On Having A Vision

When I dream about my future, I try and dream a complete dream.

Not the parts. Not the various stages. I dream the finale. I’ve always done this, and I think it’s one of my best attributes. With that fully-hatched vision in mind, I dissect it. And then I get to work.

After my divorce in  November 2001, I hit reset by deciding to spend the following summer in NYC attending an intensive program at NYU, where I immersed myself in art and jazz. All summer long, I ebbed and flowed with the pulse of the city. This freeing period in my life provided the space I needed to create anew.

I wrote down these elements for my dream job:

  1. understand financial markets
  2. learn technology
  3. make money
  4. hang out with smart people
  5. come back to NYC

I had a clear vision in mind: a snapshot of an ideal work day in the future. I saw myself frequenting Manhattan, travelling first class, working for an innovative company, learning about investments and technology, generating a healthy income and surrounding myself with really smart colleagues and clients.

With the vision in head, I started working backwards. What position would offer these dream-parts?

Three month’s later, I was offered the Account Manager position at CBS MarketWatch licensing content and technology to asset management firms across America, a position which eventually led to an Upper East Side apartment in NYC. Not to mention all the MBA colleague’s from ivy league schools who were part of the employment pool. The first three months were overwhelming. I was certainly out of my comfort zone, feeling like I was participating in a Greek language immersion program. What was HTML? What’s an ETF fund? I even mispronounced Wi-Fi as “Wiff-ie” once.

But I learned fast and tried hard, and all that genuine effort landed me the Pinnacle Award five years later, which I might add included a first class trip for two to the Amalfi Coast. 

Not bad for a dreamer.

My Current Vision

More recently, when birthing Sharing Profiles, I repeated this visionary exercise. I kept seeing an umbrella in my mind (emblazoned with a Sharing Profiles logo) with each spoke representing a vertical website.

Then I saw another umbrella in my mind (same logo) with each spoke representing a different resort town. Then I saw another umbrella in my mind (same logo) with each spoke representing an industry. And then I saw those three umbrellas multiplying; they were popping up everywhere.

That’s when I knew I was on to something – my vision scaled. I was passionate. All systems were go.

I worked around the clock that fleeting weekend in February 2009, typing fast and furiously on my computer keyboard, hammering out an international business vision with a dissectible action plan. Starting with one vertical (HireMe) in one resort town (Aspen), I was able to focus (and focus locally). The third umbrella would have to wait for now.

So with the eye on the prize, I got to work.

I had a vision but I needed a team. and not any team would do. We’ve all heard the adage “you’re as good as the company you keep.” To my detriment, I’ve ignored this motto in the past, so “less than” was not an option this time around. I was serious, and I wanted the best people I could get.

Over the years, I’ve always kept a standing list of prospective members I could invite to be part of my “dream team” when the time was right.  A dream team is defined as:

“A team or group whose members are among the most qualified or talented in their particular fields. The best possible combination of people to perform a task.”

Hindsight being 20/20, I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart.  So, with list in hand and being bootstrap proud, I invited two members to join the team:

  1. DESIGNER: a thoughtful and creative designer experienced in usability
  2. DEVELOPER: the smartest one I knew

We worked hard and did it all – strategy, concepts, design, use cases, e-commerce, market analysis, website development, interactive technology, content, pricing, registration, email marketing, advertising, social media, partnerships, printing….the list goes on and on.

HireMeAspen.com launched in July 2010.

We’ve adopted the RERO method (release early/release often), in spite of the limited resources available (read earlier post here). In December, we’ll be rolling out new business profiles, revamping the exisitng partner program, incorporating display advertisements into the site and partnering with Aspen.com, delivering content feeds for display on their website and starting to build the ResortWorkers brand on social media.

There is still so much to do, but the long and winding road doesn’t seem so overwhelming when broken down into mile-markers.

HireMeSteamboat and HireMeVail are around the next bend. HireMeColorado will come thereafter. Eventually, the HireMe vertical will evolve into ResortWorkers.com for national and even international expansion.

Although it seems somewhat humorous at this early stage to even state those two words: “international expansion,” it is certainly within the realm of possibility. Actually, even more so now that they’ve been dreamt, spoken and written about, right?

HouseMe is down the pike. Because every business vision must have a charitable element in my humble opinion, HelpMe enters the picture and will be my greatest achievement…I just feel it.

The third umbrella of my Sharing Profiles vision has to do with using the Sharing Profiles platform to help organizations connect their various groups to one another in a customizable and highly interactive online environment. For example, Challenge Aspen may want to connect their disabled athletes with volunteers. Aspen Ski Company may want to connect ski instructors with students. Because I believe Universities should better connect graduates with alumni, I’ve also secured the domains HireMeAlumni.com and MentorMeAlumni.com, setting that ball in motion.

All of these umbrella spokes point back to the company vision: sharing profiles to create results.

A simple vision.  Really.