Today I was researching for my current startup and came across a great tutorial on a program that I’m considering using. While looking into it I though, “Wow, why don’t I just reach out to the guy doing the tutorial and see what happens.”
I then began to break this situation down a little further with a little more of a mathematical outlook. My investment in researching the person online and making a compelling email would cost 15-20 minutes of my time and has the potential payout to land me a great mentor or even partner. More realistically, I will probably end up with his feedback/advise on my business, and a new contact — bu that’s still a great outcome! This led me to an even larger realization I relate back to video games.
I’m personally not a big gamer, but I remember playing games like Zelda, Grand Theft Auto, and Mario — I remember playing and going as far out in one direction as I could just to see how far the game would actually let me. No matter what game I played, you would eventually hit a wall, building, ocean, or some sort of boundary. This is reasonable because game developers can’t just render infinite amounts worlds (yet). But the reason I thought of video games today was because I frequently notice how most how some entrepreneurs think that there are walls stopping them in life or business.
They seem to think that there are these imaginary boarders to their issue or opportunity. In this case, there was absolutely no wall to stop me from looking up who the person giving the tutorial was. Turns out he was a professor at Utah Valley University who probably likes young driven people and will most likely help.
You guys are like cockroaches, you just won’t die!
Another great example of this is the Airbnb guys who literally sold cereal in order to pay off the credit cards they were living off of in order to continue developing their business. They sold over $20,000 in cereal — yes, the stuff you eat with milk — to move forward. Paul Gram eventually accepted them into Y Combinator because at this time the recession had just hit and he told them they were a resilient business. Actually, the way Paul said it was more like, “You guys are like cockroaches, you just won’t die!” — which is the kind of startup one would want to invest in during a recession. Little did he know that these three guys would end up being one of the most successful businesses in YC.
None of that would have happened if they would have said cereal wasn’t feasible to sell, or unrealistic, or too much work. You have to keep pushing through your boundaries and open your eyes! You might just start to realize that the solution you needed was right in front of you. Have the courage and break down your barriers because life is not a video game, and borders can be broken down.