In business it’s nice to win big. Doesn’t always happen so when it does – enjoy it.
It’s more important to lose small. And often. So long as you’re learning from it – not that you will ever learn how not to lose (or even how to lose gracefully) but recognizing the factors that contributed to the loss and how to spot them in the future.
Most people have a tendency to win small and lose big. Almost like a blind religious faith – there is a hope that a loser will magically turn into a winner:
Fact is, there is no easy tell if a bad situation will improve or get much worse with time. It’s not up to you: Your choices are binary: Stick with it or cut your losses. In fact, you only have one guaranteed outcome of a bad situation through cutting your losses by making them finite. The other variable outcome is if things change – could be better or could be worse…
So your only choice with clear certainty is to stop being a loser right now
That’s not a fun choice.
Even the most pessimistic people will not quit.
It sucks to lose.
The ego gets in the way of us admitting to ourselves we screwed something up.
And if we went into the decision with the rational thinking.. it’s only a matter of time till our fortunes turn around, right?
How much worse could it get, right?
If you quit now you’d lose – but if you stick with it then it will work out eventually, right?
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you were right, things would have worked out and you wouldn’t be in this predicament. You were wrong, cut your losses and move on.
If things couldn’t get much worse then why did you do this to yourself in the first place? You were wrong, cut your losses and move on.
Even if things work out eventually, there is still a huge possibility that things will get much worse in the meantime. And what about all the time that is passing by with you losing while you could be working on something more productive? You know any Y2K specialists or OEM box builders sitting around waiting for SBS 2013? Nope, they now sell cars and real estate.
If you gotta be wrong, be disciplined about managing your losses and move on to the next thing.
Manage your losses.
Define them up front and evaluate them when you encounter them.
Then choose to move on.
The Art of Failing
Now I have to admit that I do not know the secret of when a fail is a fail: and most of it in my personal experience has been a result of poor planning and misplaced optimism. I’ve definitely made some bad hiring choices but I let the folks linger on payroll for far too long. Ditto on some projects and investments and solutions (remember CloudBlock) and a metric ton of features that went nowhere. I still have a few hundred SecurID tokens sitting somewhere.
Unless you are going to become disciplined, insightful and judicious overnight the game is to document and revisit losses often so you do not keep on putting yourself in losing situations. So that when you inevitably put yourself into a losing situation again you know to get out of it and focus elsewhere.
Most importantly, it’s the courage to admit that you were wrong. Your ego won’t like it.
But as I tell my ego often: You don’t write Corvette & Ducati checks. And if I was such a f’n genius, how did I end up in such a f’d up situation in the first place?
The sound of silence after that conversation is earth shattering. Cause ain’t nobody…
P.S. If you get the reference, congratulations
, IT Business
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For the next few weeks leading up to my vacation I’ll address some business hacks we’ve done at Own Web Now over the years. Some good, some bad. As for any of my employees reading this – get back to work.
Between 2009 and 2010 we hit a growth pain point that was quite literally crushing. We grew more than 10x in a span of a year and no matter how well prepared or experienced you may be… at a 1000% business growth even the smallest of the small issues tend to blow up into absolute cluster@#%s.
We were not lucky enough to be the exception to that rule: Just about the time of ExchangeDefender 5 launch we had issues with billing, support, “growth planning” (if you can even call it that) and on top of working like crazy and constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the game the stress was climbing… constantly.
Somewhere between quitting and working on a time travel machine to find more than 24 hours in the day things had to change. We were either going to have to stop growing or find a way to work without stress.
Now I cannot take the credit for this but the actual solution came from one of my friends and partners (David Wertz, PC Works Plus) who told me about his beer & wing Friday afternoons: Every Friday he would buy wings, beer and throw a party at work… giving staff a chance to connect and chill together.
This is an incredibly important thing for a couple of reasons – giving people time off isn’t going to make them any more productive at work. Forcing them to go through team building exercises on the other hand just gives already jaded people a plausibly deniable way to explain an accidental injury (which is why I will never play paintball). To top it all off, your staff likely had diametrically opposing key performance indicators (they all care about different shit): support is judged on how quickly it addresses support requests but if a sale doesn’t happen because the potential client is asking a highly technical question that only support side can answer then it makes sense to have some flexibility. The best and easiest way to handle this is to just get them all together over some cold beverages and let them figure out what makes them tick.
