Have you ever been rejected for a job? Brian Acton has. After 11 years at Yahoo! and out of a job at 38 years old, Brian went job hunting… first to Twitter (rejected) then to Facebook (rejected).
What do you do when you’re 38 years old, competing unsuccessfully against 20-somethings for a job as a systems engineer? If you’re Brian, you go out and play frisbee.
In some time, he travelled to South America playing ultimate frisbee with Jan Koum, who he had met while working at Ernst & Young as a security tester. Now, in the midst of his job rejections, he met up with Jan again for a game of frisbee.
It was while playing, Jan told Brian he was working on a start-up to create a new kind of mobile app, but he had run out of money. Jan had lived on welfare with his parents when he first arrived to the US from Ukraine. Not wanting to go back on food stamps, he asked Brian for advice on whether he should quit and start looking for a job.
Admiring Jan for his courage in starting his own company, Brian replied “You’d be an idiot to quit now. Give it a few more months.”
The topic turned to Brian’s success in getting a new job (which was non-existent) and it was only a matter of time before Jan (who had previously been rejected from a job at Facebook) had turned Brian’s advice on himself.
He persuaded Brian to quit the job hunt and join him on his start-up, creating a new messaging app, “WhatsApp”.
Brian and Jan had one thing in common – Ultimate Frisbee. Other than that, they turned out to be complimentary to each other in every other way. As Brian says, they are “Yin and Yang, I’m the naive optimist, he’s more paranoid. I pay attention to bills and taxes, he pays attention to our product. He’s CEO. I just make sure stuff gets done.”
In a job hunt, all your weaknesses are exposed. In a start-up, your weakness can be supported by your team member’s strength. So becoming an entrepreneur is easier than being an employee.
It took a few months of convincing but Brian finally decided to take the step, reject the rejecters, and join Jan.
Brian managed to raise some funds to keep the two going, while they worked out of the Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View. With no office and no overheads, they put 100% focus at growing WhatsApp as the messaging app with “No Ads. No Games. No Gimmicks.”
In the first year, revenue grew to only $5,000 a month, but user growth boomed. Brian and Jan would switch from “free” to “paid” for the app (charging $1) when users began growing too much. When they saw people would even pay for the app, Brian said “You know, I think we can actually stay paid.”
The company stayed on an exponential growth path and, four years later, Facebook – the company that had rejected both founders – bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, making both Brian and Jan multi-billionaires.
As a symbolic gesture to their difficult beginnings, the two signed the purchase papers on the steps of the building where Jan’s parents would pick up their food stamps.
And Brian remembers a second thing outside of Frisbee that the two have in common, and which led to their success: “We’re part of the Facebook reject club.”
It took 4 years from ultimate frisbee and ultimate rejection to Brian and Jan’s $19 billion success.
Where you are in the next few years will have everything to do with the decisions you make today.
> Are you focused at finding a job instead of adding value to those already around you?
> Are you chasing opportunities instead of seeing the ones that are right in front of you?
> Is your latest rejection hiding a doorway behind it? A doorway to an entirely new, more exciting adventure?
Sometimes, it just takes a change in focus.
“Sometimes the best gain is to lose.” ~ George Herbert
Creative Advice from 11 World Famous Architects
As a creative entrepreneur, you’re probably no stranger to the ups and downs of inspiration. Motivation can come in waves, and when it’s gone, productivity can take a pretty major hit.
It’s impossible to stay constantly inspired all of the time. However, when we notice our creative spark fade, it’s important to engage in activities that rekindle the fire. Often, this means unplugging, pursuing a hobby, or talking with a friend or mentor.
Another great way to boost motivation is to look to other successful creatives. Architects, in particular, make great creative role models because of their ability to juggle multiple tasks and oversee projects like a pro. Check out the visual below for creative inspiration from 11 world-famous architects.
Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?
Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?
Do you serve a customer to make money? Or do you serve a customer to serve a customer? Do you wash dishes to get them clean? Or do you wash the dishes to wash the dishes?
