In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that
have shaped their business philosophy.



Vice president of customer success, Sigstr


Background:  

The email signature services and templates from Indianapolis-based Sigstr are tools for marketing and employee engagement.

The Mistake:

As I look back it wasn’t necessarily one event, but as I have gotten older I have started to really appreciate the value of reading. I did not read as much as I should have in my mid-20s.

I didn’t invest the time and I didn’t like the idea of reading.

You have a little bit of a head start the more you read.

The Lesson:

In my early 30s, I started to find business books more interesting and I started to appreciate the nuggets of applicable knowledge that I could extract from the titles. More specifically, the topics that are related to my career path and the type of work I am doing in customer success started to become more interesting.

If I had to do it over again I would have taken reading more seriously after college and in my mid-20s. It’s a little dramatic to call it an MBA, but by reading more I have up-leveled my knowledge relative to the work I am doing day in and day out.

I lean toward leadership books or subject-matter books related to my career in customer success. There are a lot of buzzwords out there, but to really understand the concepts and the strategies, you have to study them. Through reading a handful of books, I felt like I was really able to turn a corner and get my arms around some of those strategies and concepts.

The trick is the execution, the exercise of taking it from a page and applying it to everyday life. For me, anyway, it feels like you have a little bit of a head start the more you read.

Dave Duke is on Twitter at @djdukeiu and Sigstr is at @SigstrApp.

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