Top 10 Things I learned in 10 years.

Before I dive in to today’s post, let me clear the tropical air.  Yes, I am on my honeymoon . . . in Hawaii . . . And yes, I am bloggin’ from the beach.  Why?  Well, first you gotta read this post, and second, well, some people read paperbacks, and I . . . read scripts and write blogs.

My nuptials of last week aren’t the only thing I’m celebrating while I’m in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Today is the tenth anniversary of Davenport Theatrical!

It was ten years ago today that I filed the paperwork on my company and opened us up for business.  (The truth is, I had been open for business a few weeks before, but it was today that my lawyer yelled at me and got me to be official – I can be a little cart pre-horse, if you know what I mean.)

Ten years.  Wow.  That’s a long time.  In the last decade I’ve been through five offices (if you count my apartment – where I worked out of for two), six assistants, and an army of interns.

And I’ve also learned a heck of a lot . . . not only about producing, but also about running a company, which isn’t the same thing, by the way.  You see, as your company grows, you’ve got to spend a great deal of time running that company.  That means figuring out health insurance, vacation days, and whether or not we should have a Keurig machine or coffee service.

I’ve had some success over the last ten years.  I’ve had some failures.  I’ve made some mistakes.  I’ve done some other things just right – yet they still didn’t work out.  I’ve gotten lucky.  I’ve gotten press.  I’ve made some money.  I’ve lost some money.  I’ve made friends.  And lost some of those too.

So, on this anniversary day, I thought I’d list the Top Ten Things I Learned over the past ten years, in the hopes that you can skip over so of my boo-boos as you grow your company.

(Oh, this list is in no particular order and let me also say that keeping this to just ten was like trying to whittle down a oak tree to a toothpick – I had like a zillion of these suckers!)


1.  No one else is you.  Don’t expect them to be.

2.  It’s better to be an expert at a few things than a medium-xpert at a bunch of things.

3.  Your ToDo list should always have something to do on it.

4.  A big staff and a big office doesn’t mean you’re a better Producer.

5.  In this business, don’t get too angry at someone today, because odds are you’re going to need something from them tomorrow.

6.  Don’t go to bed unless your inbox is empty.

7.  Hiring people is the hardest thing a business owner has to do.

8.  If you fail, it doesn’t mean your career is over.  If you don’t try, you’ll never even have a chance at a career.

9.  Sometimes it’s better to pay someone to do something than to do it yourself.

10.  If your goal is just to make money, you won’t.

Oh, and since one of my unwritten business rules is to always “exceed people’s expectations,” here’s a bonus . . .

11.  You can’t do it all alone.  So why try?

So there is the last decade summed up in a Top Ten list.

But you know what’s exciting for me about the next ten years?

I’m going to have some success.  I’m gonna have some failures.  I’m gonna make more mistakes.  I’ll do other things just right – yet sometimes things still won’t work out.  I’ll get lucky.  I’ll get press.  I’ll make money.  And lose money.  Same with friends.

And I’m going to learn even more than I did in the first ten years.

Any one of the above strike a chord with you?  Or are you a business owner with some advice to share?  Let me know below!


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  • Janis says:

    Good stuff.

    Here’s hoping for ten times ten for the marriage and as many lessons of love and joy.


  • Bill Rough says:

    Ken — Over the past few years I’ve been on your e-mail list, you’ve provided fascinating information, you’ve shared a wonderful sense of humor, and you’ve given away fascinating and useful advice. One little tidbit from me, in my 50th year of marriage: Put your keyboard down and enjoy your honeymoon.
    Heartiest Congratulations!

  • Ed Katz says:

    Hi Ken,
    In business as well as life- choose your partners wisely.
    Complementary skill sets are better than identical skill sets so, yes, there will be arguments because it does little good to agree on everything- but you want to agree on your core values.
    Finally, pick someone who you know is trustworthy.
    Trust me on that.
    Happy honeymoon to you and Tracy!
    Very cool you will have two anniversaries to celebrate at practically the same time each year.
    All best wishes,


  • Paula says:

    Double Congratulations – one for the marriage and one for Davenport Theatrical!
    Success, happiness, and good health in all you do! My sincere best wishes to
    you and Tracy. Enjoy Hawaii!

  • Afton Toler says:

    2. It’s better to be an expert at a few things than a medium-xpert at a bunch of things.

    Love this one! Better to focus on a few things really important to you, than throw spaghetti at the wall.

    Enjoy the honeymoon!

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