I’ve been hanging around with the Startup culture for almost two years now. In that time I’ve picked up on some common themes:
- “Overnight success” can take years to attain. Pinterest was around for quite a while before everyone “discovered” it.
- It often takes complete dedication. No more TV, no more long books, no more weeks off for vacation.
- Just because you give it everything and executed perfectly doesn’t mean you’ll be successful
- The payoff can be huge, but only for a tiny fraction of the people who try.
Just now they were interviewing the guys who won gold and silver in men’s backstroke. The interviewer said “It’s great to just come out and surprise everyone, eh?” and the athlete said “Oh yeah, it only took 22 years of practice and dedication”. Sound familiar?
There’s a commercial that purports to be the voice of athletes, and they say things like “You know that best selling book everyone’s talking about? I haven’t read it” and “I haven’t watched TV in 2 years”. That’s the dedication a startup needs.
In the men’s swimming relay we had Phelps, Lochte, and 2 other non-famous guys who were yet great swimmers. We had rock stars. And yet we lost. When they asked the athletes about it they simply said “We did the very best we could and the French are great swimmers.” Does anyone at all think that our boys didn’t try hard enough? Didn’t practice long enough? I certainly don’t. But being awesome, or even being the BEST doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win.
The US has fielded hundreds of athletes. The world has fielded many thousands of athletes. As of this post, the US has 17 medals total. 5 Gold. These people are amazing at what they do. The best of the best. But look at how many of them go home with no medals at all.
Something I find interesting is how many of them feel proud, honored and happy to have competed at all. To simply be there. There’s joy in the startup too. To say “I’m doing this” or “I made my play”.
Do everything you can, give it all you have, plot, plan, play, and maybe you’ll make it. But it’s quite a ride.