Hard Knocks for Hard Chargers

June 2019 marked a very important milestone in my journey to transition to meaningful work in tech startups (SaaS/Fintech). I made a full shift in my mindset from the involuntary fear that grips me when I feel out of my depth, to the visible confidence of someone who is prepared for the long haul. It took six months, but Edmund is back! Yes – that Edmund.

I’ve heard it said that the best time to look for a job is when you have one. I think that is utter BS, because it assumes you should be constantly hopping from job to job, maintaining a #Busy status so you can have a lifestyle that impresses people that don’t matter. If you have the wherewithal and financial reserves to #SlowDown and #DoNothingOnPurpose, it’s a big advantage. The introspection alone pays in spades.

I’ve been #FillingMyFishBowl (networking) with #EcosystemBuilders, entrepreneurs, and VC pros intent on #CraftingTheFuture because they believe #ThereHasToBeABetterWay. Along the way I’ve built up a lot of insight into the comfort level and grit needed in #StartupLife. The hardest issue with this transition (luxury goods to tech) has been explaining/translating the skills I gained managing a $MM alcohol business to working in a small startup. I’ve learned some amazing things that I wouldn’t have understood if I still had a full time job. Here’s a list…..

TEAMWORK & CULTURE

After working remotely (alone, then in small teams), I’m reminded about how much I enjoy working in collaborative teams, especially where transparency, experimentation, and empathy are a part of the #culture. I still enjoy remote work because technology allows us to be just as productive working from a couch – even if your computer is taken over by a Bullmastiff and Maine Coon, who prefer you idle.

What would it take to give this up for an open office plan with foosball and snacks? Alot!

HAVE PRIORITIES – FIND YOUR TRIBE

To everything, there is a season – friends, mentors, and even jobs. I never even thought I would ever I quit my last #TourOfDuty, but the universe used some special people, a medical miracle, and the USCIS to send me a profound message: “It’s been a great run Edmund, but you need to #FindYourTribe”. It was very gutsy to quit (some say risky and stupid) in order to #DoThingsThatMatter. It was also scary, but I’ve always been risk-taker who cuts his own path. Honestly, I have no regrets, and if I had a #DoOver, I wouldn’t change a thing. Today, that decision is paying great dividends. In your attempt to #FindYourTribe, you’ve got to be honest in #DefiningYourPriorities and the features of your ideal life (work culture, space, coworkers, etc). You’ve also got to be honestly thankful for the good and bad experiences you had along the way. They all have lessons to impart, but you’ll only learn the lesson when you are truly ready. 

SELF-AWARENESS + HIGHEST AND BEST USE

Self-awareness is the ultimate prophylactic (@ScottGalloway’s favorite word next to WOOF and BOOM) in a world that is constantly changing and bombarding you with excessive stimuli. Change is especially good when you know its always a few steps away, even if you are not totally ready for it. If you know who you are, you will rise to the occasion with your highest and best use (skills optimization). In my time off, I was able to break my skull open and pour all my wisdom and experience in a proverbial glass. That was a tall glass of water. I devised an acronym that summarizes my life strategy – #FAIL. FAIL is an acronym for #FillTheGap, #AlwaysAddValue, #Intention, and
#LeverageYourHighest&BestUse. So whether you are:

  • An eager MBA, who wants to “Give people access to the best that life has to offer”;
  • A consummate bus. dev. pro looking to work in SaaS/Fintech startups;
  • An aspiring podcaster interested in the stories of female and underrepresented founders; or
  • An investor with dreams of starting a VC firm focused on #BCorps addressing #ExtinctionLevelEvent problems with consideration for #ESG and #SocialImpact, all you have to do is FAIL – as much as you can. Pun intended.

PERSEVERANCE – KEEP PUTTING GAS IN YOUR MENTAL TANK

For the most part, battles are won because one side is technically superior or has a more disciplined approach. However, I think wars are won by teams and people with more #GasInTheTank (grit and determination). Cultivating quality relationships and experiences that give you more situational versatility and mental staying power is the ultimate move to ensure your dreams will be fulfilled. For me, this has translated into a level of comfort with loneliness on the path to success. Whenever it wears me down, I focus on a passage from one of my favorite speeches:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt in “Citizenship In A Republic”; Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

#FringesToTheFront #weekendwisdom #storytellers #growthmindset #LifeIsATeamSport #4thofJuly #WOOF #BOOM

Reflecting on Points in Your Life/Career – 1

Here’s a picture from my first week at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In 2012, I started as an intern. When I left, I ran a sizable piece of the US business driving the most complex markets. I earned a reputation for working in challenging environments turning “deserts into gardens”; and being a gregarious nerd, who always had deep questions.

#FirstWeekOnTheJob

Here is an entry from that first week at LVMH in 2012:

“I started the week with tutorials in business intelligence. I definitely think I will get the hang of this after a few tries generating my own reports. On my first day, I came to work at around 730am or so, but there was no one to let me in the office. I did some walking and then came back at around 8am. I love NY so much. I feel so comfortable that it’s weird. A guy from Facilities let me in the building when he came in. I was sitting outside the main entrance reading one of the NY metro. People here seem very hospitable.”

It’s been a little over five months since I quit working for LVMH. I learned so many valuable lessons there and generated a lot of value. However, I can’t overstate how great life became once I had the courage (and financial cushion) to quit. Realizing when it’s time to move on is a hard thing for a lot of professionals – especially when financial security, lifestyle and status are considered. Luckily for me, lifestyle and status have never been internal drivers for me.

