Saturday, February 7, 2009

The artist entrepreneur

In case you hadn't noticed, life is tough these days for those of us in consumer electronics. With consumer confidence at the lowest point I've seen in my lifetime, discretionary income -- what little of it people have these days -- isn't going toward nice-to-haves, like radio enhancements. It's being spent on perceived must-haves, like digital TV sets and set-top boxes (although now you can blow it off until June since Congress passed the "DTV Delay Act").

During the slump we at 3D Radio haven't ceased thinking up great additions to our groundbreaking technology. Our intellectual property portfolio keeps on growing; we've already filed for two new patents this year.

But business development has just about ground to a halt. Our business development executive (that would be me) can hardly bring herself to do the outreach she knows needs to be done because she knows the response will probably be a resounding "Maybe." At least with "No" you know definitively where you stand: Don't call me I'll call you. "Maybe" still leaves the door painfully ajar.

Ms. Bizdev had an interesting revelation recently during a group coaching session with her business coach. The coach led the the group through a guided meditation (this is Boulder, after all) designed to provide a kind of professional vision quest.

During the five-minute interlude I found myself hiking up one of Boulder's many foothills trails. (I haven't actually hiked in months because of my bum hip, so the visualization was very therapeutic in itself.) At one point we were told to open a book and read a random page in it. My Bible-size book had no name; the page read simply "Keep going."

Once returned from our journeys and back at our desks, we were asked what our book's message was. Mine was very clear: Don't let the current economy get you down -- keep 3D Radio going."

But how to keep up my enthusiasm for a project that has felt like one step forward, two steps back? How to maintain my interest when really, truly, I'm having a lot more fun being a potter than a high-tech entrepreneur? How to infuse business development with the creative spirit I feel when building a ceramic coffee cup?

The answer? Right here on this page.

Remember it's the journey, not the destination. Remember the story of the journey is just as legitimate as the finished product. Remember the story has an emotional arc, and it takes an artist to express that movement and growth.

So write about it why don't you?

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