Continuing the series of entrepreneurs sharing their thoughts on personal questions about how they build the person that builds their business. Mike Landman is the founder of Ripple IT and believes that freedom unleashes the best work and the best life. He also makes my “best dressed Entrepreneurs list.” (I just made the list up so I could put Mike on the top of it.)
What do you do as an entrepreneur to balance your most important personal relationships (spouse, kids, family)?
I do the same thing I think others should be able to do. I let my work and my life blend as needed. The nice thing entrepreneurs get free with the job description is that they have complete freedom to balance their life as they see fit. Usually work is more fullfilling than watching reruns. One of my missions is to make sure everyone gets to make the same choices whether they start a company or work for one.
What is your exercise routine?
When my schedule is humming I work out 3-4x a week. When other things get in the way, sometime I don’t work out for a week.
What gives you the most personal energy?
Thinking out loud. Either with people or alone. One of the things I have to be cognizant of is that I will sometimes seem like I am passionately advocating an idea, but in fact I’m just thinking it through (aloud). If people aren’t aware of that, they can be left with the impression that I’m making my case for it. That’s confusing when 10 minutes later I’m making a very different argument.
What do you avoid because it drains your personal energy?
I avoid the telephone and voicemail. I avoid low-importance conflict. Sitting in one place. Cable news. Bad coffee.
How are you involved in the community?
I am most active in entrepreneur-oriented activities. There’s an awesome myth that surrounds entrepreneurs – that we know what we are doing. But most of us really don’t. There’s nowhere to learn something you’re personally making up, other than counsel from other people who made stuff up. So I have been involved with leadership in EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) since 2007. Most recently as President of the Atlanta chapter, which was a great honor. But the role I’m most proud of in EO was launching the Accelerator program which is designed to help first-stage entrepreneurs get their businesses to $1M while still being awesome people. I am very pleased with the success we’ve had for 5 years.
Are you involved in a church or other religious organization? How do you think spirituality is important to your entrepreneurial success?
I am not religious. I believe that people doing the right thing is the morality we’re all striving for. I try to do the right thing.
What are your most proud moments regarding your own legacy?
I don’t have a legacy yet, but I’m starting to think that ultimately I will have had some impact in the ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) revolution. That my influence has touched and will continue to touch companies and inspire them to trust their employees and grant them the same freedoms and responsibilities that entrepreneurs get by virtue of their job title.
How do you find ways to help others and give back?
Most directly I give back by running a ROWE. Being a ROWE has allowed me to help people carve out the freedom in their lives to never miss their daughter’s recital, or their son’s soccer games. Two Ripplers have toured with bands for weeks while still getting their jobs done. Another was able to adopt a child from out of state because of ROWE, and nearly all of us have been able to attend to medical care for ourselves or family members that would have been impossible or very challenging in a traditional work environment.
Ripple are also new partners in On The House which is a great probono program started by the folks at Matchstic. Every year On The House chooses one charity or not-for-profit in need, and delivers a full suite of services from rebranding to IT consulting to app development. It’s an amazing overhaul for one organization in need, every year.
Do you have written personal core values, what are they?
I have mostly adopted the Ripple Core Values. Our mantra is Humans First, and our values are:
- Enduring (relationships)
- Style in all we do
We call them REFOS
Do you have a personal mastermind group? Can you describe how they give you energy?
I have my EO Forum. Having a place of trust with 6 people that I know have my interests at heart to go to 1/2 day a month is great energy.
What competitive advantages do you have as an individual that has made / will make you more successful than the guy you are competing against in business?
I learned when I played tennis that in my DNA I’m never really competing against anyone else, but that I compete against myself. I didn’t know what that meant (except that tennis had made me crazy) until Jeff Bezos said, and I’m paraphrasing, that “you can either be competitor-focused or customer-focused.” But not both. I’m customer-focused.
I think there are qualities as an individual that have helped me; I’m nice, I like helping people, I don’t take myself too seriously, and I like to help people make connections and be successful. I think it rarely has to be a zero-sum game.