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5 not out

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So a big week for me and for the lang cat, although there’s no time to stop and reflect. Yes, this is one of those self-indulgent milestone blogs. Feel free to stop reading.

It’s five years ago this week that I left corporate life and started out on what would become the lang cat. With no kind of money, an additional lang kitten on the way and literally no clue what was going to happen, it was without doubt the scariest time of my life, except when I went on the waltzers. I hate waltzers.

I was lucky to have some very enlightened and trusting early clients – step forward Paul Goodwin and Anthony Rafferty of Aviva (at the time at least), Neil Lovatt of Scottish Friendly and Dave Ferguson of Nucleus. That gave me a start, and got me out of the spare room and into an office cupboard with no windows which was christened ‘the gimp cave’. Days of thunder, I tell you.

Spool forward 5 years and things couldn’t be more different. There are 10 lang cats with two based in a mythical place called England, we work with clients in Ireland, Australia and the USA, and the business now has two specialisms – the consultancy that I kicked off and a burgeoning strategic comms and PR business. “Look, Mum! What’s that business doing?” “Shhh, Timmy, it’s burgeoning. Don’t disturb it.”

Here’s 5 things I learned so far:

  1. People generally want you to do well. Let them, and take the help when it’s there, whatever form it’s in.
  2. Try not to be a prick. When you fail at that, say ‘I’ve been a bit of a prick’.
  3. Hire smart people and don’t forget the fact they could almost certainly get better jobs elsewhere.
  4. Make it about the work. When people ape your stuff, be flattered not cross.
  5. When you’re tired, and you will be if you do something like this, remember what got you going near the start and do what you need to do to get that feeling back.

I’ve said this before, but the lang cat started out as a howl against all sorts of things. We’ve changed and got bigger, but we’re still howling, and we’re not going to stop.

So a glass is raised to everyone we’ve worked for, everyone who’s bought our stuff, and everyone who’s made the jump and come to work here.

As I wrote at the end of our first year: cheers, skol, merci, takk, asante sana. Alla you.

Here’s to the next five years.

Mark

 

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About Mark Polson

lang cat founder and boss. Expert on all things platforms, pensions and investments. Prolific writer and public speaker, even when people ask him not to be. Knows more about Scandinavian black metal than you, and isn't afraid to prove it.