It’s like DISC, sans the useless bullshit that any 5th grader can game. Jager and Redbull is a great equalizer.
Try it, I guarantee great results or your money back.
Hacking the Hack
Holding forced/paid for social events will get your staff working together in ways that you cannot even imagine.
But you can take it one step further – hold it outside of the business hours.
Wanna know who is going to be there for the company no matter what? Those who hang around even if they are not contractually obligated to.
So if you’re curious if you have a loyal workforce – invite them for drinks after 5PM. Not once or twice – everyone is going to have some kind of a conflict from time to time. Do it for months – you’ll see a pattern of who is a part of your organization just for a paycheck and who actually cares about it and the people that are a part of it.
It goes even beyond that – once people see who is a part of the team (even if they may despise them) it’s hard to hate (or think someone hates you) when you’re lighting up shots with them and going through appetizers.
Furthermore, the people that show up a lot more often will be your feedback to how the company is actually doing and where you have ways to go. You’ll find out more about the challenges they face and since they already clearly care you can throw more on them and delegate the fix for them. People that care tend to do a better job of following through with solutions to difficult problems than the folks who just try to cross problems of the list in an effort to be present 20 or 40 hours of the week.
I’ve read more books than I’d like to admit about managing, motivating and dealing with people – be it regarding performance or “millenials” or lazy or stupid – and I’ve come down to a very simple common undeniable thing: You cannot make people care. All you can do is give them the vision, the means to connect with one another and a path to success. Then it’s up to them.
Now I know there are excuses.. Doesn’t it cost a lot? I don’t have the time? I just don’t like the people I work with! Why do I have to do more than what I already do? Why can’t someone else do it? Hiring new personnel is more expensive than keeping the existing one happy. Time spent with your employees is infinitely more valuable than trying to find the next one – and hate to break it to you but there are as many perfect employees as there are perfect bosses (zero). You have to do more than your bare minimum because without pushing for more you will never advance and get more. And if someone else is supposed to set the example then someone else should actually run the business. Business ownership (and even down to group or team leadership) is a mirror of the person that leads it – so either do it or leave it up to someone else.
In the interest of full disclosure..
Last week we had our last McBeefy.
Well, after years of doing this I have a very good team and a very good idea of who is here for more than a 9-5. So as far as I’m concerned, we have our teams figured out for the next few years. They know each other very well.
As far as a hack or experiment goes, this one has served it’s purpose. It got my business through some ridiculously stressful times, it established long term careers for a lot of my staff and it’s given all of them an insight into how and why we run our business. It’s one thing to say stuff and do it in meetings – and quite another to be able to say the same stuff after flaming Dr Peppers.
There are other little annoyances – such as Orlando office having full 3 shifts and not being able to have everyone out at the same time, people get used to the event and not finding it special enough (to attend consistently) and so on but mostly it’s just the realization that as this company grows both in size and sophistication, the level of networking and communication has to step up as well.
Judging by our employee retention rate (and their subsequent raises), I have to say that it’s worked quite great. It really is the easiest management effort ever – allow people to volunteer to show up at events they don’t have to be at, allow them to take on more work they are actually passionate about and then give them perks and/or raises they are interested in and just let the good times roll.
What is next for how we motivate and drive one another at ExchangeDefender I can’t discuss right now but if you just combine the basic principles behind what makes for driven people and give them the opportunity to prove it. The rest of it will kind of take care of itself.
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Perception is an interesting thing.
In 2009, when I went to my record 41 events, we were everywhere and connected with everybody. Yet we barely scratched larger accounts or managed extreme levels of profitability. At the time, it was important for me to meet our partners, design our products and get them to have faith in my team. All but one person from back then is still with the company.
In 2013 (and 2012 to and even smaller extent) we’re doing less than 5 major events.
Now, yes, Shockey Monkey is a huge culprit there because it brings us partners most of the channel outside of Microsoft will never get to meet. But that is not where we are growing our profits. And there is a lesson:
While people like to interact face to face they do business with people that can deliver results and get things moving fast. Something we can only do effectively when we are in a close connected environment.
To that point..
In 2013, I have spent more time on the phone with partners than in the past two years combined.
