Fuck you. Fuck surrendering. Surrender is failure and fuck failure. I’m a winner.
A buck says that is the most common reaction to the word “surrender.” Surrender is what other people do.
Steve Jobs never surrendered. He looked at music world and told them there was one way to win, the Apple Way.
Mark Zuckerberg never surrendered. He looked at the world and poked it. (The world then poked him back, and now their poke battle has lasted for about 3 years. Not like Zuck is going to surrender, dammit. Although, he may remove the feature.)
Surrendering is just not something that is done. Failure comes because you went down fighting. Entrepreneurs, dammit, just don’t surrender.
It is this mentality that has caused me such difficulty in my professional and personal life.
It is not that I know everything or I don’t listen, its that figuring it out against all odds is paramount.
As entrepreneurs, if we are trying to change the world and be the agents of change, how can following the trends be anything less than surrendering to the mainstream? Don’t we celebrate the hacker that figured out how to bypass the conventional wisdom?
You see the value placed on not surrendering to the trends when we pitch our companies to investors. “What is your customer acquisition strategy?” / “Well, we employ SEO, SEM, SMM and have a solid viral loop in our onboarding process.” // “Oh, I guess you will need to find a growth hacker.”
And, in the press: “Hey Tech press, I have a business that is streamlining an old world in a way that won’t disrupt it, but support it and help it evolve into the digital world creating jobs and immense value.” // “You pussy. We’re not interested.”
Surrendering is against everything that is taught, placed in such low regard as to seem almost criminal.
But surrendering is how you win.
Recently, I decided that I was tired of being out of shape. I was an athlete for most my life, and breathing hard when I got out of bed has just become tiresome.
I bought the gadgets (as I have done many times in the past). I read the latest books. I did great for three days. Then the wheels came off, and I had zero success. Nada.
About two months ago, I bought a treadmill desk, and I started to walk. A lot. And over a couple of weeks, I was doing 12,000 - 15,000 steps a day on my Fitbit after averaging about 5,000. But, I saw little change in my weight.
My friend Brad Feld suggested I check out Retrofit (that’s a referral link to get $500 off. If you are a Founder’s Club member, I think its 50% off). David Cohen also suggested it, and after visiting Techstars in Boulder and seeing David’s success, I signed on.
For the first two weeks, nothing. No real success. I was certain that it would be the same thing that has happened in the past. I would spend a bunch of money, and see no results.
Then a funny thing happened. I surrendered.
Rather than allowing all the pent up bullshit I had read, heard, tried or believed over the course of life to taint what I was being told through Retrofit, I just started fresh and clean. I listened and just did what I was told.
It was amazing. I started to see results immediately. My back hurts less, and I am losing weight. I am excited about the process and obsessed about goals and outcomes. I am treating myself the same way I treat a company.
I took this same mentality back to Graphicly. I surrendered. I fought to remove the roadblocks of previous beliefs and notions and re-examined what we were doing; why we were doing it; and who we were doing it for.
The resulting clarity was amazing. Everything has become so much more clear. The market opportunity, which was murky, is now clearer than ever (and bigger than I thought). The product roadmap has a cadence and vibrance that makes each iteration more exciting, and our users are delighted not only the first time they use our product, but the second and third, and fourth….
It all started with me giving up. With me realizing that in order to move forward, I had to be ok with surrender.
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
- Julia Cameron