I came across this in an Article about Mozilla, the software company behind the browser Firefox. I used to use Firefox. It was so much better than anything else at the time but then the latest version (at that time) of Chrome came out and I switched.
I had not come across Mozilla for a while but it appears that the company is alive and well, expanding and developing and now doing more than just Firefox.
Xenia Tovchykh is the head of global accounting operations at Mozilla, now based in Germany. It was her that said that this ethos “try until you succeed” was what attracted her to go and work for Mozilla.
It sounds great but then I started to think about it and I think it is one of those snappy little phrases that sound good but only if applied intelligently.
The reason that I say that is that I have been reading a few tax tribunal cases recently or at least the summaries. These point to a succession of cases where it would have been pretty obvious to anyone that the arguments being put forward by the taxpayers were so ludicrous that you have to wonder about their basic intelligence.
For example, splitting a dog breeding business into separate businesses by breed of dog to avoid the VAT threshold. But then putting sales arbitrarily through any business, except where one was approaching the VAT threshold, when everything was put through a different one.
In another case an employee employed an “accountant” to process expense claims to be set against his employment income. The accountant claimed many thousands of pounds by way of tax refunds but had never asked the taxpayer to approve the claims. HMRC investigated and sought return of the refunds along with penalties. The taxpayer appealed to the tax tribunal against the penalties. The appeal was refused. The tribunal decided that the taxpayer had been careless and one of the reasons for this was that he had not checked the credentials of the accountant to ensure he knew what he was doing. He therefore ended up with over £3000 in penalties for choosing the wrong accountant!
These “idiots” did not need to try until they succeeded. It was never going to work.
However, there are many times when you would say that this phrase is appropriate.
If you are still in business after the last few years, then it applies to you. Many people threw in the towel or just went under, so if you have made it through then you have a certain something that set you apart.
I was talking to Tim Williamson the other day. Many of you will know him from his time at Peninsula or in connection with BNI. Anyway, the business built upon his wife, Yogi’s hobby is taking off big time. Hard work, diligence and utilizing their respective skills means that they have already outgrown their first place and now need to move on. As well as being very successful with their honey (we have half a dozen jars of various varieties at home) they now make chilli jam (several jars in the cupboard) , dressings and all sorts of other stuff. You really need to check out their website The Moray Honey Company
Anyway, they have a new product. You’ll find it on the website, and it is selling like hot cakes apparently. Tim has promised me a sample. It is a honey tablet. Check it out.
You see plenty of other examples around our patch of ordinary people succeeding with hard work and determination, who keep going until they get to where they want to be.
Take, for example, Andrew Banks and his vision of a ferry link between Gills Bay in Caithness and St Margarets Hope in Orkney. I remember being on his original, ever so slightly rusty, first boat and now he has two newly built ferries one working in Orkney and the other in the Western Isles. And yet, all he started with was an idea and determination to make it work.
Then there is Scott and Sarah Murray who developed their own love of travel into a travel business, Murray Travel, with branches now in Inverness, Nairn, Forres and Elgin. What about Andrew Still at James Dow Office Supplies in Inverness and Moray Office Supplies in Elgin, who seems likely to carry on growing and developing his office furniture and stationery business serving the North of Scotland.
I could go on. In these times when so may commentators are spreading doom and gloom, the rest of us are out there getting the job done with hard work and determination … trying till we succeed.
Mind you my report cards at school kept saying “Could try harder”.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership