This book was crafted over approximately fourteen months, but it’s the result of many years of discussions, debates and sometimes even arguments. I’m grateful to all of those kind people who have shared their time and insights.
Our clients have invited us into their lives and allowed us to work with them and experiment. In this arena, learning is a perpetual exercise, and I believe we’ve gained a great deal from these partnerships. Meanwhile, we’ve been fortunate to have a number of colleagues who’ve happily shared in an open exchange of ideas and perspectives. There’s only so much you can do on your own. Having some peers to exchange war stories and insights with can make all the difference in between feeling we’re moving forward or treading water in isolation.
Along the way, a few mentors have shared their struggles and successes, and we’ve gained depth from them. The design and marketing community is particularly vital and verbal, and they’ve expanded our perspectives and sometimes fortified our arguments by exchanging their opinions, both in person and in lengthy comment threads on ideasonideas.com. Some of these folks have become friends of ours even if we’ve never met in person. They’ve sent emails of encouragement, support, and sometimes highly personal stories, which have made us feel like we’re connected.
A few folks meet with us regularly for coffee or lunch to swap and debate ideas. This is something that we greatly appreciate—doing so makes it more fun to come into the office, knowing that an engaging lunch meeting might fuel us for days to come. Meanwhile, we’re particularly thankful to our families who indulge our long hours, and for their willingness to listen to the challenges and opportunities we talk about, sometimes without the ability to edit ourselves.
As you may have noticed, I’ve used the pronoun “we” in the text above. That’s because this book isn’t a singular effort, but rather one that was shared with my brilliant and levelheaded business partner Eric Shelkie. We started our business with a great deal of enthusiasm and ambition, but were hardly aware of how much we had (and still have) to learn. I’m particularly thankful to share this journey with such a nice guy.
On a personal note, I want to thank my parents, Lauri and Helina, for our daily talks, and for being a voice of reason and support at some rather harrowing moments. Meanwhile, I owe a debt of gratitude to my good friend Hans Saefkow, who has vetted this piece and voiced his thoughtful suggestions and rebuttals. Thank you for all the great discussions, my friend! Similarly, I’m very happy that Tom Biederbeck was been kind enough to lend his keen eye to this, helping isolate problems and smooth out a number of rough edges. My brother Mark, who is perhaps the most rational individual I know, has also generously investigated this book and pointed out some of the little slips that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks.
The three people I owe the most to are my wife Amea and our two little boys, Ari and Oscar. They’ve permitted my absence on many evenings, weekends, and even a summer vacation in order to allow me time to finish this. I suspect that one day I’ll regret having squandered those days for a book, given what a wonderful gang they are; without that sacrifice, though, I doubt this would have seen the light of day.
Finally, I thank you: the individual whose passion to make something good gives all of us something to look forward to. I appreciate you taking the time to read this book and sincerely hope it helps galvanize your efforts in some way. I know how difficult it can be for small companies at times. Thanks for keeping up the good fight!
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