Wow. It’s about 4:56pm on this San Francisco day…at some point over the last hour I heard folks in my SOMA office mentioning that Steve Jobs just passed away…so I did what we do now days and checked my Twitter..and well, sure enough it was true.
I then saw a tweet from someone referring to Apple.com’s landing page and this is what I saw:

Needless to say, it hit me immediately. A deep sadness overcame me — which was followed by tears. A few weeks ago I saw a news story about Steve, which explained his life story. How he was adopted and how he was a dreamer. How he had this me against the world attitude and was always willing to risk everything for these dreams. And although, I knew of Mac, Apple and Steve Jobs, I never knew how his outlook reminded me of mine. And at 30 years, I became a Steve Jobs fan. I immediately felt like this hope inside that I was NOT crazy for spending most of my life dreaming and even though I didn’t know him personally, I felt a connection, and almost an obligation to continue to fight for dreamers like us.

RIP Steve Job. On behalf of all us dreamers and rebels out there – we will keep the tradition alive.

So today marks the 212th day since I moved to San Francisco to build Feedgen. Its definitely been a long financial and emotional rollercoaster.

Its been a crazy few days. Aslam and I are both having issues with our apartments and Cass is sick with a fever yet still writing code somehow. Its funny how I have conditioned myself to look at every obstacle as simply a possible distraction and seem to plow through them with ease as if I expected it to happen. The thing is that I know crap will happen. I know that people will get sick, landlords will act up, and even girlfriends/boyfriends will break up with you. Yet I believe that our ability to be resilient under pressure is a huge key to our successes – both personal and in business. In actuality, my father was the person who taught me to persevere through the difficult times. He’d been doing it all his life. From his days as a Cuban Exile in the 1950’s to now being a great psychologist and businessman; there are not many things that seem to rattle him – Anyways.

So I guess the moral of today’s post is resilience. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress

2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Number 1 makes me chuckle a bit. Just cause when building a company or trying to do something great it literally feels sometimes that you are being squeeze to the point of deformation! Things can get so tough on your mind, body, and soul that if you don’t stay focused and expect to power through obstacles they will knock you down.

Stay resilient folks. We’re almost there.

Great sales people are not only hard workers, yet are students of their craft. They are always prepared and understand the process of selling. They focus on understanding why people/teams/companies buy things; and as silly as it sounds, a lot of the time it’s about simply ASKING and then listening. Over time you will be amazed what you learn.

One of the biggest challenges is overcoming the psychological hurdles associated with developing the mental toughness and discipline that leads to becoming laser focused in sales. Some of the greatest athletes in history were the most disciplined people in their sport. Most people struggle grasping the idea that “NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO BUY”. In fact, MOST WON’T. — and that’s perfectly ok. Some will buy now, others tomorrow, and some will never buy from you even if you give your product away for free! You CANNOT let the “NO”s bring you down. Every no, brings you closer to a yes. In its most basic form, its simply the law of averages. These are laws that all sales people must internalize before they can really be effective.

Now in regards to the notion that: “Some will buy now, others tomorrow, and some will never buy from you even if you give your product away for free!” —

There are a few key concepts to think about:

BE PREPARED:
How do I prepare myself so that no matter what “objection” the prospect gives me, I am going to provide a valid response?

Now this is an interesting concept. Unprepared sales people often sound like liars and frankly are full of crap. And the reason is that they were not prepared, gave a senseless answer, resulting in the prospect to smell their lies a mile away. The result is often the sales person loses credibility and trust. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will always lose the deal; yet you now will have to dig yourself out of the pile of skepticism.

Be Organized: Every great sales person has their own system of staying organized. (shameless plug coming) In fact, one of the premises behind Feedgen was to build a tool that was easy to use, so that sales people actually used it properly and were able to stay organized and disciplined. So although we hope everyone uses Feedgen, find a system that works for you and USE IT. It will mean the difference between figuring out who is going to buy NOW, TOMORROW, or NEVER. Moreover, finding the people that will buy tomorrow consists of making sure that you are organized in a way that will keep you top of mind and in contact with them until they are ready. Again it’s simple in concept, yet requires mental toughness and discipline to execute.

