This past Saturday night the Denver Broncos played the Baltimore Ravens for a chance to go to the Conference Finals. The Broncos were up by 7 points, had picked up a first down, and had about two minutes and change left on the clock. The Broncos ran two run plays and had a third and seven coming up. Instead of putting the game away by trying to pick up the first down, the Broncos ran another run play and kicked the ball away. Needless to say, the Ravens went the entire field and tied the game with 30 seconds left. The Broncos got the ball back and instead of trying to get into field goal position and win it in regulation, they opted for not losing and taking the ballgame into overtime. Well, the Ravens intercepted the ball in overtime and ended up winning it on a field goal.
I was watching the end of this game and thinking to myself that this is a perfect example of the difference between wanting to win a game and not wanting to lose. Manning and the Broncos seemed like they wanted not to lose more than they wanted to win. I understand this is the playoff and every little play matters. But by playing it “safe” the Broncos season is over and they can only think “what if” at this point.
All and all, there is a startup and life lesson here: you need to want to win. Whether it is every day or every play. Not wanting to lose just won’t cut it. You need to want it so bad that you will identify and capitalize on every inch a competitor gives you. There is a big difference between wanting to win and not wanting to lose, and that is that the people that don’t want to lose end up going home and watching the other team fight on.
I have had my share of failures in life and work.
I have started and been involved with a countless amount of companies that have not worked out.
Each one had a different problem and each one was a different learning experience.
I believe that you need to fail, a few times, to become successful.
Just make sure you don’t get bitter about failure (hey, it happens). Take all the knowledge you acquire (from failure) and put yourself in a better position to succeed.
I hate it when people say “They aren’t/weren’t talented, they just were lucky” or “They were just in the right place at the right time.”
While this may happen on occasion, I don’t think it is the norm.
Something happened to me in the last few days that would be seemingly lucky, however I see it differently.
The way I see it is that I put myself in a position to get lucky.
What I mean by “putting yourself in a position” is the following:
1) Make sure you are going out to events
2) Talk to people and network
3) Follow up with everyone you meet
4) Reach out to people who you think might be interesting to speak with
5) Put together a digital identity
6) Help out a fellow founder/friend/associate
You will never meet the right people to help build your company by sitting on your couch and watching re-runs of Kendra on E! all day.
The point I am trying to make is that if you put yourself out there, put a lot of effort into your current situation (whether starting your own company, working for/at another company, etc…) you will be in a position for good things to happen to you.
I heard a great quote a few days ago- but haven’t been able to post, due to a little outage dubbed Tumblr-pocalypse 2010.
“No one knows shit.
Everyone makes shit up.
The trick is making the best shit up.
That’s what makes one rise above the rest.”
I could have been a lawyer. I could have been a banker. I could have worked at a big corporation.
But I am not.
I work in the startup world.
Why do I do this?
There are a myriad of reasons why I love what I do. However, the biggest is the simple fact that the startup world is purely a meritocracy.
The startup world doesn’t care where you were born. It doesn’t care how wealthy your uncle is. And it definitely doesn’t care what your GPA in school was.
No, The only thing the startup world cares about is your ability and achievement. As long as you use your talent, intellect, and strengths you can achieve anything.
Instead of pushing paper around to make .001 on every trade or deal, you can create and add value to this world. You can change the world.
This is why startups are awesome.