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A look back: Reflecting on my past self’s goals

I’ve had some things happen the past few day that has made me think about why I wanted to get into the IT business for myself and the type of company I wanted to have; so I thought I’d share. Basically, ten years ago I started wanting to get into work for myself and thinking about what that might look like. I decided that I should put down my ideas about what my goals are for this future endeavor. I ended up with three high level goals. In retrospect now I’d maybe make them a little different but for the most part in their essence they still stand. They were:

  1. I wanted to work with cool people and really be a part of a great team.
  2. I wanted to solve interesting problems, work with cutting edge technologies, and work with great clients.
  3. Lastly, I wanted to make a lot of money.

As you can see these were pretty simple. I think I’d probably do a little bit more expanded version of that today but I think at the core, it’s still pretty relevant. I think the first one about wanting to be a part of a team really comes from growing up playing sports and being on a team. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a chance to identify something that you want to achieve with a group of folks and working really hard to achieve it together. I find it more satisfying than just something that you could do yourself. It’s the shared aspect of it that for a lot of people, is just hard to replace. You listen to guys that have retired from professional sports careers and a lot of them don’t talk as much about the money. They talk about missing the relationships and the sense of working together to achieve something and I wanted to try to recreate that. It’s pretty rare in the traditional work environment to get something like that.

I got the chance to work at a company called Thaumaturgix that had a lot of people with kind of a unique set of circumstances in New York. We had people from all over and we really came together. We enjoyed working together and we worked hard, played hard. It was the first time I kind of had that same type of experience that I had on a sports team in the working world and I wanted to have something like that again.

The second one was working to solve big problems, work with cutting edge technologies, and help cool clients. Now while I mentioned the part about the greatness of achieving something as a team, I’ve also always been somebody who likes the feeling of being appreciated. I like the feeling of delivering something and of helping somebody out, almost from a selfish standpoint. There’s just something that feels good about somebody coming in and knowing they’ve chosen you to fix their problem. When you’re able to do it and complete the task, it feels really good. On to the other part of my 2nd goal, I’ve always had an interest in technologies and being able to do something a little bit smarter, a little bit better, and tying that together with the great feeling you get when you’re able to solve a problem for somebody. It’s just a great feeling.

Finally, I wanted to make a lot of money. Now I won’t say that it’s the most high minded of goals but it’s accurate. I think most businesses are in business to make a profit. Secondary to that, I didn’t want to have a straight services business because what makes a services business go is that it’s basically the difference between what you can get from a client and what you can hold your employees to. That just was not the model that I wanted to have. It puts you in an adversarial role with your employees and a lot of times, it puts you in an adversarial role with your clients because you’re pushing so hard to keep that margin there. So one of the things that we’ve tried really hard to do at Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates is develop solutions and find unique ways of doing things that are turnkey solutions for our clients. That way you’re not paying me to work a daily wage as much as you are to solve a problem. I think everybody feels better about that sort of scenario and as a company, I don’t think many businesses feel too badly about paying for something that they know is going to solve their problem. So I’m curious what other people think, what gets other people up in the morning, and why they’ve chosen to do what they do and I just thought I’d share why I got into this thing.

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