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Morals, ethics and business: what I have learned August 31, 2006

Posted by sdpurtill in Business, Rants.

I’ve been working for Okapi for nearly 6 months now. Here are some things I have learned about the world of business. Most of them are mistakes I made that will never happen again, and some are just thoughts.

#1 – Sign contracts for everything

And when I say everything, I MEAN everything. If it’s a stupid $500 code clean up job, write a contract. If it’s a $50,000 corporate website, write a big contract :). People lie. Even “Christians”.

#2 – Charge for everything

Don’t ever take a hit; if you need to buy equipment for the job, add it to the tab. If you can’t operate with the right tools for the job, then it’s pointless for your contractor to employ you, right ? I would not include most software under this point though, such as Studio 8 or Photoshop. Those are just necessary in day to day life.

#3 – Work your hardest

The work you do right now isn’t just for the present monetary gain. The work you do now is the #1 thing that will bring new clients to the table later.

#4 – Join a company with people that work their hardest

Since Okapi is based in Bucharest, Romania, we operate on huge time delays. They’re 10 hours ahead of me I believe. But the guys I work with are constantly working until 3am to get projects done, and we seem to talk every day about projects. I honestly think we have one of the best designers in the world, Gabi Lungu, and Andrei Ostacie (president of Okapi) works harder than anyone I have ever met.

#5 – There is a little bit of money in services, but there are billions in products

That’s why Okapi has recently split into three different departments — Okapi Development, Okapi Design, and Okapi Marketing. All are joined to form Okapi Studio, but we purposefully split off a development team so they could focus on web applications. My first start up is coming soon, we are developing it right now. I can’t wait…
#6 – Read. Read. Read. Read

One of my favorite teachers ever, Mrs. Oates, used to say “the world belongs to readers.” That was in 10th grade, and I didn’t believe her. Two years later, I stand not only corrected, but converted. I try to read every spare second I get. Some of my favorite books have been “The Likeability Factor” by Tim Sanders, and “The Little Red Book of Sales” by Jeffrey Gitomer. Both are extremely practical and insightful

#7 – Don’t alienate your fan base; never forget where you came from, and who made you successful

This is more of a thought that I have when thinking about success. Anyways… Your fans are the people that made you big. Fans is a broad category; it includes your first customers, your friends, your family and your community. It seems that when people become rich and famous they tend to forget what made them. No one gets to where they are all by themselves, they have to have fans. People that believe in them or support them. This is true in every single case of a successful person.

#8 – Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you have to spend more

Novel concept. A lesson I learned from my dad. He dresses like a bum and drives around some janky cars. Yeah, you get the idea.

#9 – Read the blogs of those who have made it

My favorite blog of all time is blogmaverick.com, Mark Cuban’s blog. Another one I check regularly is Signal vs. Noise, an extremely insightful blog by 37signals. They know how to run their businesses. To be the best, you have to learn from the best.

#10 – When I’m rich, I’m going to ski. A LOT

I don’t know why I added this. Notice how I say “when I’m rich.” Speaking it into existence :p… But on my “hit list” for once I make it is…

  • Whistler Blackcomb, BC, Canada
  • Vail, Colorado
  • The Alps

If I think of anything else, I’ll add to this. There are a few more that I tend to think of when I’m sitting in school, zoning out to what the current teacher is jabbering about.


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