The Men Who Failed 1,000 Times

Welcome to the club. That’s what you hear when you tell someone about your bad day at work. They go through the same shit you do. But that’s the magic of being human. We are all the same, we breathe the same, and most of all we bleed the same. So what makes the ordinary extraordinary? What makes the smart, smart? The dumb, dumb? Effort, it’s the only thing we can control. I’m learning about effort in a whole new light these days. Effort is the gas that keeps our entrepreneur engine going. Even taking the topic slightly off of entrepreneurship, effort is what it takes to succeed at virtually anything.  I never looked at it that way before. I was blind, but now I see.  So why do most people lack effort? Pain.

We hate to be hurt. That girl didn’t return your call? Stings. That failed meeting that cost you money? Ouch. That punch in the face from MMA practice? Get the ice. These are all painful no doubt, but the biggest pain of them all is regret. Nothing is more painful than knowing if you didn’t eat those extra Twinkies, you would be 5 pounds lighter. If you wasn’t scared to take that shot, your team would be champions. Regret hurts so much more than most pains, but it’s the most suffered pain of all.  We all feel pain, but how do we all use pain?

 

jimrohnPerception is powerful. Pain from failure can make you quit right on the spot, but depending on how you view it, it can be a motivator. Failure is nothing but a opportunity to try again, if you view it that way of course. Another analogy I think is great is the pain you get from working out. You get sore and defeated at the gym repeatedly, but you know once you heal you will feel like Superman. Failure is no different, your getting stronger.

Who are some of these people who failed multiple times before reaching greatness? I wanted to highlight two of my favorites, but this isn’t hardly scratching the surface of the men and women who put in work night and day.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison had so many failures. I just read about his failed cement company not too long ago. He had a cement company?  Exactly. Who the hell recognizes and remembers failures when its followed up with success? Here is a man who teachers said was too stupid to learn anything. He overcame that and became one of the worlds most famous inventors.  In 1878 Thomas Edison experimenting with incandescent lights, tested 6,000 different iterations before finding the one that worked. A news reporter once asked Edison “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” His answer after that gives us the biggest clue of them all: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Perception.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a story we are all familiar with. He was cut from his varsity high school basketball team, they said he was too short. That didn’t stop him, he played phenomenal basketball on the junior squad, and made an even bigger splash once he got into the varsity the following year. He couldn’t control his growth, he played with the cards he was dealt. Effort. Even in the NBA we ignore the many failures Jordan himself acknowledges.  Are you willing to miss a shot 9,000 times? In his own words:

jordan

I wrote this post because I was inspired by a recent quote I read. It said “Genius is persistence in disguise.” These men you see above, they are no different from you. The only thing they did was not quit. They kept going, they kept hustling. I used Obama in the main picture because so many of the ideas he feel can move the country forward, die in the hands of congress. The healthcare law however is huge and historical, no matter what your opinion is on it, he will most likely be remembered for “Obamacare.” I say that to say this. We fail 1,000 times, people only see the success. The world will only remember you for your failures, if that’s where you stop. That’s if they even remember you at all.

You want to succeed? Fail 1,000 times.

*This post originally appeared on ThePhatStartup.com

The Art Of Not Giving a F*ck

Pardon my French. Not giving a fuck isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It’s actually more about focus and caring only about things that matter. I recently started reading “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday, and the entire book is a tactical guide to only focusing on the things that matter to get through tough times.

The more I read, the more I started to think of well known entrepreneurs in different worlds who used the same attitude to reach their success.  Why is not giving a fuck important? Because the world is filled with distractions. We care about way too many things.

You think going to that party is important, it’s not. You think playing an extra hour of Call Of Duty is important, it’s not. You think tweeting about Scandal every Thursday night is important, it’s not. You may think waiting for everything to be perfect for your software company to launch is important, but it’s not. This list can go on forever.

When it comes to business the art boils down to whether you think you need to follow certain rules to succeed. Are you worried about rubbing people the wrong way with certain marketing tactics? Are you worried about using the word “fuck” in a blog post a number of times? Being politically correct? Stop trying to be perfect and use what you know to adapt. Here are some of the coolest examples I want to show you:

AirBnB

blog_Airbnb02

The now famous billion dollar home sharing startup AirBnB started out pretty rough. They had contractors who would personally contact people who listed their homes on Craigslist. Some critics thought this was a dirty tactic, and it even got AirBnB to admit they hired people to do this job. But they also condemned it as well.

