“If you make plans in concrete and worry about following them to the letter you won't be prepared for the challenges that arise – the ones you haven't even thought about.”
Early in my career, I found myself based in France, working for a company called Tricord Systems. We made super-servers, not that I knew what one was at the time, or had ever seen one.
The company did not yet have an office. So, one Sunday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a virtually empty flat with hardly any furniture, looking through the equivalent of the Yellow Pages, trying to source somebody to sell these things called super-servers to. Because, along with the lack of an office and accommodation, I was faced with a major lack of clients. It was my job to find them.
As I flicked through the pages trying to spot a company with an English-sounding name I came across the number for the Paris headquarters of J. P. Morgan. Here was a company I had heard of. I thought I had half a shot at being able to talk to them in English. I dialled the number, fully expecting to find myself being bounced around the internal phone system before I could get the name of anyone who might have the power to make a buying decision. As it happened, the person who picked up the phone turned out to be an American, a vice president in charge of their IT infrastructure, who had come in to the office over the weekend to catch up on work. ...