PeopleCount has failed, so far. But it has been an adventure.
The Adventure Began
In truth, what I’m most proud of is my fortitude. It has been incredibly difficult to change who I am, to step into bigger shoes when no one’s help.
In jobs, when I tackled a bigger project or a bigger responsibility, such as building a needed tool, designing a new feature, or even managing or group, I did it in an organization that defined the role, accepted my new status and was there to support me. They were also there to judge me and give me feedback. It was like stepping up to a new level.
In PeopleCount, there was no one else. I had a few people encouraging me, and once in a while I had someone willing to help with a specific bit of work. But no one else was willing to shoulder any responsibility.
I had to define every new role and declare what the goals needed to be and what was doable and good enough.
I had been an engineer, adding to an established product. And I was an engineer with little or no artistic sense. I left the look of the products to others. I almost never gave a technical talk or designed a presentation- and when I did, it was with others’ feedback and appreciation. I certainly never designed a marketing brochure much less did any sales.
Bigger roles, expanded character
Suddenly, I needed to be a visionary, an entrepreneur, plus a web designer and a marketer. I had to guide article creation and decide “what I wanted”. My strength is analyzing, not deciding. I’m much better at deciding things when I work with others. But there was no one else. I approached lots of friends and acquaintances, but most begged off – they didn’t have the time and certainly not the expertise.
I designed a brochure and tackled several presentations. So far, I’ve given just 3 presentations, but that’s far more than I had ever done before, especially since I was talking to a completely ignorant audience about something they couldn’t even imagine.
Plus, I needed to do sales. Contacting people was very, very difficult. I tried all sorts of ways. When they didn’t answer, should I give up on them, hide in shame, or try again? And if I tried again, should I repeat the email or phone message? Should it be longer? Or shorter? I’ve tried to contact a couple thousand people and most never reply. For most of them, I grappled with how to try again- should I say more? Should I say much less? Of the dozen ways to approach it, which should I take? Or should I come up with a new way?
Breaking through limits
Another huge step was spending money on it. Quitting my job was scary. I hadn’t been without a job since the downturn at the turn of the millennium. It had ravaged our savings and was a time of endless worry and struggle. How could I voluntarily quit my job? But I had to- I wasn’t making progress on it while working.
It’s been endless trying and failing and struggling with new things, and learning. I’ve even had deep bouts of depression where what got me through was the commitment to reality instead of believing the mirage given by depression. I’ve learned a ton…
And in two days, I’ll be 60 years old. The adventure continues.