Keeping an Open Mind


I know there are people who don’t like social media.  Mention Facebook or Instagram and you’ll get a derisive snort.  “I don’t use that, it’s a waste of time!” Well, good for you. But I have to be honest, if you have any sort of broad-sector consuming facing product or service, if you’re not on social media somehow then you’re missing a lot of potential business, perhaps enough to make the difference between success or not.  Just like if you’re selling a book you need to be on and, and if you’re selling brick and mortar then you need to be looking at working with WalMart and/or Target.

But this blog post isn’t about your beliefs or values, or about how to reconcile that with your business.  Instead, it’s about understanding that there are probably people who know more than you about something, and whether or not you are willing to listen to them.

I do a lot of reading, lots of non-fiction.  Lots of classics on business, interpersonal skills, communication, and so forth.  Several tenets repeat themselves a lot, but there’s one that’s relevant here: open-mindedness.  Putting aside your ego and really listening and thinking about the other side. You are probably very intelligent (you’re reading this blog, after all!).  You are probably skilled in your area of expertise. Many people I’ve met professionally are. Most people I’ve met are pretty knowledgeable in their domain, and I don’t take that away from anyone.  But no one is knowledgeable about everything.

A man’s got to know his limitations.

So even if you don’t like social media, and don’t personally use it, do you at least understand it’s place and its usefulness as a marketing platform?  Are you open-minded enough to accept that maybe there’s something out there that you don’t know about, and it fact it might be the spark or catalyst that helps your business take off?

If you can accept this fact, then suddenly you have to accept that it could apply to everything.

  • Can you move your IT and tech operations to a SaaS or serverless architecture, where you don’t have to do any OS-level administration any more?
  • Can you generate and give away some of your content for free?  Podcasts, videos, open source, creative commons?
  • Do you really need an appliance-based firewall that is in the data path, or can having a host-based firewall on every system with centralized monitoring and control suffice?
  • Do you really need to hire and purchase logoing and graphics work?  Or can I buy a $10 stock image and just use that?

And remember, just being open-minded and considering ideas doesn’t mean you have to do them.  If, after a lot of careful thought, you decide that you don’t want to advertise on social media then don’t.  You need to be comfortable enough the make your own decisions and stand behind them.  But you also need to be willing to think about alternatives that you may have not thought about before, and be willing to perhaps change your mind.

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