I was at a startup angel session last night and it reminded my why I love the startup mentality so much.
All the participants where not interested in the end, as much as they were the process. Their interest was primarily in baking a pie they could be proud of. Which is the opposite to what we often see in the corporate scene. People whose interest is in getting the largest slice possible of a pie that someone else baked.
The key question we should ask ourselves, corporate executive or entrepreneur, is this: Are we baking or eating?
I’ve heard a lot of people call entrepreneurs ‘a genius‘. Usually when someone has achieved amazing success. The most recent call of ‘genius’ has been directed to Mark Zuckerberg – though some may refer to him as the evil genius. I to have been guilty of this affliction. I play the ‘genius card’, when I have envy over what someone else has achieved.
It’s a great card to play, because it infers luck. It infers that they have been born with unusual and exceptional skill. A lucky sperm! This genius birthright is then the result of their success. Not hard work, not embracing failure, not sleepless nights and hours down in the skunk works. The genius card in reality is our way of justifying our own lack of success, or more aptly – effort.
The challenge we must set ourselves is to stop using the genius excuse. Because we know deep down in our hearts, we are trying to marginalize others success so that we feel a little bit better about ourselves.
It’s what we create for the people who care. The truth is we never know how hard it was to deliver the right product, at the right place at the right time. We only care that it was.
What we (the entrepreneurs, producers, marketers) had to go through is not part of the consideration set. It isn’t charity, it’s about them. So if we nail it and deliver the project quickly, we needn’t feel guilty or less deserving. Likewise, if it took us 5 years of hard working weekends and nights, that’s also no reason to feel a level of entitlement. We need to feel what they feel – underwhelmed or overwhelmed with what we deliver, how we got there is far less important.
I love the story of James Podsiadly for one reason. He has broken convention and in doing so, will change peoples perception forever.
For the uninitiated, James managed to break into the AFL ranks for the first time at the age of 28. Playing his first game for Geelong in season 2010. In football terms he’s a senior citizen. In fact, most people start retiring around that vintage. But James wasn’t fortunate enough to get picked to play at AFL level at a young age. Geelong is his third club, and he has been starring this year.
He’s proven that age is relative to development.
He’s proven that age is relative to opportunity.
He’s proven that desire can be translated into results.
He’s proven that great work eventually gets noticed.
He’s proven that sometimes people / companies / clubs get it wrong.
He’s proven that staying the course over a a long period is where results live.
So far in the year 2010, he’s the most inspiring person I’ve come across. Before we make an assessment of someone’s worth, we should think of James. He’s also who we should remember when we think of quitting, or we’re overlooked in whatever we are doing.
Startup Blog says: Thankyou James.
In the new year we have new business goals and objectives. We plan to do better than last year. We plan to do more….. we must review our strategy…. But before we do we must ask this important question:
Did we execute the current strategy to its full potential?
Or did it just get a bit too hard and boring, and we decided it wasn’t easy enough?
Usually the strategy is fine, and we just haven’t worked hard enough to get through the dip.
This blog is an example of compound effort. Yes, just like interest, effort compounds too. In the 4 years I’ve been writing it every month the readership has increased. With no real marketing of the blog. Just good solid writing, be open and honest, sharing insights, and letting the wondrous SEO of wordpress do the rest on Google for me. A few things worth considering if you’re into blogging and want to build an audience.
- I have written 1 blog entry for every day this blog has been live. Consistency and frequency matter.
- Every entry is on the same topic. Startups and Entrepreneurship. I stay focused by having one of these two words in every entry.
- I love the topic my blog is about. I find it fascinating and would still write it if nobody was reading.
- 70% of my traffic is Long Tail, which means that every entry increases my total traffic flow.
- It taught me more about digital media and the internet that anything else I have done.
Of all things I have done in my career writing this blog has generated the most value. It has documented my thoughts, improved my thinking, built discipline, created a reputation, generated media coverage for rentoid, launched me as a business journalist in other business magazines, it places me number 1 in Google searches for the term startup blog in every country in the world and has built friendships and helped others.
If you read this blog regularly you are among 70,000 other people every month. So you’re in good company. Thanks for reading.