Why Blog?

So why am I starting a blog… in 2023?

First, it’s because I miss writing. My “writing” these days is almost exclusively short form and done through Microsoft Teams, email, or text. Prior to joining Avanti, I worked in Private Equity and regularly expressed my opinion on investment opportunities via long-form writing, which I found to be an incredibly elegant way to transform scattered mental thoughts into organized and clarified ideas. I’ve been feeling a pull toward writing for some time now.

Second, I believe writing is an excellent way to codify learnings. It can help translate a slow hunch, epiphany, or observation into something concrete. From my experience, summarizing takeaways and learnings in writing helps commit them more fully to memory. This blog will primarily serve to benefit myself with the hope that others also find some of the content interesting.

Third, in my role today as Co-CEO, only rarely do I create my own work ‘artifacts’ from start to finish. Much of what I work on and do is in conjunction with colleagues and teams or relates to absorbing and interacting with work artifacts others have produced. I personally receive a ton of benefit and pleasure from actually creating my own work products and believe consistently writing blog posts will fill a missing void.

Fourth, I’m a strong believer in stating opinions and taking a stance, even when you turn out to be wrong. Doing so publicly will be a fun way to inevitably receive alternate opinions, criticisms, and different perspectives, which should only enhance my own mindset and mental frameworks over time.

Finally, and most importantly, I’m extremely nervous about writing in a public forum. And because it’s so intimidating, I know I’m going to get a lot out of it.

Writing has always been a struggle for me; for my entire grade school career, English was my worst subject by a significant margin. I struggled with essay writing in university and always felt my ability to translate what I understood into written word was sub-par at best. In my first job after graduating university, I spent 98% of my time working in Excel or PowerPoint, where writing consisted of bullet points or quippy punchline sentences; I excelled because my writing was never scrutinized. Moving into Private Equity, I shifted into a role with a lot more writing demand. About three years into the job, I worked on a substantial project – an investment in carton packaging manufacturer, SIG. It was a grueling project and I was extremely proud of the work and effort involved, which made it a fairly tough pill to swallow when shortly after the transaction closed, my boss at the time, called me into his office, sat me down, and told me I was a horrible writer. Not only was I terrible at writing, but if I didn’t do something to improve, it would forever put a ceiling on my career. I’m incredibly grateful for the feedback he shared, and it inspired me to focus on improving.

I certainly can’t promise all of the content will be great, but I’m absolutely determined to improve over time. I sincerely hope the 52nd post is much better than the 1st.

What will I write about?

March 2023 marks my 5-year anniversary of joining Avanti. Avanti represents my first operating role, my first time as Co-CEO, and my first time stewarding the direction of a business in a meaningful way. When I started, I was incredibly naïve about what it meant to be a leader, and have sustained a steep learning curve ever since. It’s been an incredibly challenging and rewarding professional journey and I’m going to focus on sharing one observation, learning, or reflection per week, over the course of the next 52 weeks. Much of what I will share has been inspired by things I’ve read, listened to, or been coached on. I will do my best to share relevant resources where applicable.

My aim will be to produce content that can be consumed in under 10 minutes.

If you’d like to follow along, please subscribe at www.davestake.com

P.s., I’m always eager for feedback! Have a thought or reaction you want to share? You can reach me on LinkedIn or by email at daveowencord@gmail.com.