As we round up 2012 and move into the new year, I’d like to encourage people to not stop taking big risks. To not stop believing. We can’t shy away from all the fears and uncertainty. For the first time, we have more people than ever starting companies and some of these companies have the potential to impact billions of people lives.
This is history in the making and now is not the time to stop.
What’s so incredible about this is that we are not just talking about a better future, but we are building it.
To me, this is an enormous privilege and responsibility, and we must take it seriously.
The speed of thought and innovation is mind-blowing. The costs to start a company have never been lower and the resources out there are rich and plentiful.
We are experiencing an industrial revolution and what I hope is that everyone grabs a hold of it.
The role of us as entrepreneurs is to take the biggest, boldest risks and to look at everything from a long term perspective. It’s not about overnight success, but about cooperation and collaboration. It’s about working together to build a better world.
Come on, let’s commit to using our talents for global impact. Lets focus on the lives of our customers. Lets tend to the seeds that we’ve planted. Let’s think big and empower our nation’s creative entrepreneurs, and attempt to create companies that make a difference.
Who’s with me? Lets ring in another great year!
Some really good startup quotes.
“The challenge with most startups is just dealing with the emotional ups and downs, which can be huge.”
500 Startups’s Dave McClure
“You worry all of the time.”
Zendesk founder Mikkel Svane
“I hit this wall of fear when we were about 30 people.”
Julia Hartz of EventBrite
“I’ve had my share of failures. That’s kinda what makes a person ready for success.”
Scott Kveton of Urban Airship, who pitched VCs unsuccessfully 30 times before hitting pay dirt
“You’re gonna screw up.”
Dan Levin, COO of Box
“Not all of us can lead. But this is a special type of sport.”
Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network
“If we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes, we will never invest in things that are radical.”
Jeff Clavier, VC, Soft Tech
“Be brazen, but don’t be arrogant.”
Kate Rutter, cofounder of LUXr
Out of these quotes, which ones connect with you?
Lets be real honest here for a second. Startups are fucking tough and the emotions that they cause often times seem unbearable. They make you want to give up. They drive you to the point of wanting to rip your hair out.
The truth is, you are not alone (I’m there with you).
These emotions are completely natural and part of the process of developing you into the leader that you need to be for yourself, your family, and your startup.
Question: Think back at the last time you were being screamed at by your customers, employees, or your wife, you worked until you dropped, you ran out of capital, made a stupid decision, or you just pushed yourself to that point of breaking? How did you respond? Are you proud of how you responded? Or do you feel like an idiot?
Emotions are normal…especially for a startup.
The key to being a great startup leader is knowing when to display emotions, when to delay them, and when to put your head down and fight them.
Emotions will do two things to you: 1. Make you better 2. Wreck you. It’s up to you to choose how to deal with your emotions.
Make a decision that the next time you have to deal with emotions (You will) that you will put others first and you will handle them, process them, and allow them to shape you into the leader that you need to be.
Law 1: Pull everything out of your mentors and advisors, pull everything out of your team, and pull everything out of yourself.
Law 2: Put it all on the line and stick to it for a while. Nothing happens overnight. Short term success is bullshit.
Law 3: If you’re mentors and advisors are not pulling everything out of you, find new ones.
Law 4: Everything is an experiment. Treat it that way, learn more it, and press on.
Law 5: Be self-discipline. Do what you think not what you feel.
Law 6: Focus on making not winning. Enjoy the process and appreciate the act.
Law 7: Nothing is a mistake only a learning experience. Don’t be afraid to screw up.
Law 8: Do work. People who can work hard consistently will one day wake up a success.
Law 9: Creating and analyzing are separate things. First create then analyze – don’t do these at the same time.
Law 10: Always break the laws. Break your own laws.
No, I didn’t grow up in new York or silicon valley, I don’t have an MBA from Stanford or Harvard, and I didn’t come from any money.
My Mom and Dad had my sister when they were 17, my mom cleaned houses, and my dad poured concrete. We lived a simple life and my parents worked for every dollar they had.
What my parents have taught me over the years and I still carry with me today is that if I want something bad enough, I better get my ass out there and find a way to make it happen.
Oh, and don’t be a pussy (This is from Dad). Be tough, take risks, don’t let people push you around, and speak your mind.
