Here we are at the end of the year, and the end of our decade, whatever it will be called... The "Naughts", "Oh Oh's", "Zeros" or maybe just the decade of disillusionment and disaster. Think about it, we started with the bullshit "Y2K" end of the world scam to sell batteries and bottled water, and that whole non-event was quickly followed by the "Dot Com Meltdown", with the shock of 9/11 shortly after... Does anyone remember dealers asking if the Internet was going away during the Dot Com Meltdowns on Wall Street? Of course, the rest of the decade was a series of weirdness and too good to be true crap like "flipping houses" which I got to see in a big way arriving in Phoenix during the peak of it in 2005... I remember thinking how it all had to implode at any moment... Which we saw happen with the "Economic Meltdown" that began to unfurl in 2007 and fully hit all of us in the second half of 2008... So, now we end the year with unemployment at between 10% and 18% depending on how you measure it (see current Time magazine)...
Yet, I can honestly say that like it did in the 80's and 90's the car business has been very, very good to me, my family, sisters, children, cousins, nephews and nieces, etc. And, when I look back and reflect on the decisions I have made along the way that have worked out well, along with those that come under the category of "What the hell was I thinking?", there is one action that I am very, very grateful for and which the upside has been about a thousand times or more greater than the negative outcomes experienced. I am referring to the ADM Professional Community. What a cool thing this experiment has turned into, and the friends and business associates I have come to know as a result of this online social/professional/community thing we call ADM have become amongst my favorite things about the car business in general. The sincere camaraderie many of us have experienced, the lengthy phone calls I have had with ADM Members while waiting in airports for delayed flights, the professional assistance received and given, the business referrals and collaborations... Seeing people at various conferences and conventions that we only recognize because of their ADM profile photo... All that stuff. My experience with this ADM thing has been one of the solidly good outcomes of a decade that has been a bit stingy on the good outcomes generated.
For reasons I cannot quite capture into words right at this moment, I know that for most of us who are recognizable by our participation in ADM to any degree, we will have more opportunities to experience success in our endeavors during this next decade than just about any other sector in the auto industry. Just like it has been a prime reason for the ADM Community taking on a life of its own, the phenomenon we call Social Media is going to drive every automotive professional towards FINALLY accepting the Internet as an integral part of doing business in the auto industry, and no longer just some pain in the ass thing we have to throw somebody at because the car company says so...That's why anyone reading this blog post is going to have a good year and an even greater decade. Because if you are reading this, we both know that you "get it", whatever "getting it" actually means (if you know, please let me in on the insight).
So I say to you and those you are responsible to provide for... Have faith, do not be afraid of confidence and the knowledge that you provide value far greater than what you take from your dealership or employer. Go into 2010 and the coming decade committed to your craft and the willingness to learn and adapt that digital marketing has instilled in all of us. Welcome those new believers and practitioners who show up and struggle to learn the wisdom and skills that you have acquired in the past, and take for granted in the present. Do not hesitate to assist those who come into our craft behind you so they may acquire their skills and knowledge much faster than doing it the way we did... The hard way, through trial and error. You will become happier, more self actualized and successful in your own right as a result of helping those that come after you. Eventually, your commitment to yourself and those that apprentice with you will reveal itself as the part of your career you cherish the most. Beyond the W2's, 1099's, award plaques and certificates, it will be the people who you have helped acquire a craft that provides a livelihood for them and their families that will bring you the greatest sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with your profession.
All my best to each of you, and let's make 2010 the first year of a decade that brings success and fulfillment to every member of this community!