A small unnoticed milestone passed last week. Connect360 celebrated its 3-month birthday. If Connect360 was a baby, it would be starting to lift its head on its own and showing signs of improved gross-motor coordination. Given that, I thought it would be interesting to ask, as Ed Koch (a former mayor of New York City mayor) used to ask “How are we doing?” The Good: We signed-up our 30th client this week. This was exciting and put us exactly on pace with the business plan we put together three months ago. Technology-wise, everything is finally working, be it the phone system, cloud-based computing, blast emails, and client reporting. For a company of 14 people, we seem to be celebrating a birthday, wedding, or some other event (like my winning the homerun pool) almost every week. Bring on the cakes! The Bad I didn’t realize when we started the company that there was a minimum age requirement for doing business. Honestly, I never expected it to be like walking into a bar and getting “carded”. However, last week, I learned that the American Association of Advertising Agencies (known as the 4As) couldn’t accept us as a member because we haven’t been in business for 12 months. Then there were the 2-3 organizations that told us that they would “love to work with you, but you are too new” and should come back in a year or two. We tried to explain that we had a combined 120 year history of working together, could lift our heads on our own and had excellent gross-motor skills. But no luck. What this did do, however, was get us to work still harder for the organizations that did put their trust in us. And the Noisy … Before I signed the lease for our new office I did a lot of due diligence. I checked out the landlord. I checked out the neighborhood. I talked to other tenants on the floor. I even dropped into the office several times unannounced, to see what the place was like. Everything checked-out perfectly: quiet, clean, and professional. Then, I guess, like
any home, we discovered the quirks. First, because our office is in Times Square, unusual things started to happen. Last Friday, Paul McCartney gave an unannounced, free, live-concert outside our front door (that was cool). Then, there is the guy who plays drums on a plastic bucket and aluminum pan on Broadway, 12 floors down from my window. He plays endlessly and never seems to get tired (that’s less than cool). And finally, there is the gym upstairs. It turns out that New York Sports Clubs has a major facility on the floor above our office and its free-weight area is just above my head. Who would expect to find a gym on the 13th floor of an office building?. Periodically, it seems the members of the club like to drop their weights on my ceiling, causing everything to shake (that’s really not cool). New York is definitely an “interesting” place. Those of you who read my last blog entry, know that I’m just back from China. China is fascinating. Here are just two insights I would like to share. Walking down the street in Shanghai, my tour guide pointed out that over the past 13 years, Shanghai built over 1,600 buildings of at least 40 stories. I thought about this for a minute and realized that was the equivalent of constructing every major building on Manhattan island twice over in a period of just 13 years. Amazing!. Then, walking down the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Chongqing it dawned on me that most of the people I saw appeared to be under 40 years old. Where were the older people? What I learned is that China has been developing a huge, young, educated group who are moving to the big cities in droves, leaving their parents behind in the small cities and towns. It sounds like what has been happening in New York for years. In talking to them (and so many of them speak English), I learned that they aspire to many of the same things that people under 40 in America do: a chance to earn a good living, a nice apartment, a chance to travel, nice clothes, and a good car to drive. I was really surprised how similar certain things were on both sides of the world.