Tag Archives: business

When your partner is your partner

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No one prepares you for what means to have a business with your husband.  It’s the most challenging thing I have been through. It still is. It has given me a great joy but some sleepless nights as well. It does not matter how many posts you read about “the 10th rules for couples working together” you’ll need to figure out together what makes sense for you and it will take time.

Personally the biggest challenge for me is to differentiate my emotions towards my colleague from my emotions towards my husband. How does one say ” I love you, but please finish issue #999 on project XYZ” or “You were great with the client today, could you please help and wash the dishes?”. I had to learn that I can be mad about work but that can’t affect my behaviour at home and the other way around too, specially when you have other people working with you. It’s true everyone needs to do the same exercise but it’s particularly important when your partner is your partner.

So why do I do it?

Building my own company is a dream I shared for years with Nuno, not necessarily together but it was always something we’ve talked about and at some point we thought we didn’t have nothing to loose we decided to try. First on a small project, it went well, then on a bigger one, and on a bigger one and then WidgiLabs. The true is that what makes us work as a couple it’s also what makes us work as partners. We complement each other, I am good on things Nuno isn’t and he is good on others I’m not, we know each other really well, and that,  most of the times puts us in a sweet spot.

To be honest there isn’t a set of rules to make it work, this isn’t like a recipe, some days it will work somedays it won’t work and the sooner you’ll embrace that the sooner you’ll reach the balance that’s needed. Once in a while ask yourself if it’s worth it and remember why you are doing it.

Well… there is one rule… be good to each other and never go to bed upset.

 

 

 

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Mrs Wilberforce

A couple of years ago while I was in London I went to the theatre, I am not quite sure of the title anymore but I remember the plot. Mrs Wilberforce was a lovely old lady living by herself near Kings Cross station. She was extremely vigilant of what happened on her street and she would call the police every time she witnessed a suspected behavior on the neighborhood. She was so cautious that it became really funny when she couldn’t understand that the men to which she rented a room on her apartment was preparing an assault to a nearby bank. Everything happened right in front of her eyes but nevertheless she couldn’t see it.

Why can’t you see what is right in front of you even when you want it so bad to be true?

Because most of the time you are so busy doing other stuff, especially small unproductive tasks that you miss the big things, may it be a small, but effective, change on you business that will boost you leads more than 30%, may it be some weird situation a coworker is going through, may it be a new opportunity.

I am driven by goals, I enjoy having a task list and go through it and when I am successful I go home with the feeling that my day was productive, even if the only thing I did was a load of tasks that no one benefit from. I have one particular problem, as a software engineer I tend to feel that my code can always be better, so I keep on coding some feature, sometimes to the extreme of performance, style, documented code whatever, just because I can’t let go. The same thing with debugging, if I am working on support and I already used the stipulated amount of time but I am still after some bug and I feel I am close, I can’t let go it’s like a game. In fact there is nothing wrong with it as a developer thats my job, but I am, at the same time, the business owner so I can’t be coding indefinitely for a client without charging, and I need to be able to choose what’s important and relevant from the what’s accessory.

So what I came to realize is that I may be busy but I am not effective, I may feel great on boosting that peace of code, but at the end the client does not realize and does not benefit,  the truth is that I am focused on myself and not on whats best for my client and ultimately for my company. Worst, while I am doing that I feel that I am an extremely busy person with no time for more projects or personal life or that I don’t have any new business ideas when in fact I am just playing around with what is accessory doing little with little impact.

Realizing this had a great impact on how I organize my day, when I choose to do something I generally ask the questions:

  • Is my client benefitting from this?
  • Is this really necessary?
  • Does this belong to scope and is on budget?

If I get only one yes it’s a no go.

Mrs Wilberforce was constantly looking to a different direction, I was constantly filling my day so I could feel I was doing something good without thinking if this was getting me where I want. If you take the time, look at you day and see the same pattern please try this: Stop the cycle, think before you act, define the questions that make sense for you and always choose to do whatever takes greater impact towards the dream you want to start living.

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is 9 am early?

Sleepy_For me 9am is early and it’s the perfect time to start the day at the office. I don’t always manage, in fact I tend to be in the office around 9h30 except if there is something booked.  But the truth is that there’s some pleasure involved when I manage to leave my house before 9am, the light outside is different and I feel I can take more from my day. I know what you might be thinking, you are thinking that everyone knows that, and that I am not first person writing about it, the truth is that you may have heard about it or you may have understood how and why it works but if you don’t do it yet you don’t truly know it. This is my experience.

On WidgiLabs innovation week  we watched a video every morning, something me and Nuno were doing in the 2 weeks before. We did this prior to see the e-mail, prior to get hands dirty with work and not only it would set the mood for the day but it made us take some time to ourselves to learn something new or to get inspired when previously we were spending it on traffic because we overslept.

This was, in a way, educational for me, this made my day more productive when I was expecting the opposite. The thing with productivity is that what triggers you may be different from what triggers your co-workers or someone else., you need to test it and find what works for you.

So, What works for you?

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The shoes with different sizes

Last week I bought a new pair of shoes, nothing strange there, I like shoes. On the first day I wear them I realize immediately something was wrong. The left shoe felt much bigger then the right one, initially I thought is was only on my head but after a few steps it was more than clear that there was a problem with the shoes. After measuring both shoes it was clear they had a factory problem even though they were marked with the same size number. I searched for the receipt so I could go back to the shop and get a new pair or maybe a refund.  Except the receipt was nowhere to be found… Ok this was going to be a hard one, no receipt on a sales season they will not give me a new pair.

I started to anticipate the discussion I was going to have with the lady at the shop. Days before Nuno was talking about the  book “How to Say No And Not Feel Guilty” and I was eager to put some of those things in practice. I set myself to not leave the shop without reaching my goal. So I took the shoes and went to the shop without the receipt prepared for the worst. This is what happened:

Me: I bought these shoes but there is a factory problem, they have the same size but are actually different sizes.

My internal dialog: Hold yourself and don’t say anything about the receipt, don’t say anything about the receipt.

Her: Really? (she measured the shoes comparing them) You are right, I am going to check if we have another pair.

Me: Ok

Five minutes later she comes back.

Her: Here it is another pair. Would you like to try?

Me: Yes.

I tried them they were ok, I went back to the counter thinking that when they discover I don’t have the receipt all this kindness is going away.

Except she made the switch and gave me the new pair.

Her: Here you go, I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience.

Me: Thank you for your help.

My internal dialog: Is this for real? They didn’t asked for the receipt. Great!

I walked out of the shop incredible happy it went really well I was totally surprised. I didn’t have to complain I simply asked one thing they recognized the error and fixed it in no time. To be totally honest I even thought they treated me so well not because they were aware that this was great client support but simply because they were genuine and didn’t knew exactly what to do in that case.  The bottom line is that I went there thinking in getting my money back and never buy any other pair of shoes on their shops and left with a great feeling that they are super efficient and I always should buy my shoes there.

This experience made me think deeply on what is quality customer support and how should I be treating my clients.

Customer support it’s a hard thing, I always thought it was kind of bullshit the moto “client is always right” simply because he isn’t. I have come to realize recently that is not about who is right or wrong it’s about the experience, it’s about the client being able to fully take advantage of your product at the same time he fulfills his needs. If you manage to help them in that process they will love you, they will remember you, and most important they will refer you, and that’s the best marketing you can get.

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