Celebrate the Journey
(originally published on November 17, 2009 and then republished on October 6,2012 when Steve was leading FG SQUARED, the parent company to the orignal GoLab Austin coworkspace)
Eighteen years ago FG SQUARED opened its doors as Fellman and Gum Enterprises, a technology consultancy company co-founded to subsidize creating the prototype Easy Beader, an automated necklace beading machine. As we soon found out, it was much more lucrative to “ride the big wave” into the executive suites of global enterprises that were trying to harness the power of the web and digital media.
How far we’ve come.
Back then, the big wave was the Internet, a fairly nascent commercial technology and an exciting frontier to explore. Netscape Navigator 1.0 was the dominant web browser, Forrest Gump and The Lion King led the box office, OJ Simpson was the big-ticket news story, and three UT students co-founded FG SQUARED.
We’ve been through the wringer from those first forays into the business world to where we are now as a leading-edge social business agency. What a long, strange road it’s been.
The one constant throughout the years has been how much we’ve changed. From bartering our Local Area Networking skills for office space in our first location to working on the cutting-edge of 3D technology to exploring the possibilities of enterprise social media, we’ve had to adopt new technologies and adapt to our environment to survive. Being open to change is entirely familiar in the innovator’s world, since maintaining the leading edge means having the courage to embrace and adopt the unfamiliar as a matter of course.
As I look ahead at all the possibilities and new and unfamiliar technology before me, I constantly remind myself and others to embrace change. It’s easy to be afraid of the unfamiliar, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that giving in to fear can be paralyzing. As John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” Accept both the fear of failure and the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies change, and move forward despite them. Once you have done this, you will probably look back and wonder what you were afraid of in the first place.
I’m not saying the road has been particularly smooth for FG SQUARED, but that was never my expectation as a true pioneer in the Internet era. I decided long ago to take a longer, more high-level view of things and stop along the way to savor the journey with my family and closest friends. While it’s important to have goals and to strive to achieve them, the journey itself is what gives achieving those goals depth and meaning.
Eighteen years have wrought changes in both my personal life and the life of FG SQUARED, and I am still crazy about what we do at FG SQUARED and the relationships we forge together. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be completed if we are going to maximize the positive impact we can have on the world, and I look forward to forging the road ahead for the next eighteen years.
Ready, set, go!