To the year ahead

Of the many friends who posted farewells to 2011 in these last few hours, I was struck by how often the tone was negative.

Yet, even with the late Christopher Hitchens’ suggestion that what nearly kills you doesn’tactually make you stronger still in my ears, I can’t look back on 2011 with any other view than that, while it was a hard year, it was also fundamentally a good one.

Everything was a struggle in 2011. There wasn’t a moment where I didn’t want things to be easier, to be smoother, to flow more freely.

Yet, I can’t think of a year where I learned more. About a variety of things professional and personal, but most of all about myself.

And I have never experienced a year where I built so many new relationships – and rekindled so many old ones – that have impacted me so meaningfully.

So while I suspect that, down the road, I’ll be reminiscing on 2011 as a year that was challenging, difficult and not a whole helluva lot of fun, at the same time I will remind myself that it was a year where a foundation just might have been laid. A foundation for a positive future, and a foundation for what I feel is going to be a very productive, successful and happy New Year.

Thank you to all of my friends and colleagues – old and new – who made 2011, as hard as it was, as memorable as it was. And all the best for a very happy and successful 2012.

Chris Selland is VP of Marketing at HP Vertica. He brings 20+ years of success driving demand and revenue via innovative online, search & inbound marketing programs as well as leading key strategic alliance & corporate development initiatives for entrepreneurial, high-growth companies including SoundBite Communications (NASDAQ:SDBT), Constant Contact (NASDAQ:CTCT) and Lumigent Technologies (acquired by BeyondTrust). Chris is an established thought leader, speaker and author on customer strategy-related topics including CRM, Customer Metrics & Loyalty, Customer Support and Social Media Marketing, and was an Expert Advisor at as well as a founding member of the Enterprise Irregulars. Earlier in his career he was VP of CRM and Internet Research at the Yankee Group, and later founded Reservoir Partners, a customer strategy research firm that merged with Aberdeen Group, where he became VP of Sell-Side Research. Chris serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, and has a BS in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA in International Business & Economics from NYU Stern School of Business.