We talked about life, business and what’s next for both of us at a macro and micro level. We also enjoyed reminiscing about the early days of the company and what it was like to invent things on a small team just starting out vs later operating within a larger industry-dominant machine focused on constant expansion and maximizing its lead.
We both agreed businesses and opportunities have a lifecycle with different rewards and challenges along the way. Sometimes as things progress you need to be aware of the work / life ROI calculator and how it shifts and can differently impact you over time.
The personal inputs of time, effort and energy go in and hopefully result in meaningful comp, work, learning, growth, relationships and the joy of doing things you’re proud of. As we all progress through our careers, both sides of that equation change due to how we evolve as people and value our personal time while the companies, people and opportunities continue to change around us.
He also shared with me one of his favorite videos, which I believe captures the spirit of the arc of the stages of many our lives, entrepreneurial or not. It’s an insightful four minutes with the founder / CEO of alibaba.com, Jack Mah. I had not seen this one before.
Jack speaks to the value of picking someone to follow, focusing on what you are good at and eventually paying it forward. My favorite part, though is when he speaks to “your mistakes as the income or revenue” of the early career effort.
My favorite quote: “25 years old. Make enough mistakes. Don’t worry. You fall, you stand back up. Enjoy it.”
When I was 26, about to leave a good career to start RevZilla, knowing the stats of startup survival rate, I asked my father if he thought I was crazy.
His response, “What’s the worst that can happen? You learn a ton, it doesn’t work, you pick yourself up and go do something else – with that much more experience.”
At this stage, I’d probably also add, “and make sure that great learning experience doesn’t leave you with crazy debt, though”.
Regardless, glad that my father, Jack Mah and I are aligned on this one.