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Four things we shouldn’t be thankful for… but are

I published this post about what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving of last year, and it’s remarkable how consistent and true these four things still are today. I thought it worth the re-post, so enjoy! And enjoy Thanksgiving with your family and friends — we can’t wait to see you on the other side!

For many people, Thanksgiving is an invaluable opportunity to reflect, relax, recharge and reconnect with family and friends over a shared meal and long weekend. For others, it’s an anxiety-inducing ticking time bomb of drama, drinking and emotionally damaging discussions. Our lived experiences for this holiday are as varied as the individuals and families that make up this great country. But one thing I’m always reminded of during these times is that no matter what — and I know this will sound cliché, but bear with me — there is always something to be thankful for. So to pay homage to that sentiment, and to show how much we actually believe in it, here are four things we at ENO8 are thankful for this year, even though we’re supposed to hate them:

  1.  Unfamiliar technology & ‘wasted’ effort
  2.  Bugs
  3.  Difficult clients
  4.  Overtime

1) Unfamiliar technology & ‘wasted’ effort

At ENO8, we pride ourselves in our knowledge of and experience working with innovative technologies to construct custom software solutions; from machine learning to voice-based interfaces, from Watson-integration to Alexa skills, we make it our business to know what’s new and what’s next. But more than just knowing about something, we have to figure out whether or not that something will be useful in an enterprise setting and then how to integrate it if it will be.

That makes for a lot of wasted effort.

We research everything, tinker with new technologies and methodologies, only to often make a determination that they’re not that useful, important, or cost effective. Many businesses would cringe at the perceived wasted effort, but we see it not as a waste but rather as an educational investment. Much as college can be very expensive but sets you up for much higher lifetime earning potential, we see research and development as an investment in innovation — the only way we can harness the newest and best technologies is to understand them deeply, and that takes time and commitment. So while we hate waste, we love the opportunity to learn, grow and bring that knowledge to our future projects.

2) Bugs

Nothing will foul up a project or client relationship quite as quickly as pervasive or persistent bugs. Debugging code can be one of the more monotonous aspects of software development while demanding massive amounts of time and resources to perform. It is neither glamorous nor fun for your developer staff, is costly for project managers and can be embarrassing for the entire team. So why in the heck are we thankful for them?

Every bug is an opportunity in disguise.

Every line of code we write is an opportunity to learn more, to solve more, to empower our clients more — in short, to be better. Every bug we eliminate is one less thing our clients have to worry about. It’s one more mistake we’re less likely to make in the future. It’s another milestone in each developers education, a roadblock they’re not going to stumble on again.

Of course we hate bugs — we strive for bug free deliverables every single time out. But, without failures, you can never learn. That’s the way it’s always been — past failure is the price of present/future success. Every bug we eliminate is the investment we make today for a greater and greater payoff in the future.

3) Difficult clients

No matter what industry you’re in, you know the headache difficult clients can be. They’re taxing on your psyche, demand more attention and care than they probably deserve, drain your mental capital and often leave you in a foul mood after working with them. The more high-maintenance the client, the worse they leave can leave you feeling.

And we love ‘em. Truly.

First of all, we’re thankful for every one of our clients because they keep us in business. Without clients bringing us their problems to solve, we don’t have a company. We love working through those problems because it brings out the best in us — the harder the problem, the more satisfying the solution.

The same is true for our client interactions. High maintenance or difficult clients demand the most out of us, and that gives us the opportunity to not only raise our already high bars, but to exceed them. The tougher the client is on us the more opportunities we have to raise our game; it’s a chance to prove to an outside partner that we really do hold ourselves to a higher standard. We know when going back to that partner with anything, they’re going to pick it apart and try to find faults in whatever we’ve done — fantastic. That forces our staff to be on the very tops of their games; we have to predict, preempt and prevent that client from being able to find any faults because we’ve already thought about them and solved them.

Yes, difficult clients can be a pain, but they’re also the ones that force you to be the best version of yourself — that’s why we love them.

4) Overtime

At ENO8, we do what it takes to get the job done. We pull long hours and throw immense effort at solving our clients’ problems. That can be taxing on yourself, your friends and your families. We do not like working any harder than we have to — we always strive for efficiency of effort. We don’t want our clients paying for more effort than is required to solve their problem. We don’t want our staff working more hours if there’s a more effective and efficient way to accomplish their goal.

Work smarter, not harder. You get the idea.

We at ENO8 value work-life balance immensely. As a father of two young kids, time spent away from my family has a dang high bar to clear — if it’s not important, I’m not gunna be happy about having to spend that time.

That’s why I love this company and this business so much. I get to work with the most innovative and earth-changing technologies to solve our clients’ and partners’ biggest business problems. The work we do and the technology we employ are going to quite literally change the world, and my staff and I get to be a part of that. Is there any better professional feeling than that?

So yes, I hate having to spend long hours at the office away from my family. But, having a family I care so much about forces me to evaluate every project and every hour I spend on those projects against the opportunity cost of time missed with my family. And when you judge your time spent on such a valuable scale, you ensure you’re a part of something you believe in, something with impact. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be spending the time in the first place. So I’m thankful for work worthy of demanding my time and attention, because it’s invigorating, important and interesting enough to be worth my time. And what more can an entrepreneur ask for?


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Jeff Francis

Jeff Francis is a veteran entrepreneur and founder of Dallas-based digital product studio ENO8. Jeff founded ENO8 to empower companies of all sizes to design, develop and deliver innovative, impactful digital products. With more than 18 years working with early-stage startups, Jeff has a passion for creating and growing new businesses from the ground up, and has honed a unique ability to assist companies with aligning their technology product initiatives with real business outcomes.

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