Archive

Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

SylvestarThis is one of the SADDEST stories ever told in Hollywood. His name is Sylvestar Stallone. One of the BIGGEST and Most famous American Movie superstars. Back in the day, Stallone was a struggling actor in every definition. At some point,he got so broke that he stole his wife’s jewellery and sold it. Things got so bad that he even ended up homeless. Yes,he slept at the New York bus station for 3 days. Unable to pay rent or afford food. His lowest point came when he tried to sell his dog at the liquor store to any stranger. He didnt have money to feed the dog anymore. He sold it at $25 only. He says he walked away crying.

Two weeks later,he saw a boxing match between Mohammed Ali and Chuck Wepner and that match gave him the inspiration to write the script for the famous movie,ROCKY. He wrote the script for 20 hours! He tried to sell it and got an offer for $125,000 for the script. But he had just ONE REQUEST. He wanted to STAR in the movie. He wanted to be the MAIN ACTOR. Rocky himself. But the studio said NO. They wanted a REAL STAR.

They said he “Looked funny and talked funny”. He left with his script. Afew weeks later,the studio offered him $250,000 for the script. He refused. They even offered $350,000. He still refused. They wanted his movie. But NOT him. He said NO. He had to be IN THAT MOVIE.

After a while,the studio agreed,gave him $35,000 for the script and let him star in it! The rest is history! The movie won Best Picture,Best Directing and Best Film Editing at the prestigious Oscar Awards. He was even nominated for BEST ACTOR! The Movie ROCKY was even inducted into the American National Film Registry as one of the greatest movies ever!

And do You know the first thing he bought with the $35,000? THE DOG HE SOLD. Yes,Stallone LOVED HIS DOG SO MUCH that he stood at the liquor store for 3 days waiting for the man he sold his dog to. And on the 3rd day,he saw the man coming with the dog. Stallone explained why he sold the dog and begged for the dog back. The man refused. Stallone offered him $100. The man refused. He offered him $500. And the guy refused. Yes,he refused even $1000. And,Believe it or Not,Stallone had to pay $15,000 for the same,same dog he sold at $25 only! And he finally got his dog back!

And today,the same Stallone who slept in the streets and sold his dog JUST BECAUSE he couldnt even feed it anymore,is one of the GREATEST Movie Stars who ever walked the Earth!

Being broke is BAD. Really BAD. Have You ever had a dream? A wonderful dream? But You are too broke to implement it? Too tiny to do it? Too small to accomplish it? Damn! I’ve been there too many times!

Life is tough. Opportunities will pass you by,just because you are a NOBODY. People will want your products but NOT YOU. Its a tough
world. If you aint already famous,or rich or “connected”,You will find it rough. Doors will be shut on You. People will steal your glory and crash your hopes.You will push and push. And yet NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.

And then your hopes will be crashed.You will be broke. Damn broke. You will do odd jobs for survival. You will be unable to feed yourself. And Yes,you may end up sleeping in the streets. It happens. Yes,it does. BUT NEVER LET THEM CRUSH THAT DREAM. Whatever happens to You,Keep Dreaming. Even when they crush your hopes,Keep Dreaming. Even when they turn you away,Keep Dreaming. Even when they shut you down,Keep Dreaming.

NO ONE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF EXCEPT YOURSELF! People will judge You by HOW you look. And by WHAT You have.
But please,Fight on! Fight for Your place in history. Fight for your glory. NEVER EVER GIVE UP! Even if it means selling all your clothes and sleeping with the dogs, ITS OKAY! But AS LONG AS YOU ARE STILL ALIVE, Your STORY IS NOT OVER. TRUST ME.

Keep Up the Fight. Keep your dreams and hope alive. Go get it.

Mark Zuckerberg’s 6 Ingredients For Success

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Leadership guru Warren Bennis asked whether leaders are born or made. When asked if Wall Street would accept a young Mark Zuckerberg in his early 20s as CEO, Facebook investor Peter Thiel said: “Well, we’ll wait until he’s over 25 to file”.  Wise move, considering that Mark’s title on his business cards read “I’m CEO, bitch”.

Mark is 27.  How Mark managed to launch a social networking site after Friendster had crashed during MySpace’s zenith has been widely chronicled.  What’s been less discussed is how Mark mastered the six requirements to succeed, namely Ambition, Vision, Determination, Execution, Luck and Timing.

Ambition

“The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the scythe”, Russian Proverb

The foundation and building block of any successful person is Ambition, or the desire for personal achievement.

People are driven by success, recognition, respect, money, power or fame. If you believe everything in The Social Network, Mark launched Facebook to level the playing field at Harvard and to succeed at getting girls.  Success is relative, subjective and fluid; over time Mark’s definition of success grew to match his brainchild’s imprint.

Wearing your ambition on your sleeve will get you cut off at the knees, but ambition is required to succeed; the challenge is channeling it properly and managing your emotions around it.  When the Winklevoss twins first hired Mark to build their social networking site, Mark never revealed his ambitions to build his own site.  It was only later – far too late for the Winklevoss – that Mark revealed his true ambition.

Vision

A design glitch allowed MySpace users to customize their profiles.  But that mixed blessing created a cacophonous environment which made users welcome Facebook’s clean interface.

Facebook wasn’t visionary in any revolutionary sense of the word.  Where Facebook deserves credit was that Mark et al. recognized the need for a real directory of people, not merely users.  Before Facebook it was nearly impossible to actually find people, you could “google” them but finding the person you wanted within one search wasn’t a given.  We now take it for granted, but that extension of people search and connecting them was certainly evolutionary, and it’s worth noting that most successes are not radically new but extensions and improvements of existing paradigms.

The critics may note that Mark sometimes lacked charisma.  In this context, charisma is a subset of vision:  it allows you to convince others to buy into your vision, but charisma in and of itself is not a requirement to succeed, it’s an accelerant or amplifier.  In Mark’s case, he has had the good fortune to let Facebook’s massive growth rates do the talking for him.

Execution

“Stay Focused, Keep Shipping”, Mark Zuckerberg

When you look back to Facebook’s functionality when it launched, it was bare bones.  Facebook has added features while scaling users, literally changing jet engines at 30,000 feet without missing a beat.  It’s easy to laugh at missteps like Beacon or the privacy dossier and fail to appreciate the velocity at which Facebook has evolved and grown.

Determination

To quote President Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Back in 1995, Steve Jobs added: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”.

Determination, drive, tenacity or persistence is the most important variable, demonstrated by  Mark through his: relentless coding early on to launch Facebook to catch the Winklevoss brothers off guard; adding colleges; attacking MySpace; defending against the subsequent lawsuit from the twins;  repeated encroaching into people’s privacy (which remains one of Mark’s Achilles heels).  But, to his credit, he has repeatedly not cared or believed in himself enough to charge ahead no matter what.  Mark is a constant reminder that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

So those were the first four traits: largely innate, can be learned, and things you can control.  But without the next two, you won’t succeed.

Luck

“A great fortune depends on luck, a small one on diligence”, Chinese Proverb

In sports and in business, luck can be your best friend or your undoing.

Let’s face it: Mark’s had a horseshoe up his butt.  Luck made him run into Sean Parker, who introduced him to Peter Thiel, without whom as an ally and first outside investor it’s unlikely he would have remained CEO to this day.

But you create your own luck, or when lady luck smiles down on you, you seize the opportunity.

Timing

Google wasn’t the first search engine, YouTube wasn’t the first video sharing site and Facebook certainly wasn’t the first social network.  Geocities, Tripod, Friendster, Tribe Networks, MySpace are just some that come to mind.

Mark’s managed the clock all along: slowing down the Winklevoss brothers; launching Facebook on Harvard first to then expand to other colleges; relocating to California; refusing Viacom and Yahoo!’s offers; closing his deal with Microsoft.

While the comparisons to Google’s IPO are understandable, Google ushered a new Internet Bull run whereas Facebook’s is coming at the tail end of Zynga, Groupon, LinkedIn, Demand Media and Pandora’s – none of which have fared particularly well.

However, much like Google’s IPO made it the Internet stock bellwether, Facebook will become the de facto stock pick of individual and institutional investors, pushing demand to justify the lofty price-to-earnings and price-to-sales multiples.

There you have it: success = ambition + vision + execution + persistence + luck + timing; with the first four being things you can control and the last two being externalities that you cannot.

While I’ve praised and criticized him and Facebook, as a fellow entrepreneur, Mark is someone all builders look up to and admire despite his obvious mistakes – reminding me of the Michael Jordan quote: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Courtesy: TechCrunch