First published December 27, 2007 in Mediapost’s Search Insider
OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’m happy to say that I’ve once again had my annual fix of George Bailey. So that, together with the fact that I can count the days left in 2007 on one hand, caused me to get reflective. There’s something about the turning of a calendar page that causes one to clean up our inventory of lessons learned from the past year, and start goal-setting for the new. That’s why the new year brings the inevitable “Best of” and “Top 10” lists, the 2007 Time Lines and the predictions for 2008. As much as all these things are tempting, I’m going to resist. Instead, I’m going to say thank you for a few things that I’ve been blessed with in the past year, thanks to the Internet.
Working Where I Want To
Thank you, Internet, for letting me earn my living wherever I want to. In the past year, thanks to my laptop and Internet connections of varying quality, I’ve been able to work in my backyard on a hot Okanagan summer day, my sofa while my kids pile up next to me, sharing a lanai with my wife Jill overlooking the ocean in Kauai, Hawaii, a beach in Santa Cruz, Calif. waiting for a concert to start on the boardwalk, and a desk with a great view of the sun rising over downtown Lisbon, Portugal. Throw in dozens of airports, conference rooms, airplanes, hotel rooms, my home office, other assorted locations and approximately 75,000 miles traveled this past year and I realized that my ability to earn a living is pretty mobile. My father-in-law is a carpenter, and when he goes to a job site, he needs a three-quarter-ton truck to haul all his tools and materials. I need a backpack. Now that more of us are earning our livelihood through creating and aggregating knowledge, we can take our jobs to where we want to be, rather than the other way around.
Seeing Some Fascinating Places in the World
Thank you, Internet, for allowing me to gain enough recognition in this industry to snag some speaking invites to some very interesting corners of the world. This year, I was fortunate to be able to see Beijing and Xiamen, China; London; Lisbon and the Algarve, Portugal; and, closer to home, Bonita Springs, Fla.; Park City, Utah; Tucson; and a number of other great places to visit. For me, the Internet has made the world smaller not just virtually, but also physically.
Tapping Into Some Brain-Numbing Ideas
Thank you, Internet, for providing me uncharted waters. When I moved into this space, I was coming from industries where the rules had largely been written (radio and traditional advertising). In the Internet, I feel we’re starting a whole new game and we can all participate in the writing of the rules. The more I look at where we’re going, the more I realize we’re turning everything that we accomplished in the 20th Century on its head. The Internet is rewiring every aspect of society, and I hope some of this will provide solutions to some big problems we have created for ourselves in the past 100 – 150 years. I have also been blessed with discovering the ideas shared in dozens of books over the last year. There are a lot of really smart people thinking long and hard about where we’re going. Which brings me to my next “thank you”…
Meeting Passionate People
Thank you, Internet, for allowing me to meet people who believe they can change the world. I have been extremely fortunate to add many of these people to my circle of acquaintances, and, I hope, my friends. I love grabbing a quiet (or sometimes not so quiet) corner of a hotel or conference center and talking passionately about how everything is changing in our world with people who are equally fascinated by (and frightened of) the possibilities. Every show I attend gives me the opportunity to have a few of these conversations, and I treasure every one. I’m also lucky enough to work with an incredible team in my business every day that shares my passion for the infinite possibilities.
It Really is a Wonderful Life!
Yes, sometimes I get tired when I look at my to-do list. And sometimes I get intimidated by the sheer size of the challenges that lie ahead, but I never, ever get bored. Today, thanks to the Internet and its influence on our world, our opportunity is only limited by how big we dare to dream. 2007, like any year, had its share of triumphs and tragedies. In taking stock personally, I have to say the scale was definitely on the plus side, and many of the reasons for that came from the idea to wire our computers together to shuttle packets of information back and forth. The Internet has made my own little “Bedford Falls” a pretty wonderful place and my life more interesting that I would have dreamed possible 10 to 15 years ago. And I just wanted to take a few minutes to say thank you.