People love to see other people fail. Better yet, people love to talk about other people’s failures. Personally, I’ve never shied away from talking about my own failures. After all, like most people I’ve learned more from my failures than from my successes. That’s why I had no problem talking to Forbes magazine when they contacted me last summer about doing a piece on Aquascape. Like many businesses, we’ve been through a lot highlighted by the Great Recession. Unlike many businesses though, we are willing to talk about it. I think that’s what interested Forbes in doing a story on us.
It’s been said all publicity is good publicity. I’m not sure about that, but what I am sure about is Aquascape has generated a disproportionate amount of publicity relative to our size. Again, I feel it’s due at least partially to our, or in this case my, extremely open and candid style. However, in every article I’ve ever read about myself or my company I always feel their interpretation of my words fails to capture the heart of what truly matters to me in this world … people! This Forbes story, bound to hit newsstands June 15th is no exception.
What gets me to pop out of bed in the morning is going to work to create an organization that helps people. Period. I might like turtles, but I love people! I dreamed Aqualand (not ordered it) to create a workplace utopia. A place people would love to come to. And for the most part, they do! When we had to lay people off to adjust our overhead to the reality of sales, some people left bitter. But you know what, most left thanking us for keeping them on board as long as we could. They knew people mattered to us, even if Forbes didn’t capture that in what they wrote.
By far, my favorite part of this particular story was not what it said about us and certainly not what it said about me. Rather what I loved was how it accurately portrayed how I felt regarding our customers in the article’s final words “Wittstock still thinks he can turn Aquascape into a $100 million business eventually, in part because his contractors know what they’re doing now. When it was the heyday,” he says, “they were making money by osmosis. Today they’re making money because they’re good.”
Amen, I say to that! Not just because I said it, but because I see it! Aquascape is a thousand times better because of what we went through and so are our customers who went through it alongside us. It’s not the problems that make us, or them, or anyone for that matter better, but rather the resolve that’s born from persevering through life’s inevitable struggles.
If I wrote this article for Forbes that’s what I would have said. So now with that said, here’s the article we are very appreciative to have been featured in.