I came home a couple of weeks ago to my 2-year old son saying, “Dad, never give up! Never give up! Never give up!” This seemed like awesome but strange advice from a two-year old. A week or so later we found out that Dora the Explorer (aka: legal crack for children) has an episode reinforcing this message.
It reminds me of an awesome Ben Horowitz post a few months. Here’s my favorite part:
“As CEO, there will be many times when you feel like quitting. I have seen CEOs try to cope with the stress by drinking heavily, checking out, and even quitting. In each case, the CEO has a marvelous rationalization why it was OK for him to punk out or quit, but none them will ever be great CEOs. Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweat, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary founder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: “I didn’t quit.”
*I met with a friend yesterday who recently shutdown his business that he worked on for about a year. He eventually realized that it wouldn’t get traction and decided to cut his loses. Much more important is what he’s doing now. He didn’t give up. He’s immediately trying to get the next thing going. Head high – he’s onto the next thing.
*I have another friend whose product has taken longer than expected to get live (sounds familiar). Instead of throwing in the towel he got a part-time job at HP to supplement his startup dreams and keep it going. I respect this guy a lot more than the founder who get’s 22k hits on the first night of being live.
I just found this image on Ming Yeow Ng’s blog today. It’s reflective of reality for 99% of entrepreneurs.
We’ve had our own fair shares of highs and low. Let me share one. Last year we launched an iOS game called Steve Young Football. We had some good moments, and some not so good moments. Afterwards I sulked for 2-weeks and then got back to work. A year later we’re being featured again (positively – or not) for our latest project.
But positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. I’m not doing what we’re doing for high fives or pats on the back. I’m doing it because I think it’s the right thing to do. That sounds stupid and cheesy but it’s true. Sorry.
The only way for you to prove that you’re not actually crazy is to be successful. That’s the motivation for a guy to get a part-time job to keep his preverbial startup ball in the air. You (and I) just have to find ways to keep it going long enough to eventually find that product market fit we’re all looking for.
Rarely will it be the first thing you come up with or start working on. So in the profound words of Dora the Explorer:
“NEVER GIVE UP.” I won’t if you won’t.