What Do I Want to Keep in This Garden?

When I was working on music in the Bay Area, I realized that being a musician wasn’t what I expected. There was a Facebook post on my feed from my fraternity brother saying that his roommate left early on a lease. I responded to his post, and at a blink of an eye, I was living in Hawaii.

Before living in Hawaii, I was always hesitant to trust people. I was conditioned to be cautious of others, which is the protocol for growing up in an urban environment. That perspective slowly withered away the longer I stayed in Hawaii. People were just genuinely nice without any sort of mixed incentive. This allowed me to open up more and inspired my new and not yet discovered business adventure.

This perspective has taught me a lot about the patience of letting your business practices grow. I took on a full-time job when I first moved here. It granted me a lot of tools to learn about business optimization, but then I was suddenly let go a few weeks before my wedding. The event was an abrupt and devastating hurdle to conquer. Even up to now, I still confront the complicated emotions associated with being let go from a job. I’ve learned how to separate feelings from experience and listen to my natural inclination to experience variety. It allowed me to build a new “garden” which would ultimately be the foundation for my business.

When visiting the Bay Area, my dad shared with me that he somehow grew a pineapple in San Jose, CA. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It didn’t grow as big as it could’ve in a different environment but it still grew. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

If we’re looking at the analogy of the garden, it takes a lot of work to prune things without letting weeds grow. I knew that my knowledge of business optimization was something valuable, so instead of interviewing for another company, I decided to offer my services directly to customers.

At the first phase of my business, I was prepping the soil and planting all of these seeds. I was networking with different companies and building relationships, and those connections led to my first customers. Being a business consultant is valuable to the community, but that, of course, will come with some challenges. I have always been good about talking to people, but that doesn’t always convert into customers. Problems don’t necessarily mean that you’ve been letting weeds take over. It helps you discern which elements work for you, and to make sure you’re taking care of the plants that are taking care of you.

My business is now growing to a point where I have to decide what I want to keep in this garden. It’s going to be hard work taking out all of the weeds and taking care of the plants that need my attention. What will always remain in my business is integrity and empathy. I’m proud to say I’ve integrated those two values from my upbringing. Everyone’s time deserves to be valued.

There was never a set of instructions on how to conduct a business. I now understand how business owners make decisions, but that journey took a lot of risks and a lot of trust. Those challenges are what helped me build this garden, and I’ve learned to engineer a garden where all of the plants in it get to share the sun.

Business Technology

Legacy Systems & Cyber Security Month

Remember when computers took up rooms and we had fresh afros?

I recall an episode of Dilbert where he & his crew had to figure out how to modify computer code in preparation for Y2K. What made the adventure entertaining was that (highlight for spoiler) they found out Wally, a current colleague, did the original programming on the mainframe. However, he had no recollection of setting it up.

Cases like that usually involve Legacy Systems, enterprise solutions that have been dated but paved the way for current technology. Nowadays, software & hardware are updated so frequently that it is a great challenge to align business processes with technology use. One organization I was working at was dependent on a version of SQL Server that wasn’t even supported by Microsoft anymore. That’s a high security risk.

The point I’m making is that without preparation, a company can leave itself vulnerable and would be forced to throw all its resources on a last minute effort to resolve a problem (reference Equifax). In the case of Dilbert & his crew, they were racing against the computer clocks that will set to ’00’ when it turns midnight on the year 2000.

Like any good business plan, placing strategic exits can help when it comes to investing in software & hardware. Planning for lifespans for the investments assist in realistic budgets and can be accounted for financially. You’re also preparing yourself & the company for any security vulnerabilities & have more leverage to manage risk.

Since it is Cyber Security Month, all month long the State of Hawaii and other local organizations are holding workshops throughout the islands. If you are interested, check out the following link:

Have any Legacy Software challenges you want to share? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.