“This is not a tactic we condone or endorse, and it is our policy to forbid such actions.”

Many people believe this was a smart growth hack that contributed to the early success of AirBnB. Whether the company claims they had knowledge or not isn’t relevant anymore, it happened. This is a clear case of not really giving a damn about the conventional rules, and thinking outside of the box on how to get users. Its genius, who really wants to deal with Craigslist when AirBnB created a better, and more safer experience?

50 Cent – How To Rob

We at The Phat Startup clearly admire 50 Cent as a businessman. He is mostly successful because he understands this art more than any other rapper today. Hip Hop is a competitive genre of music, and artist beef with each other occasionally. As an upcoming artist 50 Cent decided he didn’t want any friends, and took a risk clowning on every relevant artist at the time. This was a huge gamble for a new artist, but it paid off royally.

The typical route would be to go find a hit record that could break on radio, and feature one of the artist he dissed. 50 knew he didn’t have much commercial appeal at the time, so there was only one way to get his name known. Go knock out the biggest kids in the school yard. The song played on the radio, got placed on tons of mixtapes, and gave him the controversial formula he would use to go sell two diamond albums.

In a recent interview 50 reveals making amends for some of his past rap beefs. But this is all after he profited from them.

Reddit

If I were to tell you that Reddit, one of the most powerful social networks today started with fake users would you believe me? In its early days Reddit faked discussions with multiple fake accounts they and other early users created. This “fake it til you make it” approach worked, because it convinced real visitors that the site was not dead.

If they revealed their tactics  at the time they would have gotten laughed out of the room. Faking users seems so criminal when you want to build a startup, but it makes so much sense as a way to drum up activity. They didn’t give a fuck what people would think, and that gave them the freedom to come up with such a creative growth hack.

I learned from Tim Ferris we should implement first and apologize later. Paul Graham looks for this same art in founders that he invest in:

“Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They’re not Goody Two-Shoes type good. Morally, they care about getting the big questions right, but not about observing proprieties. That’s why I’d use the word naughty rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules, but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant though; it may be implied by imagination.”

How can you use this way of thinking to push your business forward? I’m not telling you do something illegal, but don’t be afraid to bend the rules a bit. Success has no standards. There are way more examples we could list. What are some of your favorites?

Originally posted on ThePhatStartup Blog.

Birthday thoughts

I’m writing this on my way home from finishing out my birthday weekend. What I learned this year is patience is everything. I’m just happy god allowed me room to make mistakes and grow. Also, giving me the ability to help friends going through that as well. I met some amazing people, and had some even more amazing experiences. I’m hoping to do 10 to 20 times better as 28 year old. It’s no secret im looking to surpass a million dollar net worth before I’m 30 and I’m very dead set on that. I’m also looking to create that same worth in value for others. I’m dead set on that as well, maybe even more.

Thank god for helping me make it this far. Peace.

-ant

On Life Or Death Situations

I remember it like yesterday. I was 14 years old. My mother is very religious, so she used to drag me and my older brother William to church with her all the time. One night, she had us come with her to a meeting that involved the church anniversary. We were upset, but understood that it was pretty late, so we didn’t want her to be alone at night. So we went along.

Lucky for us, we were not the only kids who got dragged along with their parents to this church meeting. We grouped up with 2 other boys and went just outside the church doors to talk. We started debating who we thought were the best rappers at the time and what the best video games were. I don’t know how it lead to this, but we began to start freestyle rapping to one of the church boys beat boxing.

As I start to do my corny rap, in a distance I see a boy running as fast as he can down the street towards us. As he got closer, you can see that he was being chased by two guys with gang colors on them. The boy eventually got near us, and ran right past us, it was so quick. One of the guys chasing the boy continued the pursuit, but the second one spotted us and stopped immediately.

Fuck.

I began to back up slowly towards the church doors to open it, but it was locked. I was giving signals to my brother and the other guys to back up with me. There was a doorbell there, and I placed myself in front of it pressing it radically behind my back so the guy could not see. For some reason that night, the doorbell did not work. I was the first person he walked up to.

