I do my best to wish every TMC (News - Alert) a team member a happy TMC anniversary. Last week I noticed that it was the anniversary of Nadji Tehrani, the company founder and chairman, my father, and the person who decided to start this company in 1972. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was TMC’s 38-year anniversary.
As I reminisced about the past decades, I thought it would be instructive to go over some of the lessons we have learned and that have kept us alive as markets and industries changed.
The Customer is First
I am thankful that the TMC team has always been the most customer-friendly of any company we compete with based on comments we regularly receive from customers. We are far from perfect and we are constantly trying to improve but, to make it at TMC, you need to put the customer first. Customer should refer to other team-members as well – showing respect, courtesy and care for those people you work with and our end customers is what has allowed us to survive and thrive.
Take Nothing for Granted
The list of competitors TMC has had these past decades is incredible. Often, we competed against companies considered impervious to competition. In the 1990s, we had a competitor with a massive trade show in Los Angeles, with which companies in the industry told me we could never compete.
At the beginning of this decade there was a very large trade show which we were told we could never compete with. Both of those shows are now gone as are COMDEX, Supercomm, CEBIT America, and dozens of others.
If you are on top today – consider yourself lucky – it is not a right or a gift. A new technology will wipe you out overnight if you are not aware of the changing business landscape.
Fourteen years ago, a competitor told me, “We know there is no way TMC can compete with us because they are too slow.” “S**t, he was right,” I thought. I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I came up with ways of transforming our company into not only a faster one, but the fastest. Within the next few years, we performed a slew of market-changing announcements and strategies that I found out later left our competition in the dust.
At one point in our past, we were alerted to the fact that a competitor was going to launch a new product, which we, too, were about to launch. We further knew we had a few weeks to saturate the universe with our product and message because the decision-maker for the opposing company decided to take two weeks off. When that individual returned, the decision was made that they were too late, and they cancelled their product launch shortly thereafter.
If you aren’t failing regularly, you are doing something very wrong. Launch, launch, launch and learn from your mistakes and be quick to change strategy. Streamline the launch process, so it costs as little as possible. Use brand extensions to test new techniques and business models. Yes, use your core and successful businesses to test new ideas and concepts. The world is filled with opportunity and the only way to know you are taking advantage of them is a track record of not only successes, but failures that can lead to other successes.
If you don’t have passion for what you do, why do it? Life is too short. Technology has changed the way our business works, and with the advent of the Web, the best content is spread quickly and virally. The Internet allows us to entertain the most innate passion in all of us – the need for recognition and positive reinforcement.
Every year, I find myself working harder and the companies that don’t keep up are generally liquidated and employees left scrambling looking for new jobs with little notice. Obviously, hard work alone won’t cut it – you can row as hard as you like but if your rudder is not pointing in the right direction, you are destined to crash and sink. Be sure your company is doing all of the above and, if needed, be the change agent to make these ideas a reality. If you do, you will likely be rewarded. If not, perhaps you are on the wrong boat - I mean team.
I asked our founder Nadji why he started this company and he went over the last 35-plus years in a few minutes. Perhaps the quote that moved me most was, “We wanted to be first and better than anybody else.”
Quite often, passion and enthusiasm disseminated from the top is the equivalent of hitting a tuning fork hard on a desk. Just as the vibrations feel as if they are more powerful as they descend down the fork, passion and enthusiasm spread throughout an organization can be even more powerful than the initial jolt of energy a company’s founder injects into a team.
A passion for serving our customers well, being accessible, listening to constructive criticism and treating each other with courtesy and respect are a few of the reasons I believe we have made it through countless wars, bubbles and other business challenges.
On that note, thanks to the TMC readers, sponsors, advertisers, partners, conference attendees, vendors and team members who have helped us achieve this milestone. CIS
Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO (News - Alert)). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.