In 2013 I have already produced more webinars, videos and training guides than all of last year.
Ditto for documentation, internal training, process facilitation, software design and so on.
We are uncluttering and simplifying our business from the mess of years of ridiculous growth and we are able to serve our partners and our clients much faster and much more efficiently.
And everyone can talk to me. Every day. And nearly any hour – so long as you land on my calendar I got two cell phones and a 5000 mAh battery.
Our largest customers and our most agile small partners are finding it that being able to hit me up or any of my VPs nearly around the clock means stuff gets done faster and more stuff gets done.
We’re able to get our partners Microsoft’s cloud growth (they are up to a billion a year at that now, all taken from the partners wallets if you’ve let them) and it’s pretty much the biggest opportunity that this space has ever seen. But while the peons argue about the pitfalls and try to define “the cloud” we’re printing money with the people we work with and creating solutions around all the stuff to keep people going (did you see the LiveArchive announcement?)
If you’re waiting to see me at an IT event, don’t hold your breath. If you’re sponsoring events waiting for that new VAR and MSP to show up, it’s not going to happen. The reason so many MSPs are shutting doors while so many others are crossing $1mil and $10mil marks isn’t due to some new IT guy tool bundle gimmick:
Service providers have retooled their business to sell cloud services and are pushing “managed” junk that requires a lot of personnel and staff to the side. Those that haven’t are slowly but surely either doing that or going out of business as the tools and their maintenance demand more and deliver less of what clients can recognize as a problem worth paying for.
So there you have it. I have partners that have gone from 10+ to 1 and I have partners that have gone from 1 to 4 – I talk to them all and all I can tell you this is happening.
So if you’re not going in the right direction… it’s time to talk to me. If your clients don’t think you’re going in the right direction… then take a page from my book and spend more time talking to them and less time talking to MSP vendors trying to sell you junk.
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In my recent conversations with my partners I’m seeing a trend of boredom and apprehension when it comes to solution positioning. Look, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that all this venture capital fueled / speculative me-too world of technology is going to come to an ugly finish line. But, should you just cut your losses now and walk away?
That is certainly always an option.. but this doesn’t happen often:
When I see business owners that are taking on new opportunities, I see a lot more caution than optimism, more fear than excitement and with a good reason: people have been lied to a lot. And sometimes you make mistakes.
However, we are now well past the “What is cloud?” conversation and “But what about my hardware margins?” concerns and way, way, way past the “Is Microsoft trying to put me out of business?” fears.
The business of IT is no longer a what/who/how but just a matter of how fast.
We are certainly investing a lot in a wide platform and we’re even putting more resources towards endpoint management. Why?
Because people still use computers, phones and email to conduct business communication.
And the email address is the universal login credential.
For an entire generation.
Without a very big cost or annoyance associated with it.
So I’m spreading my business horizontally to tie in endpoints whereever they may be.
My advice to you (and everyone that has talked to me) is that this works: Nobody makes money playing with LEGO – they make it by selling it. So help more. My team is going to be there for the education, marketing support, technical assistance, migrations and everything else you need along with more tools that are just filtering down for free.
Money can be made fixing every problem. That is why there are tons of vendors and tons of coaches. Yet if you’re really to look deep inside your accounts receivable you’d probably have very few big digit lines and those are the ones you focus on improving. Heck, if it’s a big number it implies you’re good at it. Get better. Everything else – all the events and stories and dreams are fun fun distractions but that’s all they are – entertaining things that are distracting you from building a bigger better business.
That’s all. And it’s just that damn simple.
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Sometimes work-life separation (for those of you that believe make belief fables) bites you in the most annoying of ways. Little dude on the right is my youngest son and is a replica of me in every annoying little detail (except 2.5 years old and smaller)
Over the weekend he ran into my bedroom naked holding a screwdriver and an hex key:
“Daddy, I need help!”
He then ran out the door.
Cold chill ran up my spine, one that probably ruins the day of many people that have worked with me through the years.
Never mind the details, just follow me, I’ll explain the 382 stops along the way.
