Films are my private voodoo. Watching Moneyball last night, i thought of some parallels to Entrepreneurship and my own journey as an Entrepreneur –
1. Failure – Major, Major, Major driver.
2. It’s not about the fucking money – it never is. never should be. what is it about..?
3. It’s about the Romance, about being someone that mattered, making a ‘dent in the universe’, Changing the Game.
4. 100% – there’s no such thing as a partial risk. If it’s a BIG risk and you believe in it, go all in. Leave safe for the MBAs
5. You answer to noone. Not even God. – this is the tricky one. I spent critical years explaining product to a crowd that had good intentions but zero vision not to mention vested interest. Everybody has vested interest, hidden agendas, fears that make them ‘batshit scared’ [to quote the Boston Redsox owner in Moneyball] and entrenched positions to defend. When you’re doing things a new way, it makes people insecure – about their future, their jobs, their roles. They come to you with ‘good advice’, outright fear, sarcasm, skepticism, doubt – remember all this is about them, not you or what you’re trying to do. Fuck Explanation. and Fuck them.
6. Don’t be on the plane with the team – you’ll have to cut them [downsize] and make many unpopular decisions and knowing people too well only make it harder. This is contrary to all the bullshit spewed about ‘building a team that’s like family’. You HAVE family. You NEED winners. Knowing them better doesn’t motivate them, or you, winning does. A lesson i’ve learnt at great personal and professional cost.
7. Analytics – Crunch numbers. As a creative guy this is almost as hard for me as it might be for a sportsman. So i surf cool looking infographs that merge art and stats, find people who know how to convert data into stories and am trying to build my own algorithms for decision making. The numbers are an innovator’s best friend.
8. No Stars [on the team] – I can’t say this enough, they’re fickle, unpredictable, rude and generally assholes to work/play with. In the movie, Jonah Hill’s character blasts big clubs for being lazy and ‘buying stars’ while they should be trying to ‘buy wins’. Find people who will value the opportunity you offer more than everything else. Rack up their abilities and see how they play off each other. build small, focused mini teams within that are tasked with very specific objectives that they can ‘OWN’ and help you win.
A point to add here – Stars are only loyal to themselves. I’ve had smart Sales guys think they were the most important people and tell me everything would collapse if they left – well, they left, to middling careers – and we’re doing just fine.
9. Your family is above everything, Winning, Losing and the Game itself. Nothing beats listening to your kids sing and watching them grow up, so make time for the real stuff. Because you cannot win every game.