Good Enough to Win?



Read this last week in the “The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I’ve heard about this book for a while, read a lot of other books by people close to Ben Horowitz, but for some reason never felt moved to read this one. Thinking about it – it was probably because on the surface his story seemed to be an easy one. Got hired at Netscape, Great (Best) friends with Marc Andreessen, CEO at Loudcloud, Sell to HP, Partner at Andreessen-Horowitz. Easy life.

So wrong. And that assumption violated something I know deeply. In life, business, sports, war – whatever… it never does us any good to compare our insides with other people’s outsides. We don’t know their struggles or challenges – we only see what we see. Never enough information.

It reminds me of a greeting card I have been carrying in my bag for almost 20 years. It’s a photo group of people underneath a sign that reads “never touched by the human hand” and the quote by Mark Twain below says… “there was net yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside the dullest exterior there is a dram, a comedy and a tragedy.”


I carry that card to remind me that whoever I’m dealing with – we all have our story.

Ben Horowitz’ journey was a lot harder than I thought – and this week, that made the fight a little bit easier in my world.

Opportunity Looks A lot Like Hard Work

Don’t know how cool my kids are going to think Ashton Kutcher is after I keep reminding them what he said about hard work.  But this is a great message.

Who knew?


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Seth Godin is my Zig Ziglar

For me, over the last 5 years… Seth Godin has been my Zig Ziglar. He hasn’t taught me how to sell, but how to over come the fear and or resistance of what it takes to be or try to be great.

From this interview…

No for now

  • The people you are calling on….
    • do not owe you a meeting,
    • they do not owe you an answer,
    • they do not owe you one minute of their time.
  • Crafting a perfect pitch letter to get their attention? Not a lot of faith in that approach
  • Rejection from people that care about you isn’t a bad thing
    • It is a message
    • not a message message of giving up,
    • but a message that you just told them a story that didn’t resonate (I like that word) with them that today.
  • They are saying…
    • do not bother me tomorrow with the same story,
    • you will not be able to badger me into doing business with you
    • but what you could do is
      • tell me a different story
      • about a different problem
      • on a different day….
      • because if you treated me ethically the first time, why wouldn’t I want to listen to you a second time.
  • AND… don’t try and get best customer first. Get them last!! start with the ones that are more likely to listen to the story carefully.
  • Because in the end, the best customers just want to know that all the other people have already said yes.

zig ziglar…

…do not become a wandering generality… instead figure out how to be a meaningful specific.

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Real Artists Ship

After some back and forth emails with a real artist, Jessie from Stray Dog Arts, she sent me a link to a podcast interview with Seth Godin talking about his new book Lynchpins on the Accidental Creatives Blog.

It is a great listen and pushes all the right buttons.

I read Lynchpins a few months back and it has been kind of top of mind this summer in my daily journeys.  Its about becoming remarkable, indispensable and doing things that matter.  Acknowledging and accepting the resistance as part of being creative and inspirational and GETTING THROUGH IT.

From the interview….The days are over where we can expect Ford to open up a factory next door and pay us $120k to build cars.  It’s OVER.  What is replacing that is organizations big and small made up with unique individuals that are doing things that matter and most importantly without a manual.  To do things that matter and to do them without a manual you have to get over the resistance and you have to learn to ship…..This economy is punishing the fearful and and increasingly benefitting those that are brave enough to be creative and generous enough to give it away.  But to give it away you have to ship.

The single biggest part of Lynchpins that I think about is the Chapter on Shipping “Real Artist Ship”.  Who said that?  Steve Jobs (even when the antenna doesn’t work I guess). For me, there are thousands of things to get in the way of shipping – it can always be a little bit better if I just spend a few more hours on it – but value isn’t happening when something is still in my laptop or in my head.  If it is going to matter, I have to ship it.

And to ship it – I have to confront the resistance.

Am I shipping today or am I giving in to the resistance.  For me its not a philosophical question it is a daily challenge.  Next

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Winning – When You Don’t Have Your A-Game


I’m not a lakers fan.  Never have been – never will be.  Also – not a Kobe Bryant fan.  But he is kind of growing on me and I can’t really explain that.  So why is a non-Lakers fan blogging about the Lakers?  Because it not about the Lakers – its about winning.

Actually more than winning.  It’s about winning when we don’t have our A-Game.  And Kobe Bryant didn’t have his A-Game last night and he still found a way to win.  It’s about finding other ways to win – anyway we have to – no matter how hard.  Because the closer we get to what we want – the harder it is going to get.  That is just life.

Kobe showed up for game 7 and he wanted it badly – probably too badly.

And what happened in that defining moment – he couldn’t find his A-Game.  I think because he wanted it so much.  That is kind of how things work.  But here’s the rub and what makes Kobe Bryant great (yep – great).  When he didn’t have his A-Game, he did other things he could do – things that didn’t require his A-Game.  He rebounded. He Hustled.  He just worked harder than everybody else.  See – rebounding doesn’t take talent – it takes will and commitment.  He had that.  He got others to step up, led them and then trusted them.  He did that and didn’t fall into that easy place of “why can’t I do this – why can’t I hit a shot – why can’t I get a call – a break”.  He didn’t do or say any of those things.  He found another way.  He did the small things that he knew could could do and trusted the rest.

For non-Lakers fans or even non-Basketball fans – there is something in that game for all of us that want to be great and want to win.

We may not always have our A-Game – nobody does.  You may think others do but they don’t.  Everybody has to rebound sometime and we need to know that.  Rebounding isn’t complicated – but that doesn’t mean its not hard.  It’s really hard.  Find out where our rebounding is.  Focus on the effort and commitment to the thing that is right in front of us.  Our shot will come back later.  It always does.

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