Start preparing today. The sooner you begin to internalize these rules the sooner you will begin to yield great results.

This post is inspired by a fellow yogi friend of mine. The dynamics of being a part of a yoga studio are quite interesting. To many, it’s a place where people seek answers to life’s questions by tapping into their mind and body via this meditative state. I’ve actually been doing yoga for nearly 2 years and am still trying to completely surrender into meditation and not think about all life’s nonsense, thoughts, during my practice. Regarding my yogi friend, I don’t know her much outside of the studio yet could tell that she was a smart young lady and a go-getting. And during a recent SMS chat with her we were talking about achieving great things in life and how I felt that her future was bright beyond her currently day job; which mind you is not too bad. She works for probably the most prestigious investment banking firm in the world. Yet, I have become increasingly aware of how many of these organizations operate and that at times employees are overworked and under-appreciated. In my opinion, I believe that people either get burned out and become jaded or turn into the seemingly heartless monsters they once saw in others; both very sad outcomes.

Why is this? Why do we stick around at jobs that make us sad or we dislike? Are we scared of change? Are we afraid of the unknown? – I think the answer is yes for many of us. We use the excuse of having to put food on the table for ourselves or our family; which is obviously important. Yet does this mean that we have to live in misery in order to accomplish this? I am serious! Is this really living life to the fullest?

I believe that the answer is having faith in life. When you were a baby in your mothers whom you had zero idea what would happen next. Yet you surrender to the natural course of events and things worked out as they were meant to. Now, I’m not saying quit your job and sit on the couch and wait for something to happen, yet I am saying to take a deep breath and confront the fear of the unknown. The fear that is keeping you unsatisfied at work and break your belief barriers. For me personally, breaking my belief barriers meant, realizing that I was capable of achieving as much success as I wanted to in life. And for me, part of how I quantified success was building businesses and inspiring as many people as possible along the way. That belief barrier was broken nearly 8 years ago during my junior year in college. Part of that process was understanding that it was a commitment in itself to continue to believe and motivate myself. I had to also understand that there was a journey involved and that it would not come overnight. And well, here I am 8 years later, still pursuing my goals and loving the journey. My blog is unique in that it is not a story of someone who has already achieved immense success, yet is the diary of my journey and when possible the journeys of the people who are growing along with me towards achieving our personal successes.

I decided to add a few steps that I have identified that might help others realize their passions and begin their journey towards personal success.

1) Get Inspired – I know this is easier said than done and it may take a while to find, yet find that thing that fills you up with joy. Steve Jobs speaks about having to have an undying passion of your craft or business and how without it you will not be able to persevere through the difficult moments that will confront you during your journey. This is a VERY VERY important step. Once you have identified this passion think about how you can build a business around it. Think about the people you can help and the pieces that you will have to bring together to begin building.

2) Help Others From The Heart – I can’t stress this enough. It’s got to be about more than just the money. Sure I want to accumulate financial wealth via my businesses, yet aside of the personal fulfillment, it’s about building something that is greater than I am alone. It’s about building a company that will inspire its employees and their families, and empower them to be great. So whether you are starting a yoga studio or building the next Google, don’t forget that your company is only as special as the sum of its parts and the greater and happier those parts are the greater your business will be.

3) Do it Right – Doing it right can mean many things. Yet, when I say do it right, I mean working harder than you have ever worked, being honest, and maintain your integrity. Look, I get that we are not perfect. Trust me, I am far from perfect yet at the end of the day we represent our business and our business should represent who we are. Making sure that we strive to be the best people we can be will yield great dividends in life and business.

I will continue to think through the concept of “Realizing Your Passion, Leading To Your Success” and write as I learn, yet for now I want everyone who feels that they are not living life the way that they want to or feels that they are destined for greater things to take the FIRST STEP and GET INSPIRED.

