I’m not the biggest soccer fan in the world, but I did watch this morning’s match between the United States and Slovenia. It seems Boulder is on fire with World Cup fever and it’s contagious. The second half was thrilling, the United States rallied from a 2 goal deficit to tie the match. With the US playing fantastically, the stage was set for the win, but a beautiful US go-ahead goal in the final minutes of the match was mistakenly disallowed by a referee. Due to the scoring style of the World Cup, a tie instead of a win may impact US advancement in the tournament.
As everything these days does, it got me thinking about correlations to our startup. Clearly earning a win doesn’t mean you win. In the startup world, “success” ratios are measured in single digits, so the thrill has to come from more than the end-game, it must be rooted in passion and enjoyment for the playing the game. The game is incredibly difficult, with a steep learning curve and tons of obstacles. Most founders have a defiant streak, and their drive to succeed only increases with the size of the obstacles and number of naysayers. At GE if an exec told you they didn’t like an idea, it instantly died, and this never sat well with me. It’s nice to be part of a community that thoroughly embraces succeeding in the face of adversity.
My own adversity has been learning to code and this week has been especially challenging as I’ve taken a larger role in developing the front-end and Chad focusing more on the back-end. Two days ago, in the midst of a CSS headache I cursed pretty loudly and Chad respond “you should be loving this man.”
He was right, of course, and his little aside snapped me back to the big picture. It does feels great to pick up a new skill and feel like it’s something you can eventually master. This past week I went from knowing nothing about CSS, HTML and AJAX to creating a new Nudgems landing page. Check it out, what do you think?
The soccer players today aren’t out for the count, they’ll get over the injustice, and come out swinging against their next opponents to salvage a berth to the next round. They are playing to win and they’ll be disappointed if they lose, but they’re surely enjoying the World Cup experience regardless. It’s the same for us. We started this business to win, but as our closest confidants already know, we are enjoying one hell of a ride!