Since the 1500’s they have said an old dog cannot learn a new trick. Seems an old dog is set in their ways and don’t have the energy or compelling reason to get into it. But, I have known all my life that I am not a dog. I don’t think you are either since your reading this. So the real question is am I too old for this? When does old begin anyway?
I’ve been working in the corporate world since the early 80s. I learned so much from great bosses, mentors, peers, and basically everyone. Luckily I worked for progressively smaller companies. Starting with $20 billion company, next to a company that grew to $3 billion, next to a $2-500 million, and then along a true startup. Not just any startup, one in a new category of products being born, against giants in the industry, and the job located overseas. A triple whammy of change, learning, and intense competition.
I could easily stay in the US corporate world and add value. There would be new challenges at any new place, but the startup bug kept calling to me. I had the background to already know the blueprint of the operations the startup would need. Could I use my experience to jump start things for a startup? Would it work starting basically with no budget (by comparison) and no staff yet in a global race to capture market share? The competition’s budget for coffee in the morning was more than our entire company budget. Well, I had to do it to see how much I’m worth in the hardest of environments. If you are not learning you are dying. I realized my whole career was motivated by learning – improving operations and business processes to their best value.
It was the most intense, fun, highs and low learning I have ever encounter. Luckily, I had become immune to jet lag and required much less sleep. In less than 4 months, we built out systems and processes for an ERP, ecommerce, warehouses, call centers, repair centers, and sales teams. Through intense team-work, we successfully launched our product to market. Keep in mind some giants did as well and had to pull their product from shelves. Interesting fact, we were in a shared office space where several people brought their dogs. Cool dogs that liked to sleep while we worked.
I learned so much that my career is now opened to a million more possibilities. The desire for new challenges increases as well. I’m not old, in fact I am now even better prepared for next role. I can’t wait for the next few chapters to unfold, woof, woof!
Ron Spencer, Former COO Vector Smart Watch, successfully acquired by Fitbit January 2017
Global Operations Consulting