Honestly, what my parents taught me at an early age is the foundation for anyone who wants to be happy and successful.
There is something to be said about hard work and some serious hustle.
Are my parents happy and successful today? Yes, but it didn’t come easy. It was the consistent get up work your ass off and hustle that has allowed my parents to be where they are today.
You are no different. If you want something bad enough, then you get out there, work for it, and find a way to make it happen. I don’t care if you have to live in van down by the river, eat ramen noodles for a year, or do the most random crap, there is a way, you just have to find it.
And, if you think you still need a degree from Harvard or come from money, you are full of shit. The truth is, you are lazy and you’re not willing to do what it takes.
Put in the work and make something out of yourself.
I’m horny about a lot of things these days. Because of this, I thought I would put together a list and share it with you. I don’t know what makes you horny, but maybe this will motivate you to start thinking about it.
- Family: Family is first in my book. I’m trying to invest in my family, spend time, appreciate one another, and ultimately have a fun together.
- Quality Friendships: I have a few people who I try to pour into and I feel like in return they are pouring right back into me. You can’t pour into everyone, so pick a few good friends and build each other up.
- Exploring new things: I don’t care what it is, I want to explore it: canoe trip, hiking, marathons, smoking cigars…bring it on andlet’s try it out.
- Motivating people to do shit with their lives, take risks and live a little. I feel like this has always kind of been my thing, but today, more than ever you will hear me talking about this.
- Co-founder and entrepreneurial relationships: I can’t be more thankful for all my co-founders, equity partners, and people involved in my deals. For the last few years, I’ve been intentional about seeking out entrepreneurs who can see eye to eye beyond just, let’s make some money. We appreciate family, we take risks, we seek new experiences, and above all else, we are friends and there for one another.
- Startup communities: Now being involved with Startup America Partnership for almost a year, I am having the time of my life – It’s so cool to see all the different startup communities evolve and grow.
- Venture Capital: I’m talking with a few folks now about putting together a fund. I am no experienced VC, but I can put a team together that knows their shit. This is what I’m looking at right now – putting together a stellar team that can invest in startups and entrepreneurs that want to have fun, disrupt, and make some money along the way.
- Game changing startups: If you’re trying to do the same shit as someone else, I don’t care. If you think you got something cool and different, this gets me excited. Why put a ton a time into something that is the same as the next guys stuff?
- Accelerators: I think accelerators rock. I’m not involved in one myself, nor have I been involved in one. However, I sit back, watch, listen, and appreciate all the work that accelerators are doing. We need more of them. The best part about accelerators are the mentors and the community that forms.
- Crowd funding: I am a co-founder of a startup called Fundmypark. We are the Kickstarter for all things parks and recreation. Were already seeing some good success with this project. Beyond this, I’m just interested in all the crowdfunding activity going down.
- Branded entertainment: I’ve watched more and more young people change their content consuming behavior and this gets me horny. Hence the reason I’m a part of a new deal being put together in Hollywood to enter this space. We are still trying to figure stuff out, but we are close.
- Digital content and entertainment: The smartest thing people can do with content today is build in the brands. No, not product placement. I’m talking about unique branded integration that tells a story. Look at Nike, Redbull, and others – they get it.
- New retail and restaurant plays: I enjoy seeing people disrupt this industry. I see people tying mobile into the experience. I also have seen good uses of social. It’s all interesting to me. Just watch as more and more entrepreneurs come up with unique ways to mod this industry and integrate new forms of tech.
- Social Media: All forms, all uses, case studies, you name it, I’m following it and paying attention. It’s also important because if you’re not building social into everything you do today…you are an idiot.
- Social Commerce: Lots of people are toying with this (This includes me) and I think it’s awesome. Do I think this space is early still? Yes. Do I see it evolving and eventually becoming a very important part of our lives? Yes.
- Mobile: First off, I have two mobile startups I’m in right now. So, this means I’m paying attention to facts, statistics, apps, use cases…..I’m on top of it all.
- Fashion/Lifestyle apparel: I’m an advisor to a brand called Citizenshirt. We are gearing up right now to do some pretty grass roots, authentic projects. Watch us build this into a mainstream brand.
- Social Responsibility: If you’re not on top of this, don’t plan on being in business long – this is on top of the millennia’s priority list.
- Action sports: I’ve always been and always will love action sports – it’s in my blood.