For years, I focused on developing financial security and looking around corners for situations that would let me continue carving my own path. The catalyst for my decision to quit arrived when I prioritized self actualization over pursuing power and influence. There is an immense freedom (and hefty responsibility) in being able to choose where you work, who you work with/for, and what you do.

Curious in 2011 >> Passionate 2012 to 2016 >> Reflective 2019

What was even harder for me, was finding the space to be vulnerable enough to review what had happened over the past seven years; accept my mistakes; and be thankful for the people and circumstances that led me to quit a job I loved. The best advice I can give is keep a diary. It comes in handy when you need the introspection and safe space to #RedesignYourLife. It helps you understand your strengths and challenges -especially when working in startups.

What will I be doing in 2019?

As us usual, I’m always influenced by the current zeitgeist. Today’s inspiration comes from a Vox video attempting to answer the question: Does expensive wine taste better?

I’ve always told my clients that wine is a sensory experience that requires the use of all senses, but I’ve learned that what makes me more successful than my competitors are the stories I tell; and how I empower my clients with enough knowledge to “try something new” the next time they go to the store. That’s an investment that yields infinite returns no matter what products you represent. #AlwaysAddValue

Yes, it is true that awesomely well-trained, data savvy, wine professionals like myself can manipulate clients to buy whatever we want to sell (see the research), but my satisfaction has always come from surprising clients with profound and pleasurable discoveries.

That’s why I love treating curious customers to some of my rarest or more expensive wines in the first meeting. Sometimes, they can’t even afford the wines I present – so why do I take this counterintuitive approach? Well, aside from the fact that it fosters desire, it’s also because what my clients value most – above ownership and consumption – is a journey. So, setting them up with a view of what they “could be” drinking is more important than someone telling them what they “should be” drinking. My clients don’t just want me to help them make memories – they want me to inspire dreams. Doing this the right way always requires more work that most professionals are willing to put in, but it is the most sustainable strategy to truly winning hearts and minds. 

Customers and friends still contact me every time they find something new. The most gratifying aspect of this is that they want me to share their new discoveries with them. I go from being a consultant to a partner. #SoThankful #KnowYourCustomer #KnowYourCompetition.

Here is my recipe for the work I’ll be undertaking in 2019:

  • Take my unique CX approach to #MakingMemories #InspiringDreams; and
  • Marry that with my purpose to “give clients access to the best that life has to offer”; and
  • Add my love of #Datasets and #GeospatialModelling; then
  • Throw in a sprinkle of data science with a dash of #SeeingAroundCorners; and
  • Add a continuous stream of confidence and perseverance.

2018 has already come to an end in some parts of the world and is only a couple hours away from my comfortable perch. I sincerely want to thank every person who has been part of my #Superstory thus far. I am especially thankful for the obstacles I overcame and all the experiences that have led up to this exact moment. Most of all, I am thankful for my wife and family. I couldn’t have made it this far without their support.

In 2019 and beyond, I believe there will be a lot more stories wanting to be told, and more memories to facilitate. I’ll be focused on the consumer frontline – bringing the fringes to the front by empowering makers (a word borrowed from a company I admire) and consumers with the tools to unlock hidden value.

#TurningDesertsIntoGardens

#HappyNewYear

#NextBigThing

#StartedFromTheBottom

#REPOST – #ChampagneCampaign in Knoxville TN

The #ChampagneCampaign tour stopped in Knoxville TN for another pleasurable event hosted by yours truly. Here’s a repost to a gracious article written about the event at The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel.

http://bluestreak.moxleycarmichael.com/2018/02/20/a-very-veuve-venture/

Pam-Kyle-Hagerty_Edmund-Amoye

Claire-offering-taste-768x1024

#REPOST – Yoga, Champagne, and Pleasure

It’s always fun to help discerning clients on their wine journey. It’s all about the pleasure, and memories you make with your #ChampagneChoices.

Here is a repost link to a nice blog post written about a Champagne event I hosted. #ChampagneCampaign

http://www.chattanoogabrunches.com/namaste-bubbly/

Namaste-Bubbly_0909-1024x683

Advice: Don’t Take Things Personal

One Thing#Newsflash: You can’t make all your stakeholders, friends, colleagues (all the people you know or don’t know) happy all the time.

As professionals, we talk a lot about listening and looking at issues from multiple angles. Those are really important lessons that keep coming up in my career, but lately, there’s a bigger lesson I have learned:

Try not to take all that happens to you as a personal indication of your value or potential. 

If you dig deep enough you will be able to connect the dots in your past and realize that everything that happens to you is for your own good. You are exactly where you need to be right now. All the things that have happened to you HAVE HAPPENED. You can’t change the past and you do not know the future – but you have NOW.

What is the next thing you can do to move your goals forward? Have a big dream, but just focus on doing one little thing that gets you closer. Do that one little thing – that if left undone, you would regret not trying at all. Do one little thing for yourself.

#ChooseYourself #WhosLookingOutForYou #IfNotNowWhen

One Thing Well

Study, Reflect, Copy, Express….

It may he hard for anyone to reconcile the context and content of this post with the name of my blog, but sometimes you just have to go with the things that move you.

I’ve written before about my admiration for speeches and writings of certain figures in history. I may never know everything about the people I so admire, but the some of the things they say have had a profound effect on making me a better version of myself.

This speech by Oprah at the 2018 Golden Globes is no exception. It speaks to much of what’s happening in the current zeitgeist, but also addresses many issues we deal with on a personal level. It speaks volumes to me about leadership and speaking truth to power.

I hope it inspires you to be more.

Thanks go to NBC for posting this video to Youtube.