Optimizing Startups in the Game of Life

Volume 3, Issue 41

Before launching into this week’s post, I want to share details of the memorial for our esteemed and fabled colleague, Erwin Ephron — a legend in his own time.

 Erwin Ephron Tribute

A memorial celebrating the life of Erwin Ephron will be held 5:30 pm on Dec. 5 at Simulmedia’s offices at 670 Broadway, New York. Capacity is limited and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’d like to attend, please contact ephronmemorial@mediapost.com. Please put “Remembering Erwin Ephron” in the subject line and provide your name, company/affiliation, email and phone number. 


You start by playing life as a game with the working hypothesis that the Universe is playing it with you, aware of you, because you are really the same Being as the Universe.

You live life this way not because you can prove with certainty that this is the truth about reality, but because even as a mere useful fiction it seems pragmatically superior to every other way of life.

You roll with the punches, seeing how they convey useful future-oriented information you need, which more than justifies the temporary discomfort.

You simply have more fun, seeing everything through this lens, feeling the love, seeing problems as opportunities.

You don’t drop anything because of this lens. It doesn’t lull you into a state where you can be tricked. Believe me, I have been in that other state of Candide-like naiveté suited to some other world, and it is dangerous when used here on planet Earth. You can’t assume everything will go your way instantly. That’s the fun part. Otherwise it would all be too easy, no drama element. Like a movie with no central conflict or predicament.

So playing the game of life recently I had a couple of nights in a row of dreams that left me feeling out of control. Probably a sense of not having allocated bandwidth to cover every detail, or maybe not even having the capacity to do so. Writing books, videos, blogs, consulting for interesting companies, and driving two startups is a lot on the plate.

I can’t help it about startups. I love startups. In the game of life startups are not only the most fun, they allow the growing tip of dreams of what might be possible to edge their way into reality.

Startups are the heart of the American Dream.

Technology startups are where the action has been for decades.

You can do a startup from wherever you are, although you might have to stand aside and allow your employer company to reap the benefits. This is still fun and great experience.

What service or product do people you know need that could be fulfilled by a startup?

Is there something that could be invented and patented to meet that need?

Look around and see which people or companies could be partnered together to effect some great new advantage. If they almost fit but there’s a part missing, that part is the startup.

Look around and see which people impress you the most that are not yet celebs. Who knows the most about the subjects you’ve been thinking about when you think about a particular startup opportunity.

Make sure all of your present business relationships benefit, by optimizing the startup that way. Some of your business partners could actually be doing business with the startup from day one, and might seek strategic interest in it.

Find people who are blown away by the opportunity and are the best people to run it and then incentivize them to do so. Make sure they can feel the stock in their hands. Lead at first so they see the direction and then ask them to make decisions without you (establishing protocols for exceptions where the top people cannot agree).

Continue to knock one out of the park weekly for each of your consulting clients or your employer while doing your startup. Make that your number one business priority each week and rely upon the team you have put in place to run the startup. Make sure their benefits are tangible even if only on paper at first. A startup without sufficient drive will not succeed. Action items must not drag on.

Know how to not be knocked out in the first round. A long time ago, the right decision would have been to downsize my company to Jim Bell, myself, and one known employee in the basement of One State Street Plaza, running the Centigram machines and doing everything else. Looking out from my office on the 31st floor at the Statue of Liberty with pontoon planes landing in the water around it and feeling the 34 warm bodies in the adjoining offices, I took another path that closed that startup within a year. At least it gave Modem Media a clear field in which to make its high mark. Both companies were headed toward the same space.

War stories are part of the fun of the game of life — especially when we “get” the lesson.

Wishing you all fun in the game of all games, Life,

Bill 

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

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