I’d love to hear your stories of acquiring inspiration. Please post a comment below if you feel compelled to do so…

I received a call a few days ago from a good friend of mine in California who took over a business I started a few years back. By the way, she was really the person responsible for making the business a success; I simply provided a platform for her to display her talents. In any case, she had gotten pretty bored of the business which was an event promotions business operating within the nightlife scene. Upon discontinuing the business she ended up taking a day job with a company in her area and was explaining to me how it’s driving her nuts! How she was so used to being the one calling the shots and being the owner. I of course laughed and gave a her a resounding “It’s because you are a leader not a follower”. She went on to say how we think like owners not employees and how difficult it is for her. The ironic part is that they gave her a raise after only a few weeks on the job based on her ability to get things done and lead. To most people, this is more than enough to keep them excited about their job, yet for my pal Jennie she can only be a leader, an owner, the captain. It was not too long ago that I came to her with the gift of entrepreneurship and leadership; the knowledge that would change her forever. It’s awesome to see her growth and continued evolution in parallel to mine.
So in conclusion, it’s ok to have the owner mentality. Simply understand who you are and make sure that you are taking the steps towards achieving your goal. Don’t get frustrated and wonder why you are reacting negatively to being just an employee. Embrace it, learn from it, and think about how you can make the employee experience better for your future employees.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.

Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

“As for the future, your task is not to forsee it, but to enable it.”

from The Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint – Exupery

This comes directly from Paul’s http://www.paulgraham.com/startupmistakes.html

18. A Half-Hearted Effort

The failed startups you hear most about are the spectactular flameouts. Those are actually the elite of failures. The most common type is not the one that makes spectacular mistakes, but the one that doesn’t do much of anything—the one we never even hear about, because it was some project a couple guys started on the side while working on their day jobs, but which never got anywhere and was gradually abandoned.

Statistically, if you want to avoid failure, it would seem like the most important thing is to quit your day job. Most founders of failed startups don’t quit their day jobs, and most founders of successful ones do. If startup failure were a disease, the CDC would be issuing bulletins warning people to avoid day jobs.

Does that mean you should quit your day job? Not necessarily. I’m guessing here, but I’d guess that many of these would-be founders may not have the kind of determination it takes to start a company, and that in the back of their minds, they know it. The reason they don’t invest more time in their startup is that they know it’s a bad investment. [12]

I’d also guess there’s some band of people who could have succeeded if they’d taken the leap and done it full-time, but didn’t. I have no idea how wide this band is, but if the winner/borderline/hopeless progression has the sort of distribution you’d expect, the number of people who could have made it, if they’d quit their day job, is probably an order of magnitude larger than the number who do make it. [13]

If that’s true, most startups that could succeed fail because the founders don’t devote their whole efforts to them. That certainly accords with what I see out in the world. Most startups fail because they don’t make something people want, and the reason most don’t is that they don’t try hard enough.

In other words, starting startups is just like everything else. The biggest mistake you can make is not to try hard enough. To the extent there’s a secret to success, it’s not to be in denial about that.

Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Yep, I can’t believe that I am saying it but, yes, I actually really like Facebook ads.

And there are a few reasons why:
First off, they are relevant to me. Because they are so focused on me, I actually like on them and are quite interested in learning more. For example, I am a big yoga lover. I constantly see ads for yoga retreats and products; which is awesome. I almost click on them 100% of the time. Another topic is entrepreneurship; which duh, is something I really enjoy. Again, there are always awesome events and info that come via Facebook ads.

This is a topic is really gets under my skin.

Its like putting a team together to play a basketball game and everyone comes to try outs, and then first game; and then some come to the game but don’t play. And before you know it your stuck playing the game alone.

The problem is that games are not won alone. Teams win games; not individuals. And as cliche as it is, yet logical, its the wanna-bes who just don’t get it. You don’t join a team and give up. Doers understand the importance of commitment and know their role within their team. They know that games are won by a balanced attack.