain. I made it up as I went along. And, of course, everyone else went along.

Except for the traditional dinosaurs or the dreadfully insecure. If it wasn’t their idea, it wasn’t going anywhere. With any new concept, once they used the phrase “company at risk” a herd of turtles could whiz by you. A dirty trick but very effective given the paranoid, delusional environment. Time to go.

A man of few words, he listened while I prattled on about all the opportunities someone with my many skills and talents as well as my innate street sense, that kept the bulls eye off my back during the internecine backstabbing and cloak room warfare. I had started developing stomach problems and used to feel like throwing up in the bushes on my way into the building.

During dinner I was regaling him with all the things I could do once I left the property, which was imminent. He would say, “OK, but what business are you in?” What difference did that make I’m thinking. I have all this talent, I’m funny, creative, I work well with others, I have a million ideas. I am a creator. Web sites, video, e-marketing programs, deep empathy with customers, I understand how all sides of the business works. I make shit happen.

“OK, but what business are you in?” Like a crowbar in my spokes, that question would stop me cold. It confused and confounded me given my relish to un-ass that property.

Now, these many years later, I understand what he meant. Unless I can puke it up on an elevator in two minutes or less only my mother or my therapist will get it.

“So, but what business am I in?” I’m not even sure myself anymore. I’m still doing quite a bit of business but some of the projects are so out and out dopey and not exactly why I started this thing. Everyone’s a producer these days and my lip constantly hurts from biting it.

There are so many approaches and tools you could use to kick these projects up a notch but it seems most folks just don’t want the whole buffet. But I’m thinking there’s that one starving entity with a big fat appetite for ideas, skills, experience, know how and savvy who will belly up to the food bar and gobble up everything I have to offer. For now, it’s peanut butter and pratfalls.


Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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