Silicon Valley Tinted Glasses
Silicon Valley is full of companies with great stories. We’ve all heard of them, Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, some have even been made into great movies like Jobs and The Social Network. These stories inspire people to try and create their own success stories. The sad fact is that 90% of startups fail and those are the ideas that even make it to the startup stage.
Movies have a unique way of creating reality. I was watching John Wick 2 last night where they are in a very decorative hotel lobby in Rome, where in reality it’s actually the bar of an upscale hotel with statues added. I remember being in Venice and trying to hunt down a church from an Indiana Jones movie. When I found it, it turns out they only used the outside for the film and the interior was all created on a film set with no link to reality at all. There are many differences from the Social Network and the real Facebook story, by the director’s own admission they were more interested in telling the most interesting story rather than telling the real story, which is why Mark Zuckerberg refused to help them with it. My point is, live the book, write the movie. When you are thinking about starting your own company you must forget about success, forget about the movie. That’s for Future You to worry about, if and when you make it.
You don’t hear many stories about the failed startups. History is written by the winners, so you can see why history sounds so rosey. The few failure stories out there are usually still written by the winners. How they failed so much before they succeeded. You hear how Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates all dropped out of school or college. These are some of the few successful people who dropped out and made it. Most people that dropped out did not become billionaires.
The reality is, it’s hard work, really hard work, with a lot of sacrifice needed to even have a chance of success. For the fairy tale to exist, one must have eaten a few poisonous apples. The problem is that we all want to be an overnight success. As Jeff Bezos said, Amazon’s overnight success took 10 years.
If you want guidance on how to be successful you need to focus on what you’re doing and not on the outcomes. Ignore the day to day results at first because success doesn’t just happen like in the movies. You need to work your arse off, and you need to do it everyday.
Have a vision, a goal. Work out what you want, clearly define it and work out why you want to achieve this vision. What were you born to achieve? When you are passionate about this vision and you know you can make a difference, it becomes more than that, it becomes a calling. A calling is something you owe the world and you cannot stop until you deliver it. When you have a clear vision, the work becomes easier. Hard work becomes less effort.
Once you have that vision, don’t let people put you off. So many people will tell you it’s too much hard work or your dreams are too big, ignore them. Believe in yourself. Before Roger Bannister ran the 4 minute mile it was impossible. Once he broke it, it was broken again the same year. Once a goal becomes real, suddenly people believe and commit to trying harder. Suddenly it’s not impossible
Above all else, work your arse off. Success does not come easy. Yes there will be late nights, and so much coffee you’ll have wished you’d bought stock. There will be failures and close calls. There will be stress and sacrifice. But if you have a clear vision and you are committed, you can succeed. You won’t succeed by half assing. You won’t succeed by giving up. If you want something take it. Be prepared to give it all and more. After all, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Don’t become another statistic, live the book and then we’ll make your movie.