It’s not so much a specific date, but is the third and fourth quarter of 2008.
I actually can pin it to a week since I was on vacation in Hawaii that September and read USA Today’s story about the collapse of AIG, the loss of 60 percent of their market share in one day and their takeover by the government. I didn’t know much about them at that time, other than they were huge and this was a Big Deal. There were already ominous writings on the wall as foreclosures which had been missing for many years were starting to erupt, banks and financial institutions were already under scrutiny and the Sub Prime debate was a hot topic. The Feds talking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the week before, which some thought was over-kill, started a domino falling that continued to fall for years.
When Mr. Obama asked the question “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?,” it’s hard for people to answer that appropriately. In 2007 we were generally happy as pigs, but what a difference a year made.
So why is this important to write about?
Since we are into a New Year and many claim the Recession is over and we are on our way to Recovery, it’s appropriate to study the past, not get caught up in over optimism and really learn from our mistakes. As much as the positive signs are there, unemployment is down, consumer confidence is up, and home prices are up (and projected to grow significantly this year), the question is “What are you doing differently?”
In Q3 of 2008 my entire 30 year career evaporated and I had to reinvent myself and have continued that process ever since. At my company, Opis Network, we are doing likewise and always looking to where the market is going rather than where it’s been.
Some things you can count on from here on:
- There are no rules. I have shared with many, that if you are using a rule book from pre-2008, you can burn it in the fireplace
- If you are thinking that things will go back to the good old times of easy money, and rampant and indiscriminate spending, forget about that as well, at least for now.
- Social media is not going away and will only become more significant and important in our personal lives, but especially in our business lives. If you have a business or are self-employed, social media is a necessity, not an option.
- Technology advances are not slowing down. “Moore’s Law” about processing speed doubling every 18 month may not hold true as it once did, but considering the short time period of cell phones being part of our lives, Smart Phones will only get smarter, smaller and more significant.
New years bring new resolutions and commitments so take a good look at what you have learned over the past four years and apply those lessons to be smarter and more productive in 2013.