Manufacturing the Cloud: Objects in the Rearview Mirror

“Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.” – Jim Steinman

I grew up listening to the music of my older brother and sister, which in the Davidson household in ’70s Glasgow, Scotland, meant a steady diet of what we now call classic rock but in particular AC/DC, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Meat Loaf and UFO (who by the way recorded the best live album ever, “Strangers in the Night,” but that’s another story), to name a few.

Then the 1980s came around and as everything got glam I started to find my own musical path which is quite diverse and nowadays on my playlist you will find pretty much everything including rock, R&B, pop, rap and jazz—just not a lot of country :)

The school system in Scotland is vastly different to what we have in North America and at the tender age of 15 I started my first full-time job as an apprentice at Weir Pumps in Cathcart, the south side of Glasgow. I spent four hours a day on buses and trains going to and from work each day listening to music on my Walkman. It just so happened that the bus stop for my last ride home was outside a record store called 23rd Precinct. Every day as I waited for the bus I would go in and peruse the latest releases. That’s how I got to have over 300 LPs and 200 45s in the basement. So you won’t be surprised to hear that I spent most of my money on LPs and subsequently concerts.

I’m a firm believer that your past experiences in life shape who you are as a person and influence the decisions you make in the future.

The same is true in business.

The best business advice I ever received was from the owner of the first ERP solution provider that I worked for. We had experienced tremendous growth and had established a solid team of consultants and so I questioned why we were still doing quarterly business plan reviews. “Gav, strategy is everything. Having a good team in place accelerates the rate at which you execute the plan, so if you have the wrong strategic plan you’ll just end up in trouble faster than if you were stumbling your way through it.” This was the first time I considered the strategy of business.

So I encourage you to find the objects in your own rearview mirror. Identify the good things that have happened and try to replicate them. Just as importantly, what bad things happened? How are you going to make sure that they don’t happen again? What’s your strategy? It’s important to take nothing for granted. Objects in your rearview mirror may be closer than they appear… or as the brilliant lyricist Jim Steinman flipped it around for Meat Loaf, they “may appear closer than they are.” Sometimes you have to look and think to tell the difference.

We recently had a customer choose NetSuite partly because of a bad thing happening, and they didn’t have to look too far back into their rearview mirror. They had been evaluating NetSuite and loved the idea of the cloud but couldn’t quite decide. Then as fate would have it, their server went down and the owner of the company spent the entire weekend trying to restore all of their data. The rest, as they say, is history…

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