- Any good example of strategy: social, analytical, marketing, management, etc.
- Furniture: I have a furniture startup that I’m in. The company is called Think Tables. Yes, we are starting out with writable tables, but we have big plans….stay tuned.
- Embedded software: Software is being embedded into everything. 5-10 years from now, it will be hard to find anything without tech embedded into it.
- Hardware companies: Hardware is something I’m looking at pretty hard. There are lots of startups and entrepreneurs out there today building hardware products. This excites me. I don’t know what I will do about it, but it will be something – I will ride this wave.
- Personal branding: With all that I do, it needs to come back and support my personal brand. What is my personal brand? Motivating startups and entrepreneurs to make stuff and things happen. If it doesn’t fit with my personal brand or the projects I’m involved with, I don’t do it.
How about you?
What gets you horny today?
Throwing out some love this morning.
1. Don’t go to college because you think this is the right thing to do. You have no idea what the hell you want to be anyways. If you’re going to do anything, I say travel the world and live out of a backpack meeting people and collecting experiences for a year or two. Work random ass jobs and have fun. Or start building a startup. I could careless, just do something.
2. Don’t try to meet a hot chick just because your friends have hot chicks. Wait for the right girl to come along. Yeah, you should play the field, but don’t settle down till you meet the right one. Find your warrior princess like I did.
3. Your goal shouldn’t be just to graduate. If you’re going to graduate, graduate with something you can use.
4. Don’t get a job find a passion. Jobs are for people who are depressed, divorced, and pissed off. Find a passion and live it out everyday in everything that you do.
5. Get married when your ready. Don’t get married because anyone is forcing you. If your friends are married great, this doesn’t mean you have to follow. Do it when your ready. Who knows, maybe there are some things you want to accomplish first.
6. Houses are a big responsibility and they will tie you down. You have to mow the lawn, take care of the things that breaks, and more importantly, you will feel stuck. It’s not the cool thing to do to own a home.
7. Dogs: Yeah they’re cute and fun to play with, but they are a big responsibility. Everytime you want to go somewhere or travel you have to find someone to watch them. Do you want this hassle and worry? I learned the hard way. I used to have dogs and they quickly became a pain – I no longer have dogs.
8. I have a little boy do any time. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I don’t even have the kid yet. However, don’t force it, let it happen on its own. God knows when your ready.
9. Divorce sucks ass. I don’t believe in it. You make a commitment and you figure the shit out. My wife and I have almost killed each other so many times I can’t even count. But today, she is my cheerleader and I love her with all my heart. Appreciate your wives and tell them how much you love them everyday.
Don’t live the same story everyone else lives and end up depressed and lonely. Game change this shit. Live different. Be different. And enjoy every second you have on this earth.
There it is, from the heart.
Are you carrying the world around on your shoulders? Are you starting to tire? Are you ready to throw in the towel and say f*** it? Before you do, let me share a little wisdom with you.
I to was once this person that carried the world around on my shoulders. I was stressed out, or pressured out – whatever the case, I was doing this to myself.
Pressure will weigh you down, it will break you down, it will wipe you out – you don’t want to get to this point – I’ve been there and it sucks ass.
Pressure – the stuff we put on ourselves to perform or deliver can actually be a bad thing…a really bad thing. I’m not saying some pressure isn’t good, but what I am saying is that too much pressure is not good at all. It can make you angry, sad, or push you to the breaking point of depression – this is where it lead me.
What I’ve personally learned over the years is to relax a little, have some fun, and don’t put so much damn pressure on myself. Just be yourself, laugh, screw up once in a while, and do not take yourself to seriously.
Life is too short to put all this pressure on yourself.
When I reflect back on my different careers – racing motorcycles and startups, I found that I always performed better when I was just out doing something I love.
Today, I am happy to say that I wake up without an alarm clock, I work out, I take some time for me (Everyone needs me time), and I enjoy the rest of my day working on startups – all this I do with a smile.
I promise you, you will perform better without putting too much pressure on yourself. Its easier to focus and not second guess yourself when you feel less pressure. Just have fun, enjoy doing something you love, and focus on the experience, not just the results.
Like most problems in life this is another one we create ourselves. Get rid of some of this pressure and start enjoying the ride.
What about you?
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself? Are you about to crack?