July 2, 2018

I Am Shaun

Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.”

There has really only been one thing I’ve consistently been good at and been able to count on over the last 6+ years with what eventually became Fly View Aerial: my ability to make mistakes. I would go so far as to say I’m quite proficient in that regard. When you start a business you wear a plethora of hats and it becomes so easy to hover in a perpetual state of mediocrity as it is challenging to focus your energy and time on what you’re really good at. Being in a technology driven industry, it’s such a pull to feel the need to constantly invest into gear and technological advancements. Cameras, gimbals, drones, etc. The industry has moved at a Usain Bolt during the olympics like speed the last five years and it makes you feel dizzy and like if you don’t keep up (which to an extent is the case in some regards), you’ll be left behind forever.

Have you ever had someone say to you: “I wish I knew then what I know now!”…?

If there’s one thing I wish I would have been more intentional about after getting my degree and starting a business, it would have been to read and educate myself more from a wide spectrum of people across many industries about the psychology behind business and success and what are recurring traits you’ll find. One of my favorite books from 2016 so far is ‘Good to Great’ by James Collins.  In it he talks about, historically, some of the greatest business leaders and minds the world has ever seen. Some names you’d know, others you unquestionably wouldn’t. One of the biggest takeaways I took from the book was how every single one of these leaders emphasized and prioritized PEOPLE. While competitors experienced short term revenue spikes and times of success that wasn’t sustained, the great leaders methodically and meticulously created a culture of success that sustained 15+ years of massive and unprecedented growth with them at the helm. It wasn’t because any of them knew a secret recipe for success, they simply believed and trusted in the notion that putting the right people in the correct seats was more important than any products they could buy, mergers they could seek, or strategical chess-like moves they could make.

“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman.

For all of my many flaws, one of the smartest decisions I’ve made for the aerial side of my business was giving more responsibility to Shaun Wilkens. Our growth and success with aerial operations has been a direct result of Shaun’s ability to adapt and be proactive about learning and becoming better at his craft while seeking more responsibility. My mom used to tell me in every job I ever held to make my self indispensable and find ways to make everyones else’s lives I was working with easier. This is an uncommon trait and extremely hard to find in others. It is next to impossible to find someone that will care about your own business and invest in it like you do. Shaun has truly made himself indispensable, and for that there isn’t a blog that I could write that would be long enough to express my gratitude.

Success, no matter what that word means to you, is a direct by-product of those that have helped you in your journey. It’s my hope that I never forget to acknowledge those that are instrumental in pushing me and helping me grow as not only a businessman but also as a person.

“Having gratitude without expressing gratefulness is like buying someone a present, wrapping it, and sticking it in your closet.” – Unknown.

Here’s to never sticking my gratitude for you, Shaun, in a closet. Thank you for all you do and being who you are. You are valued!