This was back in 2006. At Odeo, a podcasting company, times were tough. Evan Williams and his team were working hard at making the concept work but were finding motivation hard to come by.
One evening, at dinner, his close friend and co-worker Biz Stone asked Evan a question – “If we continued down this path, we’d be the “kings of podcasting.” But, do we want to become the “kings of podcasting?”
Biz had lots of experience with “why” questions. He had just left Google a year or so back to join Evan at Odeo despite having a large sum of money in stock options that would vest in 2 years. Biz had decided he cared more about working on inspiring ideas a lot more than on becoming rich.
Evan realized that moment that they were chasing the wrong thing. They decided to wind Odeo up and look for the next thing. That next thing turned out to be Twitter.
(From ‘Things a Little Bird Told Me’ by Biz Stone)
It is indeed so easy to get lost in the pursuit of something that, after a while, we forget why we went after it in the first place.
So, as we move into the new year and begin thinking about the things we plan to do (and maybe achieve) during the year, I hope we’ll take a few moments and ask ourselves ‘why?’
I can’t guarantee the result will be Twitter. I can guarantee it’ll help. :-)
Today marks the 50th 200 word idea since the start of the year and the 325th weekly learning over the past 7 years. Today’s is from our interview with Albert Wenger on RealLeaders.tv. I thought today’s quote and story made for a great way to start reflecting on the year that’s gone by (thanks Albert!). I will be taking a two week holiday season break from these notes myself. :-) So, more 200 word notes to follow in the new year and here’s wishing you happy holidays!
Venture capitalist Albert Wenger shared a close friend’s wonderful saying, ‘You never know when you had a good day’. In his words –
“In my first startup, an internet healthcare startup, we brought in a very experienced management team. I thought that was a great day. Subsequently, it turned out that team, which was very experienced, made some decisions that ultimately led to the demise of the whole thing. It turned out not to be a good day. Conversely, when the deal to buy a software company fell apart, I thought I had a terrible day. I had worked intensely on something for 2 years and it fell apart. That, though, turned out to be one of the best things – I wouldn’t be here doing this with you if the deal had happened. I would be in Cleveland working with that company.
One of the things I have come to learn is that you shouldn’t get too depressed on the downside, or too excited on the upside – just keep plugging away. Eventually, good things happen.”
“You never know if a bad day is a bad day” – converse of the Albert saying to give us heart as we think of a bad day/phase