From the get-go, Kim has been more than just the President / Co-founder of g. She is also the "keeper of the brand". That might sound amorphous but the below from Seth Godin nails it. We missed that last year when she was on sabbatical but it's 2014 and she's back! Let the delighting return.
When designing a new product or program, it's pretty clear that a successful organization will invite:
The lawyer, so you don't break any laws.
The CFO, so that you'll understand how much this thing will cost and how well it will pay off.
The CTO/Tech folks, so you'll spec something that can actually be built and will work.
And probably designers, marketers and lobbyists--all the people you need to bring the thing into the world.
But where's the person in charge of magic?
In our quest to get it done, to survive the project, to avoid blame, to figure out a solution, it's magic that gets thrown under the bus every time.
Who is obsessed with creating delight, with building in remarkability, with pushing the envelope (every envelope--money, tech, policy) to get to the point where you've created something that people will be proud of, that will change things for the better, that will make a dent in the universe?
It won't happen on its own. It never does.
I'm not even a lay Catholic but the Pope is making me ask the hard question at the ripe old age of 43: is it time for a conversion? He is a Saint...Meanwhile many of my son Fynn's mates are Bar Mitzvah-ing this year. As a card-carrying atheist and screaming Capitalist he too is faced with a conversion conundrum. Embrace the Jewish faith, get circumsized and enjoy the one-time riches of a Bar Mitzvah...
After a break back in Sydney to get our US work visas renewed over the Christmas / New Year period, Kim and I and the boys are back State side and ready for a big year.
We kicked off yesterday with the team and a reminder of the importance of the Tim Tam slam involving the dipping of the greatest biscuit (cookie) of all time into any hot drink.
A company's culture is made of not just the people but the stories of that culture. Kim reminded the crew of some of the lore here at g as we head out into the new year.
We are a week or so away from a wrapping up a long awaited brand refresh and we are super excited about that. Like our 8 year old son, g is also 8 and like (not-so -little) Harper, we have matured somewhat and we want to show that. It will allow us to connect in new and different ways to our current and new Mums while maintaining what has made g special since we launched in 2005.
Like our little fella growing up, the growing up of a company & brand is not a simple or straight forward task. There are peaks and troughs. Last year we felt both in many, varied ways. How one deals with the troughs determines how high the next peak is and my sense is we are heading onwards and upward in good shape.
At the end of the day, g is still Kim, me, and 20 great people in the US and UK. 2014 will see the passion, drive and energy that has made g the great company it is.
More to come!
As we roll into 2014, here's a great piece describing what it is to be a B Corporation.
The real reason I have been out for 4 months is actually related to a death I have been mourning. It is the death of my beloved Wallabies, Australia's national rugby team. It was once a powerhouse but alas today it is a shadow of its former self. Over-run by Gen Y prima donnas who are more interested in updating their FB feeds and talking about themselves in the third person rather than upholding a 100+ year legacy. Can we have a tattoo-free, smart phone-free policy?
Do I sound like a grumpy old man. Well I am dab nab it. We are now ranked 4th in the world. It could have been 6th if the Argentines had beaten us over the weekend. I have built a pyre and am planning on burning all Wallaby paraphernalia. Kim will quietly rejoice.
In contrast, the South Africans and All Blacks played an absolute cracker of a game this past weekend to decide the Rugby Championship. No other code can match it for physical intensity and cardio-vascular demands. Enjoy:
Kim and the kids are back from 6 months in Tokyo, Thailand, Tanzania and Turkey (yes, it was the 'T" tour). Our 8 year old Harper emerged with a very fun business idea he is developing with Kim. I am not allowed to tell anyone but when I can, I will! Fynn climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and raised $8,000 for Every Mother Counts.
Kim and I have new-found perspective as we individuate away from gDiapers - it has been somewhat obsessive for the past 8 years and that's not been very healthy.
Over the summer, I experimented with a social media-free test (no FB etc. This post will appear on FB but I ain't going over to see it again!) and have found it to be pretty beneficial. It's been interesting seeing more and more research around the obsessive end of social media and the impacts on society as a whole. I loved the idea raised in a NY Times article last week that challenges friends going out to dinner to leave their phones in the middle of the table. The first to capitulate and check their phone picks up the tab. I know more than one person who would be paying plenty of dinner bills. What did we do before smart phones? I look at people in cafes and in cars and observe how much they are tethered. I wrote a bit about it here - the power of "being" rather than "updating". The device can be so helpful but such an intrusion.
