– What’s different about entrepreneurship than rap and sports, is when you say you’re a rapper someone’s like all right, rap. And then if you suck, everyone’s like oh you suck. And when you say you’re a basketball player, people are like, at the YMCA or going to the league? The one thing I love about entrepreneurship is it’s binary. Either you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. (slow music) Being a businessman or woman wasn’t cool in 1992. It was Bill Gates, a fuckin’ nerd. So now that everybody wants to put entrepreneurship in their Instagram profile, and that’s cool in the club, that is just bazaaro world, but that’s also done what sports and rapping has, which is everybody wishes they are. And what’s different about entrepreneurship than rap and sports, is when you say you’re a rapper, someone’s like, all right, rap. And then if you suck, everyone’s like oh you suck.
And when you say you’re a basketball player, people are like at the YMCA, or going to the league? But when somebody now says their an entrepreneur, it’s just accepted. And we haven’t matured into are you a successful entrepreneur, or a wannabe entrepreneur? And to be very frank, I’m concerned about it, because I think, the one thing I love about entrepreneurship is it’s binary, either you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. And I think that there’s a lot of people right now that are not built with dealing with the emotional baggage that comes along with a public loss.
And so I spent a lot of time with young entrepreneurs around the mentality of like, when you lose, are you ready to take that ridicule, and what are you gonna do? The greatest reason I believe that we’re living through such fake entrepreneurship right now, is not only is there an enormous amount of capital in play for these 22-25 year olds, but they’re the generation that was parented in a way that tried to eliminate losses from the ecosystem. I mean this is the generation of eighth place trophies. My favorite thing that’s going on in society right now is 45 to 60 year olds clowning on millennials and making fun of them, and I keep looking at them and I keep reminding them that you parented these kids. – Everybody gets a trophy right? – Yeah, and so we’ve demonized to these kids losing.
I love losing. Micro-losing especially, more than macro-losing is incredibly motivating. I mean there’s nothing more fun than losing regular season games. You know, you learn from them. Come the playoffs you’d like to build on that, but yeah, I think adversity is the foundation of success. Being born in the Soviet Union, living in a studio apartment with eight family members when I was a kid. Going on one and a half vacations my entire childhood. My parents buying me nothing, because they didn’t have, like the money nor the mindset to do that for me is fundamentally the reason I’m successful at entrepreneurship. I’m not scared of anything, nor do I care about anybody else’s judgment, which allows me to navigate very quickly, and my losses are my losses, and my wins are my wins, and they both feel the same. When I hear the accolades, or when I get razzed, I basically can’t hear them.
I’m just so in love with the process. And that’s what getting up off the floor is. You had no choice, it’s in your DNA to wanna play. – I’m wondering what’s the message to a company that doesn’t have innovation as a core part of their business? – They’re in trouble. – How do they respond? – By letting themselves die. – But what do they do if they don’t wanna die? – Innovate. – And how do they do that? What’s the secret? – By looking at the leader of the company in the mirror, and see if she or he is capable of innovating. Everything stems from the top. If you have a company run by somebody who right now is sitting and saying well I’m retiring in 18 months, and I don’t give a shit about innovation, you’re in trouble. Or not talented enough to know how to innovate. You know how many A’s, number ones hire a CMO and say you figure it out, but they don’t even know how to judge it? How are you a CEO in 2019, and don’t spend 100 hours to educate yourself on how modern communication works so that you can judge it within your own organization? Gary, I didn’t grow up with this stuff.
You didn’t grow up driving, you figured it out. I know you didn’t grow up with it, but it is your job, it’s required of you to know how to run your business. And to me, how your business markets and communicates is as important as you knowing how to run the finances of your company. It’s just that some people don’t wanna put in the work to get updated on the new platforms and the new world, and that’s to their peril. The advice that I think will play for everybody in the room regardless of what you do, including if you’re like the PTA president or thinking about running for local office, like I have no idea what you wanna do professionally or personally, but the one thing that has been tried and true and I keep things extremely simple, is you have to reverse engineer the audience you’re trying to reach, and you have to tell them something that brings them value, not you value.
Every single person here that is in power to do so, needs to go spend the next 100 days having phone calls, having dinner, having breakfast, having drinks with every one of their customers and they need to listen to what they care about. And then they need to go back to the pad and cook that meal. That’s all I do. I read my comments left and right, I was just talking with your CMO prepping, you guys were wrapping up. And she’s like are you always like this on your phone? And I was laughing, what I was doing, I was reading comments. Because the qualitative feedback is the insight I need for the next innovation. The amount of people who hope their customers like what they are doing, or they’re trying to force their customers to like what they wanna sell is fascinating for me to watch. – You’ve talked about this, is that people who are dragging down the culture of a business should be, they shouldn’t be there.
– I wish most businesses were into documenting in coach. What most businesses are doing is, Harold’s a dick, but his numbers are remarkable. That’s what’s really happening. That’s what I’m referring to. That if you’ve got somebody who’s driving top line revenue, or she or he is crushing their numbers, what most companies are doing is they’re looking at surface level, they’re like if we fire Carol, we’re gonna lose those three accounts ’cause she’s so wired in there. What they don’t realize is the hidden lost revenue that’s happening with Carol or Harold destroying the culture, and completely messing up the continuity and speed of the macro. – So what do you do, from your point of view what do you do if you have someone who’s really kickin’ ass, bringing the numbers in and they’re just a, they’re a jerk, what do you do with them? – What I do, one man’s point of view is I sit them down. I look them dead in the face, and I say you think I’m joking because you’re delivering, but I’m not joking, and if you can’t be a good human being I’m going to fire your face.
(laughing) – That’s pretty right there. – That’s what I do, and I do it, and I do it, I’m a big shot on stage now and I’m acting tough, I do it in a conversation. I’m like look, I’m not kidding, I know you don’t believe me because you’ve worked at other places that value dollars, and I value dollars, I just value slow dimes. So when you deliver on culture, the buy in and the macro is remarkable. And what it does for the business is extraordinary. I’m a pot committed buyer of this thesis. That you have to fire the best performers that are destroying your culture. (dramatic music) .
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