Ben Horowitz wrote one of the most important posts titled “The Struggle”, every entrepreneur needs to read it. I have been watching the olympics the last few days and it has been incredible. The winning, the tears, the national pride and sense of achievement, everything an athlete trains almost all their lives for. I have started to focus more on those who do not win, how do they take it? how do they face that life event? Especially the ones who are expected to win but don’t even finish in the podium. That is what it feels like when one goes through the Struggle as Ben put it. I had an interesting conversation with an entrepreneur yesterday and I know that he is going through the Struggle right now, I wanted to remind him that “This is not checkers; this is mutherfuckin’ chess”
This is not checkers; this is mutherfuckin’ chess – Technology businesses tend to be extremely complex. The underlying technology moves, the competition moves, the market moves, the people move. As a result, like playing three-dimensional chess on Star Trek, there is always a move. You think you have no moves? How about taking your company public with $2M in trailing revenue and 340 employees, with a plan to do $75M in revenue the next year? I made that move. I made it in 2001, widely regarded as the worst time ever for a technology company to go public. I made it with six weeks of cash left. There is always a move.
There is always a move! and I cannot emphasize enough how having the focus on what needs to be done to win rather than whats not working is paramount. I have written about The Excuse Department is Closed, I don’t want excuses give me solutions, how are you going to make it work with what you have, don’t focus on what new feature is going to bring customers in! focus on how you are going to hustle to get a customer who has said No to Yes… thats Winning. As Ben puts it while you are driving a race car, the trainers always hammer it into the driver that they need to focus on the road and not the wall, because if the driver focuses on the wall, the probability of the car crashing into the wall increases exponentially. Admit it you have done this, everyone goes through the Struggle, I am sure Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison have gone through the Struggle. It is not how hard Life hits you, its how you react to it and how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward… that is how winning is done! Struggle is a path to greatness, I have been reading and asking everyone who has made it as an Entrepreneur and everyone tells me that you have to go through the Struggle, it is a rite of passage. So,
don’t fight it,
don’t doubt it,
don’t focus on the wall and
don’t think it is all your fault
just focus on the small things that can be done to keep moving forward. Thats how you pass through the Struggle!
- The Struggle (techcrunch.com)
- Entrepreneur has new game plan for raising capital (miamiherald.com)
- The myth of the serial entrepreneur (swombat.com)
- Entrepreneurs With ‘Founder’s Disease’ Will Make Any Investor Run Away (businessinsider.com)
- “The Struggle is where greatness comes from” (i.saac.me)