Right off the bat I knew the following:
1. Whatever it is, it’s probably horrible so just breathe.
2. I’m going to do most of the work
3. I will likely get blamed for all the missing pieces
4. Why me man?
Now while I’m pretty sure that it’s a bad thing to admit that I have a lot more in common with my 2.5 year old (which my wife assures me he will eventually grow out of) it’s really been a mirror into some very ugly personality, temper and impulsive decision making skills I still enjoy/suffer today.
You can’t beat 2 year olds
Sometimes the challenge in management and leadership is getting the job done without killing everyone around you.
That challenge comes from having to put up with childish behavior that is very prevalent in business.
As grownups we can put on a good act. But when we get tired, cranky, miss meals or hit a rough patch the childish stuff pops up and it’s much louder than the act that everyone is accustomed to. Here are some examples:
You get the silent treatment.
You get complaints and whining when you ask them to do something they don’t want to.
You get pouting when you take away their favorite toy (substitute any perk)
You get hissy fits when things change and you don’t spend a lot of time in advance selling them on how awesome it’s going to be.
You get long arguments that make no sense at all and even they don’t know what they want to do.
You get “Bad daddy!” comments or they take their ball home like Eric Cartman.
Having kids, aside from making me face my own demons, has taught me a lot about management and just how many people are broadcasting their inner kid in business. The hurt feelings, the “we’re switching because you’re a meanie” and other childish stuff is a great way to split the grownups from kids – because everyone can only hold up the act for so long.
And eventually you just have to grow up.
The challenge in business (whether you’re like me and do a bulk of your revenue business-to-business, or if you’re managing lots people) is to start it off in the kindergarten mode and then wait for people to flip their kid card over. Then you know who you have to treat/reward/motivate/engage/market/etc to as a grownup and who needs their pizza slice cut into tiny pieces. Reject the nurturing aspect that we’re all engrained with because in business parenting yields no reward and inherits all the bills and blame for trying.
Trust me on this, it will save you a lot of frustration.
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So about 2 years ago when we launched Shockey Monkey Free the platform got a ton of interest and lots of people were interested in integrating, investing and outright buying us out. I’ve talked to about a dozen companies about it in 2011 before we got to work and launched things you are seeing now. Despite the fact that Shockey Monkey is off the selling block for good (and for a while) I have been quite open and accessible to third parties as well as to our partners.
So what I find particularly annoying, given the level of public disclosure, is having to deal with the random – yet so clearly staged – espionage attempts. Folks.. first of all, IT guys do not make great actors. Second, why don’t you send someone that is a virtual unknown instead of people that are blasted all over your Facebook pages as members of your community/advisory/feedback loop? At least get them a fake mustache or something.
Shockey Monkey is an open platform. We are open to working with anyone and everyone and our API is public and accessible by anyone without an NDA at http://www.shockeymonkey.com/api – and yes, we do work with everyone. Every now and then we get a larger client or are involved in a project that needs more than the monkey we ring up Autotask. We’re on their bleeding edge platform, got access to pretty much everyone when we need them and have been with them all over the world. So much for competition. And despite the reputation or what you may think of him, we work with Arnie too. Point blank: We don’t develop our stuff for/against competition: We work for the people that pay for the service and that’s the users.
Now this is perhaps a different blog post all together but perhaps you need to change your focus. There is nothing to Shockey Monkey that isn’t either widely open or telegraphed well in advance. There is no secret Manhattan Project or human genome of the IT VAR at our office. We are just continuously obsessed about delivering what our partners are looking for. The features and enhancements – I not only post them but directly attribute them to the people that asked for them on Facebook in a very public way.
Perhaps you should be a little less concerned about us.. and a little bit more concerned about your affairs.
Because about 10 seconds after your moles drop their act they turn on all the stuff that sucks about what you’re doing and man, it’s endless. I ask them – why, why do you put up with that? The answer is always: Because no matter how many times I give this feedback to them, it goes nowhere.
Running a business that doesn’t care about it’s clients business success (and is only concerned about it’s own) is a business that earns no loyalty and eventually it dwindles because only so many distractions will keep people from looking elsewhere.
This is not a trade secret and I’m giving it to you for free right here.
Time to focus on the client not the competition, k? If you really want to work with me, I’m easy to find.
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I love you guys. I spend most of my day working with people around the world and sometimes I get business model pitches that sound so good that I have to stop for a second to consider how many years you’d spend in jail if you actually pulled it off.
