Monday, February 25, 2008

The first blog is the hardest...

I'm surprised that its taken me this long to start a blog. Normally, any excuse I have to analyze things is used repeatedly and with glee, but blogging has seemed almost too good to be true. A place to talk about things I care about? People can respond to me, if they care to? Sweet! And yet, it took me until now to fully embrace the opportunity. Better late than never, I suppose.

And with that, here is the inaugural blog for Learning in Tandem, my chance to share stories about my adventures in starting my own company, Tandem Learning, and the lessons I learn as an entrepreneur in the industry of learning. As the name of both my company and this blog suggest, I won't be doing it alone. But I'm going to make it a point to try to protect the innocent in the stories I share.

The difficulty I had in starting this blog was seen on a much grander scale with starting Tandem Learning. I had a great job, made decent money, and all in all was happy with where my life was heading. Except...I was making a lot of money for The Man. And even that wasn't the whole problem. Over the course of the last six months, due to changes in the corporate structure at my previous company, The Man kept putting more and more red tape around what I could (or couldn't) do. Quite frankly, I have a problem with authority. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I rage against the machine (or at least machines that I'm not in control of...).

But just like my skepticism with the ease of blogging, I had been skeptical that I could just go off and start my own company. I know how to do my job really well, but it seemed like the list of things I didn't know about running a company was almost insurmountable. Legal issues? Taxes? Benefits? All a mystery. More info on all of these things will come out in subsequent posts, but suffice it to say, just like in starting this blog, I had to decide to just do it.

I've been discussing a theory lately about life, I'm sure some philosopher already has the corner on this theory but I'm not a student of philosophy so forgive me if I'm stealing ideas. But life, to me, is a series of decisions, big and small. Who you are is who you decide to be. What you do is what you decide to do (or not to do). Indecision is in itself making a decision not to decide.

Fear is often what prevents me from making decisions. In deciding to start Tandem Learning, I had to get past my fear that I would to a miserable failure and my family would lose our house (not that I don't still worry about that, I just haven't let it get in the way of my decision to follow my dream). And fear is what kept me from writing this first blog. Fear that I would come off as stupid, egotistical, self-serving, smug, or any number of other unattractive adjectives. I finally decided that I probably will come off as all of those things, but it shouldn't prevent me from trying anyway.

So here it is. My decision to blog about my decision to start a company. And all the good and bad decisions I make along the way. I hope you learn something from my experiences, but that's something for you to decide for yourself.