Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: March 2008

Seth Godin had a good post today about getting versus taking. Getting an education, waiting to get something of value from your professor, waiting for your boss to give you the responsibility you have been waiting for, really just waiting for your turn to get what you deserve (or at least what you think you deserve).

Then there are the takers, now at first glance this may come across as a negative trait. Someone who always takes seems like the kind of person you want to avoid, right? After all, if they are so busy taking, then what do they have to give in return? Not that kind of take, the kind of take he is talking about is those that take a risk, those that do not sit idle and wait there turn to get what they deserve. The ones that have no sense of risk aversion, they go out on a limb to try something new, understanding that they may crash and burn miserably, but at least they took a chance.

I think that is one of the defining characteristics of an entrepreneur, someone who is a taker and not a getter. There is a fine line that you have to walk, one cannot just take any risk, it should be somewhat calculated (at least in my opinion, others may argue what is the point if you take calculated risks, then you are not really a risk taker, we can save that for another post). Bottom line is that without taking a risk, you are left with the what ifs, which can reek havoc on you if you let it (well, on second thought if you are a getter chances are that you do not play the what ifs, so I guess it would not really come into play for you).

It is better to have tried (take a risk) and failed than to never have tried at all. So, at what end of the spectrum of risk do you fall? Total aversion or full guns a blazing? I fall towards the later, perhaps with just guns cocked and loaded, not full on blazing.

Advertisements

It is a fact of life, all of us will end up with the same destination, ultimately on time on this green earth will come to an end, this we all know. So what makes that inevitable destination more palatable is the journey that you take to get there. It is the experiences that you share with others, friendships that you make, places that you go that make the journey all the more better. For some, they grab a hold of this concept and take it to the limit, for others they just wander through the experience, taking whatever is there before them and nothing else, and then there are some that just rush through it, thinking that there is something else at the end, and do not take the time to smell the roses.

The same can be said for startups. The ultimate destination (at least it is my assumption) for startups is that they become wildly successful and either exit as an acquisition or go IPO and become the next Google (good luck, but it can happen). Nonetheless, they (being startups) all seem to want to have the same destination: success. So why is it that some startups go to great lengths to make the journey so memorable while others just rush through the journey with blinders on? I watched a video yesterday on ColoradoStartups that Gwen Bell shot that gave us an up close and personal look at the Fuser offices in downtown Boulder. Jeff Herman (President and COO) gave a great tour of the digs and it was very apparent that the leadership team at Fuser is well aware of how important the journey is, they have gone above and beyond to create a fun, collaborative environment for their team to create lasting experiences throughout the Fuser journey that they will be able to look back upon and revel in the fun and good times they had along the way.

As a leader, you should inspire your team everyday, make each one enjoyable so that when you do reach that destination, there will be a plethora of experiences that the team can look back on and reflect and realize that their journey was a good one. There is a quote or saying (depending on how you look at it and I am not going to get it right), but it basically says that when hiring a team, pay them well, and do everything in your power to keep them from thinking about the money and you will build harmony in the workplace and have a happy team. It is creating those experiences, whether it be team building activities, social outings, or supplying the office with games and food to keep them happy, whatever it is, that is what they will remember and be thankful that you (as the leader) helped facilitate those great experiences throughout the journey.

After all, it is the journey, not the destination, so make it a good one and all will be thankful as a result.

As we celebrated the triplets fourth birthday yesterday, I was reminded the importance of the saying slow and steady wins the race. What had started out as a nice family out to the movies (Horton Hears a Who, great if you have kids) and a low key dinner with the kids and one set of grandparents, quickly turned into something a bit more (Mom, I know you are going to read this, so do not be upset, it was not planned at all and was very last minute, trust me). I had the expectation all day that it was going to be an easy, stress free afternoon and evening, and it turned out to be quite the opposite.

By the time we got home, what was going to be a small dinner had turned into something a wee bit more, with several more people, in the end it was all good, but me being me, I felt compelled to rush around and try to take care of everything, and wound up loosing steam before it was all over. Bad scene for me, as this was the perfect opportunity for me to practice pacing myself and enjoying the moment and have a good time. Lesson was learned, but it was learned in hindsight and not in real time.

Often times we are in such a hurry to get things done that we quickly forget that slow and steady does win the race, life is not a sprint, it is a marathon and if you rush, rush, rush, you will drop out or miss some of the greatest things life has to offer. This too goes for work, inevitably when you are trying to ship a product you are rushing around trying to get everything done, but you can’t and you start cutting corners, overlook things, tempers get flared and the whole process is thrown out of whack. Now that is not to say that you should grind to a halt or move at a snail’s pace, but being steady and consistent will yield better results.

So the next time you find yourself in a sprint when you know it is a marathon, slow down and stay steady and you will find that the end result is much better than taking the other route.

I came across this article on Mixx today and it made me pause for a second and think about determination. It was an article about the world’s tallest man learning to ride a bicycle (original article is here). The man is from a small village in Ukraine, stands at a mere eight feet four inches (yes, you read that correctly) and seems to be in his mid thirties. Most kids learn to ride a bike somewhere around four or five, so for thirty some years this guy has not been able to enjoy one of joys of life as a young child, that of learning to ride a bike.

This goes to show you what determination can produce. Take a look at the picture, it is amazing that a bike could be built to support him and it is amazing that he could get on it and actually ride it. That is shear determination on his part and of the maker of the bicycle.

The lesson to be learned here is that the next time you think something is impossible, that you just can’t possibly do it, just remember that determination can produce results that would otherwise be thought of as impossible. This guy serves as inspiration for all of those that think they cannot do that one thing that they have always wanted to do. So get out there and ride you bike!