Big Omaha – Keep Business Flexible

The biggest takeaway that I had from the Big Omaha Conference was to keep your business flexible regardless of pressure to bureaucratize, measure, and manage every detail.  Having a vision is a positive way to know you’re making progress and working to a common end, but having a “plan” as used by Jason Fried, implies that you have left yourself no room to be flexible.

The best information you will have is the information available right now and for that reason, a discussed and written plan is always out of date.  If you must have a detailed plan, give yourself the freedom to deviate and create as inspiration is fleeting and must be acted upon quickly.  Don’t let the plan stop you from responding to inspiration.

For instance, a plan that involves long-term commitments to newspaper advertising might best be changed in light of current problems in that industry.  A plan to mow your grass gets changed on a rainy day.  No matter what the original idea, being adaptable is the name of the game and that is where David gets his advantage over Goliath.

There are many others who have been inspired by the Big Omaha Conference and I would like to recap some of their thoughts as well:

George Brooks’ seems surprised that the trip from Kansas City to Omaha was overwhelmingly worthwhile.  It’s cool to see an event like this exceeding expectations across the board.

Chris Rikli was inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s passion for people and business and the possibilities of development with YQL (Yahoo Query Language) and impressed by the organization, planning and venue.

Jeff Slobotski reflects on how a humble idea only a few months ago turned into an overwhelming hit with the community and a showcase for the creative and innovative atmosphere that is present in Omaha.

John Meyer recaps the conference and his experience after asking Gary if Wine Library was hiring.

Jenn Bailey recaps some of the best quotes and moments from the speakers at the conference.

Jason Fried took note of Jeffrey’s message about being sincere and accessible.  If you are transparent to your community, you can make big mistakes and be forgiven when you apologize.

Micah Laaker talks up Omaha and how it has been a great place to be, but is now getting some of the recognition it deserves.

Jolie O’Dell gives a very nice conference wrap up.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of what has been written in the wake of the event, but it makes up a good sample of what Big Omaha has meant to participants and oberveres.

When the Job door shuts, the Entrepreneur window opens

Massive job losses are gloom and doom in the news.  Sad children and distraught parents are caught on camera to tug at your heartstrings, enhancing an agenda for more social safety nets.  What you don’t see are the people that instead of moping, head home pissed off, because they know that they have desirable ideas and skills that their former employer failed to see.

Many have been weaned from the corporate teat, and not all will suckle from it again.  They will taste the freedom of working for themselves and never return to build profits for another, but will take their own market share and build their own business instead.

With the proliferation of general purpose technologies, such as the personal computer, the opportunities for innovation abound, and doing so becomes increasingly cheaper.  The abundance of cheap technology in America would make possible the “Free Agent Nation” that Daniel Pink writes about.

In addition to the abundance of general purpose technologies, new networking and communication tools are being developed every day to help us connect with one another and effectively self-promote (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc).  Also, deflation has made many things cheaper, so now is a great time to start new ventures.

If a consultant or firm can weather the current storm and come out successful and independent, the prospects for the future are bright.  Also as a free agent it is easier to recover from the loss of a contract or two than it is for an employee to recover from the loss of a job that was his/her only source of income.

America is not driven by high grades (like the Japanese) and overarching job security (like the French) but by individual motivation and innovation!  A few job losses might help us remember this and stir the pot of innovation!