As the year comes to an end, I always enjoy reflecting back on what I learned and experienced. I am a big fan of continuous learning, and this reflection helps remind me of the new things I learned as well as things I may have forgotten.

10. Be kind - I meet lots of people in my current role. It is still amazing to see the difference between someone who is genuinely kind and respectful, and those who have their own agenda and are rude. As Chick-fil-A has proven, being kind makes a huge difference!

9. Beware of buzzwords - While your business may involve AI/ML/Crypto/Blockchain/(insert buzzword), be sure you can articulate how you effectively use those technologies to solve a problem.

8. Pay it forward - I enjoy helping others and am proud of how Atlanta Ventures is able to help entrepreneurs through our Simply SaaS community events and content.

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7. Read - There is so much great content out there today. I’ve enjoyed reading my daily go-to writers as well as several books. A few of my favorite read/re-reads this year were: Fred Wilson’s blog; How to Win Friends and Influence People (a classic re-read); The Mom Test; Why We Sleep.

6. Know your pitch - There are so many chance encounters where you get a quick opportunity to pitch yourself. Practice, practice, practice and be prepared so you can deliver it on-demand with perfection.

5. Focus on the problem - When you are starting an idea, be sure you do effective customer discovery to understand you are solving a must have/mission critical problem. Be careful to not get enamored with how technically “cool” your solution is.

4. Have perspective - The entrepreneurial journey is a roller coaster. Remember that when things go well, they are never as good as they seem … and conversely when things go bad, they are never as bad as they seem. Both will happen!

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3. Spend time with customers - There is often the tendency to want to solve problems by building more product features. Nothing replaces being out in front of customers for discovery, sales, upsell, retention, etc. That live feedback on their problems, workflow, and the market are critical to understanding how to deliver value and building great relationships.

2. Surround yourself with great people - Being around great people is not only fun, it helps challenge you to be better, accelerates your learning, and allows you to accomplish great things. Find great employees, mentors, advisors, etc. to be around you.

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1. Faith & Family - at the end of the day, work is just one part of your life. Be sure to spend time with those that matter most to you and be thankful for your blessings.

Cheers to a blessing-filled 2018 and an even more fruitful 2019.

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