Monday, March 19, 2012

Building a billion-dollar enterprise, 1 - the inauguration of the Code.

I just came across a new and intriguing ad on Facebook.

It's an Infiniti ad, but it's not advertising one of their cars. It's advertising a performance by the Cirque du Soleil, a performance that the ad says is "inspired by" one of their cars, the new Infiniti JX.

I find the ad intriguing for at least a couple of reasons. First, because connecting Infiniti with Cirque du Soleil is, to say the least, non-obvious. But Infiniti has been Cirque du Soleil's "automative partner" for more than a year, giving CdS the opportunity to form the habit of being inspired by Infinitis. So I salute whoever came with the idea for partnering:

The second thing I find intriguing about the Facebook ad is that the performance it advertises will be live-streamed. The ad is an invitation to make an appointment to watch...may I call it an enhanced commercial?

Finally, I find it intriguing that the invitation, presumably to all of Facebook's 800 million members, has an RSVP link. I can only assume that Inifiniti will use that to capture information.

Smart. Very smart. I want to learn to do the kind of thinking that comes up with something like that.

Maybe I should put brainstorming on my calendar as a regularly scheduled event.

Right now, I am missing an event that could have been hyper-helpful in learning to do the kind of thinking behind the Infiniti-Cirque du Soleil partnership - IEG's annual sponsorship conference. The conference, which began yesterday and runs through Wednesday in Chicago,  is titled, "Leap: How Top Brands Are Transforming Sponsorship."

I know that building a billion-dollar enterprise will require me to to learn a lot about sponsorship, but I didn't know about that conference until - Friday, I think.

And why didn't I know? Better yet, how might I have learned about it intentionally, rather that accidentally through the incidental mention of it by a friend?

I might have known about it much sooner if I had engaged in more forward thinking as I prepared to leave the Post-Gazette. Knowing that conferences can be a powerful way to meet interesting, knowledgeable and useful people, I could have asked, "What conferences should I plan to attend over the next year to develop relationships and gain information that could help me to succeed?"

If I had asked that, I might have gone to SXSW last year, or this. I might have gone to ONA11 in September - right after the Screenwriting Expo.

I know, and have repeatedly said out loud, that everything significant I do for the rest of my life must begin with relationships. So I going to schedule time to answer the above question, along with this one: "What actions can I take, starting now, to cultivate existing relationships for learning and for partnership opportunities?"

Building a billion-dollar enterprise will require focused thinking, every day. It will require running my company - my ephemeral one-person company - every day, with the intent of building a billion-dollar enterprise. It will require rules, principles, ways of doing things...THAT WORK.

I will strive to learn to those rules, those principles, those ways of doing things; as part of that, I will seek to express them in short phrases that can be recalled easily and often as mantras - the BBDE Mantras, which together form the BBDE Code.

Because I like naming things, that's why.

The First Mantra: relationships create everything. Therefore, pursue relationships. Therefore, enhance relationships. Therefore, evaluate everything in light of its anticipated effect on relationships.

I will not build my billion-dollar enterprise by despising people. I will do it by valuing people more highly than ever. I will do it by esteeming them too highly to dismiss them, or to fear them. I will work to recognize every person as a potential teacher, partner or customer, and every relationship as a potential source for creating value.
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