Lot’s of MSPs are getting crunched by the cloud services.
Want to maintain your $49/month/workstation?
Got cheap clients who don’t want to buy new PCs?
Disappointed with the creeping cost of MSP software?
Here is a tip: Give them the new PC/tablet for free.
Average selling price for a decent i3-i5 laptop is ~$350 upwards to ~$500. On a 3 year contract that about $10/month. Want Office with that? Add another $8. Exchange, SharePoint? I got you for that. The other $29/month? Pure profit just for hooking it all up.
Don’t like PCs? The clients don’t need them? Fine, iPads are $300-$600 – Android and Windows are around the same price. PC’s too.
Point is: Hardware is damn near free.
Want to keep your revenues and make the clients sticky: Give the hardware away for free.
Charge for services.
The end. If this isn’t clear enough and you’re running out of fingers to keep up with the math, take a look at this webinar from ExchangeDefender. Then give me a call.
Or you can just sit on your ass and let Dell and Google do that for you.
P.S. May require GoToWebinar codec.
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I’m not quite sure just how vulgar this is supposed to be considering that “open letters” tend to be canned, massively edited, PR angled hack jobs by the CEO minions but I’ll give it a try in a way that I actually speak to people in person and over the phone.
<This is probably going to be very underwhelming since I’ll never be as entertaining as the Vladville version of my alter ego>
We held the first XD Live Online Workshop yesterday.
Despite a relatively low turnout, the feedback was incredibly positive.
People loved it. We had roughly the same number of attendees in every single session yesterday so what was delivered was largely what everyone expected and nobody found better things to do for 4+ hours which is fairly incredible.
We managed to deliver the content we crafted, practiced and felt was valuable without a single commercial offer or reference or recommendation or special or any of the typical self-promotional stuff that is typical of these events.
I’m exhausted. My team is exhausted. This is not our core competency. We’re absolutely thrilled about how well this went and as soon as we collect all the feedback and see what we could do better (a long list) we will plan the second one.
How did we get to this?
XD Live workshop was originally meant to be ExchangeDefender only training.
Over the past few years our most successful partners have hired a lot of people and most of them seemingly without much sales or technology sales skills. As everyone is now forced to sell to survive, the burden fell on my staff to train everyone how to sell our solutions.
Easier said than done. Sales people can’t read.
So we started talking about how to actually train someone to sell our services.
I haven’t made it much of a secret where I think the industry is heading. I’ve also spent quite a bit to make sure we can connect our cloud to Shockey Monkey and sell the whole thing as a seamless experience.
One ugly truth came out of it: Selling technology is different than selling business technology. One is pure sales, the other is business consulting.
That whole “trusted advisor” thing tends to explode in complexity when you realize that the only way you get significant long term revenues is if you don’t focus on the technology (comfort zone) and focus on business.
Specifically, in order to sell Shockey Monkey (and your services, solutions, projects, etc) you need to be well versed in far more than geek stuff.
So last year we sat in front of one of the office windows and doodled a few dozen topics we could deliver.
The Fourth Pillar
You’ll see a lot more of this.. but here they are:
Partners – You, people that use and sell our solutions.
Solutions – ExchangeDefender, Cloud Services, Storage, Data
Management – Shockey Monkey
4th pillar – Education. Binding the previous 3 together.
Last year ExchangeDefender shut down it’s partner program. That is to say, we stopped looking for new partners. We already get a ton of new interest from existing referrals and Shockey Monkey and to be honest we will do far better (we already are) by focusing on making the existing partner base better.
XD Live is the biggest piece of the effort.
We have opened up Shockey Monkey for sale to a few select partners and we are still learning a lot about what it needs to do as the brains of the small business. The amount of inefficiency and waste that strikes your typical small business that runs on Excel and Quickbooks is staggering – if we can help small businesses standardize on Shockey Monkey we can save the cost of having an employee and we can provide the level of insight that would create multiple jobs once the owner or managers aren’t running around blind on information that is not truly representative of what is going on.
Simply put: Time to make this stuff simple.
In order to simplify everything we do (and our clients by extension), we need to be a lot better. I’m putting my money on the line and I hope you join us. If you haven’t talked to me (or haven’t talked to me in a while) about what we do here, perhaps it’s time. No time like right now.
