Written by Current ThinkHouse Fellow & CoFounder of BoomboxFM Michael Hoy:
I recently attended a ThinkHouse Sunday dinner with K4 Connect founder, Scott Moody (also, notably of AuthenTec) and we spent a lot of time talking about demo day horror stories. Product pitches abruptly interrupted by malfunctioning systems, hardware shutting down and never rebooting….COMPLETELY absent clients (gasp). Scott’s a seasoned entrepreneur and has seemingly experienced it all. After a story about a demo beginning with his authorization system screaming “ACCESS DENIED” he mentioned “If you want to make it in start ups, you’ve got to be able to roll with the punches, take the rejection and go again.”
“If you’re going to be successful you have to have the mindset of a beggar with a cardboard sign at a busy intersection, putting yourself out there for everyone to see. And you know what’s going to happen? A lot of people are going to look at you sideways and drive away, and some people are going to tell you fuck off. But, there will be a couple of people that help you out and you have to push through the ‘no’s’ to finally get to the ‘yes’s’ that will get you by.”
I LOVE this extended metaphor. It’s a refreshing take off of the door to door salesman cliche we hear so often (though, its a cliche for a reason…its so true). In each instance you’re being compared to a rugged, thick skinned, vagabond…impervious to the pain of rejection, CONTINUOUSLY
That sounds familiar…
Scott hits the nail on the head. The reality of being an entrepreneur has been glorified by a couple Hollywood shows and a number of big time public exits. In all actuality, its a grind, and a brutal one at that. Your idea; your baby is condemned virtually everywhere you go. The effort it takes to learn from each rejection, to iterate from each failure is hardly ever recognized. We talk about a lot about praising failure in the community, but hardly ever do we celebrate it. It’s a path that few succeed in because of it’s TAXING nature…one’s confidence can only take so much.
So, what happens if you can’t take the heat? You become the lonely kid at the formal who’s afraid to ask anyone to dance…sitting by himself by the bleachers. Forge on my friends, be resilient because in the end, we’re all just a bunch of nerds looking for the prettiest girl to share a SLOW jam with…keep asking and someone will say yes.
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