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Monthly Archives: August 2008

The other day I was having a deep conversation with someone about leadership, management, entrepreneurship and everything in between.  We spent a good deal of time talking about each three, but the first two seemed to go together and we chatted about what the difference between them were or were they even different at all?  I have long felt that there is a distinct difference between the two, and when I was asked if I thought there was a difference, I did not hesitate to voice my thoughts on the matter.

A long time ago, a co-worker of mine schooled me on what the difference was, and it went something like this:  managers will always do things the right way, but leaders will always do the right thing.  Since hearing this, I have never thought of the two to be the same, they are distinctly different, and there are certain types that are one and certain types that are the other.  I do believe that leaders can manage as well, but I do not think that managers can lead.  I believe management is something that can be taught and learned, however leadership is something that you either have or you do not.

The person I was talking to about the subject had a very good perspective on the two and what the differences were.  He too felt that they were distinctly different, and he felt that people are led and things are managed.  I never thought of it that way, but hearing it put that way made total sense.  You can manage processes, requirements, deliverables, but you do not manage the people responsible for them, rather you lead them.

Take a look back in history, we honor those that have been considered great leaders.  Take a close look at the “greatest” leaders, they all have something in common.  They have all been good people persons, they knew how to lead, they knew what it meant to motivate individuals to do courageous and great things.

Last I checked, no where in the history books is there any mention of great managers 😉

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I have always wanted to say that, it sounds so formal and important ;-).  However what I am blogging about is not overly formal, but it is extremely important to me and to my business partner.  See for the last several months, we have been quietly banging away at the keyboard in our spare time (where that came from, I have no idea, but nonetheless we managed to make the time) creating a product that is pretty cool and pretty compelling (well, we are a bit biased, but I hope that you will agree).  It has been a slow and steady process, but we have learned a lot along the way.  There have been ups and downs, starts and stops, but in the end, we did it and are pleased with what we have developed.  Of course we realize that the road does not stop here, it actually just begins.  We have so many more things that we want to do to make the product and experience even better, but like everything else, it will come in time.

So enough with the babbling already, I guess I should spill the beans on what it is.  So the product we built is called trooQ, it is a user generated, social marketplace.  It marries the connectedness you find on LinkedIn, the social interactions you find on Facebook, and the marketplace you find on eBay to create a new way to buy and sell online.  By combining these elements into one solution, trooQ is able to provide an experience that is trusted, social, safe, personalized, reliable and cost effective.

So there you have it, I have come clean on what I have been alluding to here and there.  Keep in mind that it is our first release and we have a lot more work to do, but I hope that people will find it interesting and fun.  If you get a chance, check it out at www.trooq.com , and feel free to let me know what you think.  You can leave a comment here or send me an e-mail (my e-mail address is on the front page of this blog).

Life is filled with decisions, from what to eat for breakfast, to whether or not to change lanes, or whether or not to take that leap of faith and change careers.  Some decisions are made without much thought, others require a lot of time and thought process and in the end are extremely difficult.  A friend of mine wrote a post recently about making choices, and I found a particular piece of the post to be so simple and so true, but for some reason it seems to get overlooked (at least by me):

“The choices are just that, choices. The rest is free will.”

That little statement did not dawn on me until yesterday, when I was faced with making a very tough decision.  The hard part of the decision making process was not actually the decision, that part was simple (either yes I will do it or no I will not do it), but what was difficult was coming to grips with what I was about to do.  It was a decision that had already been made awhile ago, but the difficult part was coming to grips with the reality of the decision, that once it was put in motion, there was no turning back.  This was something that had to be accepted by not only myself, but my wife and to some extent my children.  Going through with the decision was one of the more difficult things I have done in my life, but I know and my wife knows that it was for the best.  The outcome of the decision will get better with time, but that does not make it any easier until then.

Decisions are just that, decisions.  It is either one way or the other.  Getting to that place where you are OK with the decision is what can be difficult, but in the end, you learn from the experience and perhaps the next time it will be  a little easier.

Kids in general are very fascinating, from the moment they are born they rely completely on you and as they grow, then become less and less dependent on you.  One of the other things they become is wiser with their age.  As a parent, you think that while your children are still young, they are the ones doing the learning, and you are doing the one teaching.  After all, it is your job as a parent to guide and teach your children, so they grow up to be respectable members of society.  However, they are not always the pupil and you the teacher, there are times that they can teach us a thing or two.

For all that parents do for their children, there are times that they are wise beyond their years and wind up teaching up a thing or two.  As we were driving home this evening from a family gathering and the kids were all strapped into their seats watching Shrek, my one daughter said something very simple, but very thoughtful.  See, my other daughter was making funny faces at our youngest one, trying to keep her awake, but she was being loud and you could barely hear the movie.  Not such a big deal, after all we wanted them to keep the little one awake until we got home, but my daughter had asked for us to turn the sound up, so that my wife could here the song that was being played in the movie.  She said, Mommy, you really like this song.

It was at that moment that I realized two things.  One how absolutely selfless and extremely thoughtful that was of my daughter to ask for the sound to be turned up so my wife could hear the song that she liked so much.  My daughter taught me a little lesson of selflessness.  I sometimes get so wrapped up in things that I can forget about others, but not her, and she reminded me of that trait that is very important.  The second thing I realized is that we have not done such a bad job after all raising our children.  It is moments like these are little gifts to remind us how important our job is as parents, and that there is always room to learn something more.