, IT Business
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Tomorrow is the inaugural XD Live workshop event and I haven’t been this excited about something non-software-related in quite some time! I think most of my entrepreneurial brotherin will understand what it’s like when you want to do something that is really valuable and just don’t have the resources to pull it off. Having traveled the world and shared tons of advice/feedback with people all over I’ve always felt that there was a significant hole in the area of business education when it came to small business IT solution providers.
The great news is that I now have the resources and a few very excited, energetic people that want to take that right-sized business education and deliver it in a way that makes sense. Register for tomorrows event, for free, here.
Almost everyone has seen me speak or present at an event – typically significantly slanted towards ExchangeDefender and Shockey Monkey. That is what you get when you go to an industry event: We (software|hardware vendors) pay for the privilege of presenting an infomercial to a captive audience. The conference/event organizers run a business that matches up the need of the industry to learn how to better serve it’s clients with the vendors that are trying to sell stuff. There is no shame in that, it’s not an inherently broken model, it’s just business. Yeah, sometimes things are misrepresented, yeah sometimes the content sucks but the hallways are great, nothing is going to be consistently perfect.
What XD Live is and what It isn’t
XD Live is not a conference. Or an un-conference. It’s not a sales pitch fest you’re used to and it’s not a replacement for anything you may already have been to. It’s not an online conference or online virtual mall or virtual expo.
The problem we are trying to solve with XD Live is that of insufficient, ineffective and inappropriate business education for the IT Solution Provider. This is not about selling or about the keynote or about getting you an MBA – it’s more like reading eMyth out loud or going over key success factors of what makes a lasting impact on sales, marketing, HR, management, customer service, billing, collections – all the aspects of the business and technology that everyone should know.
It’s business training..
It’s an online workshop..
It’s about making your employees more aligned with what your business is doing and broadening their appreciation for everything that is necessary to go to the next step.
It’s also free: the first event is on me. I want your help to promote it, I want your help to make it as valuable as humanly possible and I want your help to make it relevant.
Unlike everything else we do, this won’t be big and it’s not intended to become anything that will have a very wide application, it’s intended to help our partners get to the next level and improve. Just like SBS Show, SPAM Show, Looks Cloudy and other community initiatives before it – it’s about you guys. I hope you take advantage of it. I honestly can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t (legitimate one at least; bitching about the hours not being convenient from, from people that have routinely flown over oceans just to hear me sell stuff doesn’t really compare to a free event meant to improve you while you don’t even have to leave your house)
So… if you registered, your webinar invites are on their way tonight, looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!
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The last post was a bit gloomy, sorry it brushed some of you the wrong way. That’s the ugly truth, business isn’t fair but it’s also not about behaving reprehensibly at every opportunity to make a dollar. If you’re a thug, you’re a thug – the attire is kind of inconsequential. So long as you learn the people to avoid you’re fine.
Speaking of being fine, greetings from Bahamas.
As some of you may be aware, I was not born in United States. Growing up across central Europe and Miami (which is only technically a US territory) I got a chance to interact with lots of different people, different backgrounds, different cultures and different values. When we had the opportunity to move to United States permanently, my father hesitated a bit and my grandfather gave him this little bit of positively-reinforcing advice on moving to United States:
If you can go, go. You should always try to do better.
We (roughly translated: this place, “home”) will be here if you want to come back. But there is no opportunity here, hell every 50 years we have a world war! Every 10 years everything just falls apart.
My grandfather went through WW1, fought in WW2. As an architect saw his creations built and destroyed – repeatedly. I suppose that’s why the bitterness and inability to accept failure runs so strong in the Mazek bloodline: We hope for the best, plan for it to go to shit some way (because it inevitably will), brush the dirt off and start again. You only give up when you’re covered with 6’ of dirt.
I was raised not to expect anyone to help me out.
My parents continuously pointed out what we had. They also pointed out why and how that happened. Although I spent a lot of time with my dad growing up, he made sure I understood why our father-son dates included errands to the bank, why when we went abroad we went to visit factories instead of tourist traps. He always showed me what it took to earn money and how quickly we could spend money and where.
Likewise, they pointed out the rich and the poor. There were some things that the rich did differently, some things that the poor did differently. Ultimately, so long as you have the opportunity and are willing to work hard for what you want, you can get it.
