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Dec 6
Leadership is Measured by Followership

I think that one measure of leadership is not the success of the leader but the success of those that were led.  One of the highlights of my career has been towater rings ripple rub shoulders and work alongside not only talented people but people of character and integrity.  It is amazing how a network organically expands and touches more lives as it enlarges.

In 1998, I met Tim Stay, my business partner and co-founder at Know More Media.  As we have shared on this blog, we successfully built and sold a company called NorthSky (freeservers.com).  Our team was generally comprised of young, hungry web addicts.  Many were still in college at the time. All were super talented. None seemed to care that we officed in the back room of a former disco.  Few could see the vision of what the company would become or what they would do personally.  We learned from them.  They learned from us.  Respect was mutual.

Since the sale of the company to About.com near the end of 1999, many from this team have parlayed that experience to greater heights.

Let me just toot their horn for them a little. 

BlueHost. A handful of our original programmers ended up at this hosting company that is defining itself as a leader in the industry. They are not just mid-level employees but managing most of the day-today operational details of the company.  These guys stayed the course for several years at our original company as it was bought by About.com (now owned by The New York Times Company (NYT)) which itself was bought by Primedia Inc (PRM) who then sold our little start-up to United Online, Inc. (UNTD) who owns Juno and Netzero.  Athost-monser-logo2.jpg BlueHost and its sister site, Host Monster, you can get reliable web hosting bandwidth (999 GB) and disk storage (50GB) for less than $5 a month.  It is amazing the power that is available today on the web compared to just six years ago. Nice job Dan, Paul and Rob. I am a customer.

InfusionSoft. Three more of my former team are leading InfusionSoft.  The firstinfusionSoft CRM Small business Software guy I hired at NorthSky was Clate Mask, InfusionSoft ‘s co-founder and CEO.  Clate was less than a year from becoming a securities lawyer way back when I first met him. InfusionSoft creates online tools that manage the entire sales process including lead generation, order processing and collecting the cash. Most small businesses can’t afford or use the features of large Customer Relationship Management “CRM” systems.  InfusionSoft’s product combines the best of CRM and prices it for the millions of small businesses out there.  With so many small businesses going online, there is a definite market need for InfusionSoft’s ability to enable small businesses to automate and improve their sales, marketing and customer management.  I plan on listnening in on a  free CRM telelseminar next week. I plan to be a customer. Congrats to Clate, Dave and Eric.

Two of our senior team left the online world to go industrial and to be the boss.  Go figure, each was in marketing, extremely talented and now count themselvesFlexi-Liner Tank Liners as small-business owners.  Tait Eyre is the owner and operator of Flexi-Liner Corporation, a provider of high-performance, corrosion-resistant industrial tank liners.  I guess the chemistry degree paid off. 

Richard DiForio is putting custom metal roofs on homes and cabins in theTaylor Metal Roofs northwest.  As co-owner of Taylor Metal, he is running his own business by providing a variety of metal roofing products for residential and commercial applications.  Keep it up boys.

As they have all gone their separate ways, I hope that the culture and character of our business helped them form a foundation for their careers.  I know that I value the mark they left on me.  The sum of their enthusiasm, genius, work ethic, commitment and character made the experience memorable for me.  Thanks to all of  the employees at  NorthSky.  I wll keep looking for you in the news!




1 Comments/Trackbacks

» Do What I Do, Say What I Say, Lead Like I Lead from LeaderNotes
The mark of a great leader is in the followers that he or she has behind them. I have had my fair share of following great, powerful leaders as well as following questionably weak ones. Although my experiences were memorable with... [Read More]

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