10:22 AM

5yrs: Lessons And Insights: Wish Everyone Well . . .

[This is a series of articles marking my 5 year anniversary of leaving the Financial Times to become the first professional journalist/blogger.]

When I left the Financial Times in late May 2004, I took a couple of months off. I had lunches, dinners, and drinks with lots of people during that summer.

They would ask me what I was up to. And I would explain. Except that it would take me half-an-hour to explain what I was going to be doing. And to be frank, after half-an-hour they were confused about what I was going to be doing, and so was I.

I would say I want to do this, that, and also this. But not like that, what these people are doing, but more like this, that, and so on. A long list of things (I will spare you the details.) It was confusing.

It took me most of the summer to boil it down to this: Silicon Valley Watcher is an online news site about the business and culture of innovation. Simple and clear.

And this is something that other people and companies need. A simple and clear message.

I meet a lot of companies and very few of them can simply say what they do. And this is a problem. If you don't have a simple and clear message you will confuse others and confuse yourself (and your colleagues.)

Also, I meet a lot of companies and they will tell me more about their competitors than they will about themselves. By the end of the meeting I know more about all these other companies, (and how messed up they are) than I know about them.

My feedback is always the same: If you are right about your competition then the market will take care of them, they will go out of business. Wish everyone well and get on with what's on your plate.

- - -

Please see:

5yrs: Lessons and Insights -

Part 1: Why I left the Financial Times

Part 2: Where's the disruption from the Internet?

Part 3: Meeting Cisco's Dan Scheinman and realizing every company is now a media company