It just involves constantly pushing yourself. Constantly.
There are easier ways of getting there. Talk to Karl. Buy the damn book already. It’s awesome. For 90% of you, that’s the way to roll. It’s a way to do marginally better than the average. The end.
For the more pessimistic-realistic bastards among you
Even if you do your best, something can always go wrong.
Shit happens. Shit is happening right now, I am just not fully aware of it. Perhaps because I’m lounging on a deck of a ship with a mudslide? But I know for a fact that if I “relaxed” right now or started “life balancing” the life I have and the life I hope my kids have one day could be at risk.
So here is the recipe that I have found makes a humongous difference between the average (most of whom eventually fail) and the people that constantly seem to be on a lucky streak.
Sacrifice. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be painless. See the previous blog post. You will miss out. You may not be going to every party, you will miss years of vacations, you will likely develop series of nearly fatal physical ailments (obesity, hypertension, depression) and for a long time your peers will be doing significantly better than you. Just keep in mind that this is the investment stage, if you can take a shortcut such as robbing a bank and getting away with it, by all means take it.
Work. Square your shoulders, tilt your head and rock it like a Vegas casino. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3PM or 3AM, if someone in Australia or Taiwan wants to give you their money, the phone will ring. The email works 24/7/365 (unless you’re on Exchange 2007) and there is no tomorrow. It’s just now, next or working on it. The most successful people I interact with are only available at weird hours of the night – because they are working as hard as I am. Forget about relaxing, forget about your life balance, forget about people telling your wife is going to leave you, forget about people who question you for not being a stay at home mom, forget the people who try to make you feel guilty. Fuck em. Fuck them because if you were down and you needed help none of those people would help you – they would just look down on you for not working hard enough. That’s the haters paradise: Knock down the successful, criticize the unsuccessful, help nobody but yourself. Tell them to (as respectfully as you can) kiss your ass.
Thrive. Hard work pays off. That’s all.
Things To Remember
It’s easier to complain than to try.
It’s always easier to do nothing than to do anything/something.
Tomorrow is always a better day to do something than today.
Later always seems more practical than right now.
It’s all about how you choose to see the world around you and how you qualify the opportunities. Losers work their way backwards – how much vacation time do I get, when is my next raise, if I put in long hours I’m really getting paid much less than it seems on my paycheck, can I take the days before/after Thanksgiving before/after Christmas, before/after New Year, before/after *holiday*?
Winners look forward. The more I work, the quicker I will be promoted. The more often I am around here the more my boss will count on me and find me irreplaceable. The longer hours I put in the less competition I have for that promotion and the more likely I get to move up faster. I don’t care what time it is, I got this.
There is a difference. So long as you focus on being better and surround yourself with people that reinforce your enthusiasm and drive the better off you will be.
Sadly, the world is full of bitter old men who’d rather knock you down and make you feel insecure about yourself. Their message is obviously easier to sell – because you will immediately feel better if you do nothing than if someone tells you to do more. It’s the love hate relationship that everyone has with the gym and personal trainers.
I got two words for you about what you find important: Results. Matter.
Honest time (since I think the vodka is starting to kick in). This is me, right now:
Don’t tell me the hard work is going to kill me – losers die every day. Don’t tell me my wife is going to leave me because I work hard – wifes and husbands leave every day. Don’t tell me my kids don’t know me – they know more about the world and finance than most grownups.
Most importantly: Don’t tell me otherwise because I know my way works. It worked for me, it may work for you.
The only difference between me and the endless stream of bootcamps, fraudulent feel-good 4 hour workweeks, coaches, consultants and other bullshitters: I am still playing this IT game full time and winning at it. I don’t say that to stroke my ego because I could honestly give two shits less what you think of me and my success. That’s between me, my wallet and god (god = the all seeing, all judging, works-in-mysterious-ways Internal Revenue Service). The difference is one day maybe we’ll be bitter about the choices we made in life and wrong turns the fate had taken for us – but one day you’ll also be dead: Living in fear of that inevitability only assures a life of fear.
Flip the middle finger to the people that discourage you and stick your hand out to those that encourage you.
Choose something better.
Be better than you were yesterday.
Live like that and the only thing you’ll ever need is just one more day.
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