Connecting the Dots

Steve Jobs: "Follow your curiosity & intuition"

Like most children, I loved drawing Connect the Dots pictures. I can envision myself staring at a new and particularly complex page of dots and numbers and trying to imagine what could possibly emerge from all that chaos.

Today, as an adult I look forward in my life and try to imagine what future can possibly emerge from all the dots. Some things are easy to foresee. Some things are impossible to imagine and yet there is a marvel and mystery in what the future may hold.

Steve Jobs delivered an amazing speech at Stanford University several years ago. The link to the video is here. In this speech he looks back on some of the major events of his life – dropping out of college, founding Apple, getting fired by the board, rejoining, recreating Apple and surviving cancer. It is an amazing story of inspiration and yet the central theme is that you cannot connect the dots looking forward in your life, only by looking backwards. You must move forward in your life without the numbered dots that will tell you what your next step should be.

Even though he was the founder and a major stockholder at Apple, Steve Jobs was fired. He was publicly ridiculed, humiliated, laughed at and defeated. In his speech Jobs says that this was probably one of the most important and necessary events in his life. Even though Apple had rejected him, he realized that he still loved what he did. This is what allowed him to keep going. He founded NEXT and Pixar, he helped create Toy Story, the world’s first computer animated movie and eventually, Apple hired him back.

When giving advice to the young Stanford graduates he says “Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else ‘s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Follow your curiosity.
Follow your intuition.
Listen to your inner voice.
Be brave and love what you do. The rest will work itself out. The dots will get connected.

Helen Keller was born without sight, hearing or the ability to speak and yet she was quoted as saying that “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing”.

If you could look back on today 10 years from now, what would you remember? What will you do today that will be worth remembering 10 years from now?

If you read this blog, then you are probably an entrepreneur. If not an entrepreneur, then you are probably someone that wants to create something special with your life. Each day is a blank page. What will you write on yours today?

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Here is another interesting article about Steve Jobs and his career.

Celebrate Your Failures

Last week Google announced that their product called WAVE would be dropped, just 6 months after its birth. What was interesting about this announcement was that Google said “We celebrate our failures.”

This is a smart core value for a business to have. Last I checked, Google was not only immensely profitable, but also one of the most popular workplaces in America. Perhaps this comes as no surprise. Lots of companies talk about innovation, yet how many of them allow a project group to fail without some form of punishment or reprimand? Any company that creates an atmosphere of innovation and creativity must expect failures. It is part of the game.

According to the Guardian.co.uk, Chief executive Eric Schmidt said of the Wave failure that it is just a symptom of trying things out. “Remember, we celebrate our failures. This is a company where it’s absolutely OK to try something that’s very hard, have it not be successful, and take the learning from that”.

Taking the learning from failure

As an executive coach, I have been trained to work with clients in order to help them to achieve their goals faster while enjoying the process more fully. The concept is called Forward the Action & Deepen the Learning. This means that I look for ways to help speed their progress towards achieving their goals, while at the same time deepening the learning from the process. When you fail at something, there is great learning to be had if you are willing to search for it. If you failed miserably then you can surely waste a lot of time feeling bad and defeated. Yes, there is a time for that, but afterwards if you stay with those thoughts then you will just be stuck there. A more powerful perspective is to focus on what you were trying to achieve and why you were trying to achieve it. For example, if your relationship failed, then instead of focusing on why it failed, focus rather on what you desired in the first place.

Google cancelled the WAVE product, but announced that they plan to utilize the core functionality in future products. “I’d file this under ideas that were just a little ahead of their time.“ said Schmidt. Being ahead of their time does not mean that the ideas were bad ideas. It only means that Google will have to try again in order to succeed with them. I suspect that they will. That is the kind of company that Google is.

What are some of the failures you have had in your own life or as an entrepreneur? What have these failures taught you?  There is a beautiful poem by Andre Bjerke called Amor Fati in which he writes “Your worst defeats are rich gifts laid in your hands”.

What gifts have been given to you in the form of defeat and failure?

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.
Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Marathon Man for Startups

Have you seen the old movie called Marathon Man? Dustin Hoffmann plays the part of an amateur marathon runner who gets mixed up with a group of nasty ex-Nazis who torture him with a dental drill. His training as a marathon runner helps him to endure the pain until he is finally able to win in the end. It is a great movie and a good lesson for entrepreneurs.

Sorry to write this, but you have to be able to endure a lot of discomfort and pain if you expect to succeed with a startup business. There are no real short cuts. There are no easy paths to success. There is an old line that says “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. The truth is that there is a lot of hard work and it usually takes time. Lots of it.  Creating a successful startup is a marathon, not a 100 meter sprint.

Read John Nesheim’s blog post entitled: Longest Tennis Game in History : Lesson for Startups.
He writes about the recent Wimbledon tennis match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut that lasted 3 days and ended in a tie-breaker with the score 70-68 (which is 183 games).  He writes the following:

BOTTOM LINE: Prepare for a very long run as you prepare to do your startup. Reality says you’ll be running a lot longer than you believe you will run. And you’ll run into unforeseen surprises as you round each corner. Those tennis players fought to the last stroke. You’ll be expected to do the same. When that is in your gut, your soul, then you’ll have what it takes.

Prepare indeed. Prepare yourself and adopt a strategy that will get you to the finish line with your startup business. Get help from experienced entrepreneurs who have already run the course.

I run a program for European Entrepreneurs called Fast-Track Funding. It is a program to accelerate the business development process and to increase the chances of getting seed funding quickly. It is not a short cut, but it will speed your progress. You can put your business on the fast-track to success. If you are interested in learning more, then contact me directly.