Last weekend, I extended my Facebook-free test to include no checking of email. Sunday morning comes and I am under the weather but Harper has an 8am soccer game. It is bucketing rain. We get to the game only to be told it is cancelled. If only I had checked my email! So it is not a case of just shutting it all down. Everything in moderation as my Dad used to say.
As Fynn and Harper start accessing phones I see we need to be more aware. Whatever we do, they do so my little experiment is good for them to watch and learn.
We had a good summer of gTeas both in the US and UK (Video below).
In my last blog, I referred to a great deal of disruptive innovation that was introduced at gDiapers. The results are emerging and I am pleased with it all. It has been challenging at times, not perfect by a longshot but it was very much needed and there are core truths that have emerged. I am excited to share it all when it is fully baked. More soon! A lot more. Soon!
It has been a solid 3 months since I last blogged. The business has been in the midst of a major transformation. It has been exciting, challenging, exhilerating and terrifying professionally and personally at times but it was very needed.
Herewith an update from Kim...
Dear g Mamas and Pappas,
I wanted to write a note to all our amazing gPeeps and fill you in on what I have been up to these past few months. Back in January, Jason made a very difficult decision and he asked me to take a 6 month sabbatical away from gDiapers.
This was hard for him to say. And harder for me to hear. gDiapers is my baby. I could never leave it. But he could see that the years of pressure, lack of sleep, and endless juggling between mum and company president had passed the point of just being unhealthy and were now truly destroying my spirit.
There were many tears from my side, along with feelings of anger, humiliation, and betrayal. Even in the midst of falling apart, it is crazy how hard we hold on to our patterns and illusions.
The week after all this went down, there was a gTea at the office. I sat at home and bawled my eyes out – wishing I could be there. I knew there was no way I could sit in Portland, have Jason go to gHQ everyday, and not be a part of it. It was pure torture. If I was going to find myself and my true spirit, I needed to get out into the world and be far away from all things g.
Before gDiapers, I had spent years travelling around the world in search of adventure and wonder. But the last few years at g, I have been tunnel visioned. Our families always told us how dysfunctional it was that our ENTIRE lives revolved around gD and our boys. But we just laughed and thought “aren’t we lucky to love our work so much!”. It is only now (having been gone a few months) that I can see how toxic it was. As we criss-crossed the country with insane travel schedules, gMums would always say “how do you do it”…and I can honestly say now “I didn’t.” I over rode my body too many times, I ignored my intuition at every turn, and I lost myself in being a mum, a wife, a lover, a friend.
I know I am not the only mother who has done this. I convinced myself it was in the name of love: Love for my family and love for our company. But in losing myself, I wasn’t helping anyone. In fact, the only reason I didn’t run myself into the ground and end up in serious trouble is that my husband (and CEO) loved me enough to make the brave the decision to kick me out.It hurt. But I am grateful.
So what have I been doing all these months? I left Portland in mid February with our two boys, Fynn (the first gBaby who is now 10!) and Harper, 8. Our friend Taylor who has babysat the boys over the years and is a teacher also joined us for our adventure. We hit Japan, then Thailand and are now in Africa.
The days are mixed with deep internal investigation, personal healing, and a whole lot of just ‘being’. I am loving this time with the boys. We have enough laughter and joy to balance out the harder inner work I am wrestling with. There is no going back to the way things were, both at g and with my life. So part of this trip is figuring out what unique gifts I have to share with the world, how to best contribute them, and how I want to run my energy and live my life moving forward. Sounds simple, but I’m astounded at how hard it is :0)
We have been in Arusha in Tanzania for the last two months and are loving it. I lived in Zanzibar (just of the off cost) 20 years ago for a stint and had always planned on bringing the boys back here. I am enjoying the big huge skies, the open plains, the warmth of the people, and the simplicity of living. The best part of being in Africa is that you must live in the moment. It is pointless to plan as the only guarantee is that nothing goes according to plan. So “hakuna mutata” as they say…it really is a catchy phrase.