Monday, January 07, 2008

On Making Decisions

Perhaps I made a mistake on VONAGE. Perhaps. Only when I Look back 21 months later, with the benefit of hindsight, am I not so sure that I would use this company again. But then again, 21 months ago I was in a bind and VONAGE was the perfect solution at the time. I had just left my old group and I wanted to capitalize on retaining any former patients of mine into my new, fledgling practice. I had no office and was unsure how long it would take me to get an office. Every day that I went without an office was lost money and missed opportunities. I was desperate to get new patients and was unwilling to miss a single one. With VONAGE, I was able to set up shop in my home and function as a business well before I had an office or an exam room or a staff. For me, back then, VONAGE was a key ingredient in my early success.

Some say that VOIP is not reliable for mission critical functions related to business. I disagree. Many businesses use this technology and it works very well. I have friends in the financial service industries—on Wall Street—whose firms have switched to VOIP. What is more mission critical than high finance? The problem has not been VOIP, but customer service at VONAGE. Their technology is fine. It is their service that fails.

It is very easy for people to criticize and second guess the decisions of others. It happens every day. What the critics fail to realize is that we make decisions with the circumstances and the best available information at the time, not years later. I believe the ability to have vision and then use it to analyze a situation, cull the data, and be decisive given incomplete information is what separates successful doctors, lawyers, politicians, and police officers, among others, from unsuccessful ones. Teddy Roosevelt understood this:

"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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Critics will always be out there in the ether doing what they do. My advice to another person who finds themselves solo and unsure of what to do: analyze and think, but don't be afraid to make the hard decisions. And to hell with the critics!

Thanks for listening,

The IU.