Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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Posts in Daily Dose
Adios to the Dose

For seventeen months straight, I wrote something every single day and started emailing it to people.  

This is the last regularly scheduled Daily Dose.  

I've loved the challenge and the positive response from what became short, regular thoughts on leadership and impact. And while short posts are reasonably easy to write, it's time to pen the final entry in this chapter of my writing and teaching.

Beginning today, subscribers to this list will get regular (but not daily) thoughts on what it means to start, lead, and manage a slow company. (And I totally understand if you're reading this via email and scroll to the bottom now to click "unsubscribe".) 

This new content focus comes out of the immense initial success we're having at Batch. What started as a business experiment with two friends is now a growing company that demands more and more of my time and attention. Tomorrow, for example, we'll be packing boxes that will land in 34 states.  

But what I'm learning these days as a parent, entrepreneur, leader, and husband is that a lot of meaning can be found in starting or working for a slow company.  

What's a Slow Company? 

In contrast to a favorite magazine of mine, I believe slow companies are those where we can find our life's work, whether we begin one or link up with one as an employee or customer. Instead of a race for cash, we're willing to take the long journey to discover purpose, passion, and meaning. The goal of a slow company isn't to make money, flip it, and repeat. The goal of a slow company is to contribute mightily to the world and allow you to focus on all the things that matter - family, community, work, income, legacy, leadership, impact, service, relationships, fun.  

Regular posts here (along with this new look and, beginning tomorrow, a new domain) will focus more on what it means to be a slow company. I'll share about other slow companies I find and offer advice on how to begin one for yourself.  

Thanks to all those who have been reading. I invite you on this new journey, even though I'll admit I have no clue where we'll end up.  

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
With or Without Excellence

If you can't do it with excellence, I'd say don't do it. 

Either find someone who can do it with excellence or perfect your skills until how do you it matters as much as what you're doing. 

The world is saturated with mediocrity. Why would you want to add more chatter to that noise? 

When everyone is settling for average, serving up your products, ideas, or work with excellence means getting attention is the easy part. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Where Your Heart Is

After talking about work and ideal work scenarios, I heard a friend say, "But my heart is really in South Africa. That's where I'd like to be working." 

I told her she needed to figure out how to get there as quickly as possible. 

The hard part is that our heart may tell us where we need to be, but it won't offer a neatly planned itinerary for getting there.  

Ultimately I think my friend will end up in South Africa and stay there for a really long time and make a world of difference. But neither I nor she knows when that will begin. 

So please, follow your heart. But know that the journey you'll embark upon will be anything but clean, easy, or routine. Which, if you ask me, is all the more reason to go forth. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
How Do You Define Greatness?

What makes your work or something you do great? 

  • When you set a record for sales?
  • When people try to copy you?
  • When everyone wants what you sell or wants to hire you?
  • When you get an award?
  • When you reach the end?
  • When you achieve some set standard of perfection?
  • When you overcome the competition?
  • When others say it is?
  • When you feel it is?

Make sure you know when you hit greatness so you can celebrate (and then get back to work).

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Working With That

Sure - the notion of boundless possibilities excites us. We think that no rules whatsoever can allow our creativity to flourish and our ideas to run wild. 

But the greater challenge (and therefore the greater impact) often comes when we're given a boundary to stay within. 

Check out this list of maps.  

The creators are bound by geography. But beyond that, they can go nuts and map nearly anything. Scrolling through the list is fun and fascinating. 

The next time you're given a parameter or frontier, don't resist it. Embrace it and see how much more creative you can get.  

Sometimes, art needs the edge of a canvas to confine and bring out its greatest potential. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Forget All

The quest for all doesn't end, I'm learning. 

You can't know it all, have it all, do it all, or be it all. 

Better to chase best instead of all. 

Knowing best, being the best, trying your best, and hoping for the best is the pathway worth traveling.  

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
The Best for First

When do you give your best effort or use your best ideas? 

Make sure those most important to you - family, friends, spouses, community - get your best work and not your leftovers. 

I think you'll also find that even when you give your best and do your best first, you still have plenty of best left for other things like work, school, or other obligations.  

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Stopping Points

I've been reading and hearing quite a few interviews this month about the upcoming conclusion of (what I think is) a great TV show, Breaking Bad. And while all of this intention further cements the critical acclaim of the show, it is just a TV show, after all.

But TV shows, books, movies, songs, and even school years teach us the value of end points.

Entrepreneurs and leaders who immerse themselves in an idea can often forget to stop. Days bleed together as what we were working on last night merges into an early morning. And then we press "repeat," lose track of time, and don't feel like we've accomplished anything because there's been no time to look back. 

We need to stop. 

Every once in a while, even when we're busy and our task list grows, we must stop. We need to evaluate, celebrate, and plan. Respites and pauses let us do this.  

Whether it's at the end of the day or the end of an activity, shut it down, even if only for a minute or two. Say to yourself "It is finished" and breathe through the stillness before you begin again. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
How to Overcome a Mistake

When you make a mistake (you will make mistakes), the process to course correct is: 

  1. Admit it.
  2. Fix it.

That's it.

What you don't do is: 

  1. Deny it.
  2. Blame someone else.
  3. Go on a PR frenzy.
  4. Blame someone else.
  5. Distract people.
  6. Lie.
  7. Make more mistakes to cover up the first mistake.
  8. Keep denying it.

Mistakes are only the end of the world if you let them be. Better to mess up and move on than keep messing up because you're not willing to admit your armor sometimes has chinks. 

Leadership makes sure the worst thing isn't the last thing. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Overnight Failure

There's no such thing as an overnight success. What usually seems like a rapid rise was actually years in the making as someone honed his or her talents, network, and story.

Likewise, I don't think there's such a thing as an overnight failure. Detroit didn't go bankrupt in a day. And other companies, schools, or organizations don't fall in one evening. Usually, a series of poor decisions leads to a gradual demise over time. 

All the more reason to pay attention - daily - to the details. That methodical work will eventually help make you a success. 

It'll also prevent you from being a failure. 

Sweat the small stuff. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment