Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reflecting on 10 years

This year marks an anniversary a sorts, which more than anything is simply, and quite significantly, a reflection point. 2014 is CONima's 10th year of existence as a business entity, providing architecture and design services to support innovation and collaboration. It certainly existed prior to that. I created in the late 1990's as my personal portfolio of work. The name created as the best way for me to describe what architecture in its purest form should be, the realization of identity through the built form, a constructed image - CONima.

The last 10 years however are less of a reflection on the meaning of architecture though. This is the mile marker on a different journey, entrepreneurship. It is with tremendous pride that I tell the world that I have lived, supported my family, and in most respects thrived on my own wits with no safety net for a decade now. I have provided good jobs for people I consider friends, helped create industry opportunities for hundreds of people, and supported many philanthropic community efforts to help provide quality educational opportunities in the arts and technology.

The sacrifices have been great at times. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the Great Recession were particularly gut wrenching. Powerless is the best description I can give to the feelings I had as a business owner with employees when there is no work left. But even those extremes can be survived with honest communication and ethical decision making.

I've learned alot about partnerships as well. I believe that a good partnership is invaluable, but creating a lasting partnership is incredibly difficult. The things that bring people together are often different from the things needed from one another over the life of a company, but once you find the right chemistry you begin to feel unstoppable.

Mostly, I've learned that entrepreneurs are decidedly different from other people. Entrepreneurs are driven, unsatisfied, resilient, obsessively focused, and highly adaptable. They take unbelievable risks because they believe in their willingness to succeed.

Entrepreneurs are people who are willing to quit their job because they believe enough in themselves to find a way to make a living. And once you have that realization, work changes from something that makes a living into something that makes a life.

I quit working for others 10 years ago and began working for myself. My mission has adapted, but the vision is the same. The realization of identity through the built form. 

What is your story?

How can I help you understand it?

How can I help you tell it?

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