Here’s a story from Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, about ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes’ and the difference between mindful and mindless:
“In the United States, I have a close friend named Jim Forest… Last winter, Jim came to visit. I usually wash the dishes after we’ve finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else.
One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, “Go ahead, but
if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them.” Jim replied, “Come on, you think I don’t know how to wash the dishes?” I answered, “There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes
in order to wash the dishes.”
Jim was delighted and said, “I choose the second way-to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” From then on, Jim knew how to wash the dishes. I transferred the “responsibility” to him for an entire week.
If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”
What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes.
In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink.
If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future
– and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Are you focusing more at being successful, or being mindful? It is a conscious choice that shows up in your daily routine – Being present in every moment shows up in the quality of your products, your service, your communication.
Being aware leads to care. It’s the contrast of being careful and being careless. This care becomes quality, and that’s why greater mindfulness leads to greater success.
Your daily routine isn’t a means to an end. It’s an opportunity to experience the miracle of life every day.
“Be here now.”
~ Ram Dass
5 Quotes for Successful Entrepreneurship
Being a successful entrepreneur is a dreamcometrue for a lot of people out there. Being your own boss, benefiting from your own ingenuity and hard work, as well as creating a legacy are all reasons enough why so many people try to start businesses of their own. However, the majority of these entrepreneurial attempts end in failure. In order to avoid meeting the same fate, you need to examine these five quotes that reveal the entrepreneurship essentials.
1. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain
It’s incredibly easy to come up with a million excuses for why something is not worth doing. After all, the business world is a scary place. Gathering the right team is hard, raising funds can be even harder and with the current state of the economy (this is probably the most common excuse), what are your realistic chances of success? The truth is that you just cannot know and you never will. All you’re doing by procrastinating is wasting your own precious time. Instead of wasting energy and creativity to come up with a myriad of excuses, you need to try looking for solutions.
2. Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
There’s probably no better person in the world to stand behind this statement, seeing as how there aren’t a lot of people in history who had more drastic ups and downs. Winston Churchill’s involvement in WWI resulted in a disaster and, had he given up, the horrendous Gallipoli Operation would have been what history would remember him by. Instead, nowadays he is known as one of the most defiant and victorious characters in human history. Other than this, there have been so many wildly successful entrepreneurs who went bankrupt at one point in their career. Henry Ford and Walt Disney belong on this list.
3. The problem is not a loss of money or credit, it’s a loss of trust. – David Perry
One of the things that a lot of entrepreneurs seem not to understand is the fact that their reputation and their word seem to be their most valuable assets in the business world. If you underpay your staff or fail to deliver on what you’ve promised, the word will get out. Make one faulty promise to a client and your reputation will quickly be ruined for good. You also have your share of responsibilities when it comes to various financial organizations and if you fail to meet them, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble. This will primarily reflect on your credit score. The next time you need some funds, it will be a lot harder to obtain them.
4. If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry Ford
Doing market research is a pivotal tip to making it in the business world. In fact, about 42 percent of startups fail because there’s no market need for what they’re selling or intend to sell. The biggest problem with this, however, lies in the fact that someone has to be first. At one point in history, Blockbuster refused to buy Netflix for $50 million, due to the fact that they failed to realize the potential behind this business model within the entertainment industry. We all know how this story ended. When it comes to innovation, you sometimes have to listen to your own instincts.
5. Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. –Jayce Meyer
Succeeding in the business world takes time, however, time alone changes nothing. Developing the right strategy and then ensuring that it’s adhered to is something completely different. You see, in order to make time have any value, you need to set things in motion and then wait for them to unfold. Keep in mind that, in the business world, time is money. This means that making it, in the long run, is a question of financial endurance, as much as it’s a matter of your mental stamina.
To wrap things up with yet another celebrity quote, Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. What this means is that regardless of how organized or motivated you are, at one point, you’ll have to start altering your plans and adapting to the situation at hand. How quickly you and your business can evolve is something that will determine the success rate that you’re bound to face in the business world. This alone is definitely something worth bearing in mind.
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