“What that red be about?” he said to me. I understood what he meant, this particular area was known to be ruled by a Bloods gang. I had no real knowledge of the area, but I knew enough to know he was referring to something regarding his gang colors. The only thing was, I wasn’t wearing any red. After he said that, the first guy who was chasing the boy earlier came back. He yelled at his partner “come on!” His partner told him “go ahead” he wanted to “handle us.” The first guy looking frustrated just ran off, and left us with his partner, asking me again “What that red be about?”

“I don’t know” was my answer. After I said that, I looked down…. and saw a gun at my lower chest.

At that moment, all I could feel was the wind blowing on my face. I began to think about a bunch of random shit. Is this what the TV shows and books always talked about? Is this really it? Is this the end? I looked up at my brother and he looked horrified, as well as the other two boys. The guy was wearing an all black hoodie, with a red bandanna covering most of his face. I’m thinking to myself, at least let me see the face of this coward who is going to do this.

My brother said something. I can’t remember what it was, but it was bold and it took the guys focus off of me and towards William instead. He walked towards my brother, and I inched towards my brother too, showing that I was with him no matter what. Then something happened.

A little girl stood at the church door glass looking at us. I don’t think she was really aware of what was happening, she just looked. The guy then put the gun under his hoodie, but had it still pointing at us through the fabric. He then asked, “What you got on you?” This turned from a guy looking to do the unthinkable, to a robbery. As crazy as it sounds I was relieved.

We were kids, we had no money. But my brother took my CD Player and handed it over, and old me it was the smart thing to do. The guy took the CD player slowly backed up, then ran off. We immediately ran to the door and told the girl to open it. Thank God. The crazy part is, this is right outside of a church.

As soon as I walked in the church I was very normal explaining the situation, and then I just started crying my ass off.  That could have went either way, if it wasn’t for that little girl at the door. That night helped to shape who I am today. Life is short, and we only get one. There is a gun at my chest everyday, and I have to change the world before the trigger gets pulled.

Excuse any typos, or grammatical errors. Will fix later, typed from iPhone

Build Your House On Value

Common advice I used to always receive is to network and be a connector. While that’s a good way to come up, it’s not stable by itself. Its shaky, like a house of cards. I think networks are definitely important, but creating some form of value as a foundation to build your success “house” on is even better.

Value doesn’t catch feelings, value can’t stab you in the back, value can’t just decide it doesn’t like you anymore, in other words value isn’t human. If you build a house based on connections alone, you can go very far, but one card can cause the whole house to collapse. Then what do you have to fall on?

Lately I have been reading a ton of bios from great entrepreneurs and many of them who are wildly successful, didn’t get there by meeting a bunch of people. They got their because they locked in and created something incredibly valuable. The networking and helping people personally was like the icing on the cake. So do both.

Lock in. Create.

“We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value to the marketplace, but we get paid for the value, not the time.” — Jim Rohn

How To Hustle Content Like A Movie Theater

This post originally appeared on The Phat Startup a while back. I thought it was still relevant, given the heavy focus on content all brands are now pushing towards. So, time to give it new life!

I had a great conversation with The Phat Startup co-founder James Lopez about Jay-Z’s ownership with the Nets. There were people criticizing him as if his position with the ownership club didn’t mean anything financially. Well, they were wrong. Jay has pulled a classic move that we jokingly coined the “movie theater hustle.” Give away the movie for little or nothing, and just make money selling the popcorn. Even though we were kidding around, its really a unique analogy for delivering value.

Continue reading

Faith Without Works Is Dead

I’m as patient as they come, but sometimes when something clicks in me I ask myself “damn, why couldn’t I have figured this out earlier?” But I accept the way life comes, because everything surely does happen for a reason. Lately I been somewhat addicted to James Altucher blogs and Jim Rohn audio tapes. I connect with them. They come from places where I have been, and even where i’m currently at mentally, physically, and even financially. To “choose yourself” as James would say is to not let the world put you in the rat race, and to take hold of your destination. You can’t just say it, you need a daily practice that stimulates you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

There were times in my life when obstacles got so hard I would get down on my knees and pray: “God, why me?”, “God, please help”, “God, give me this or give me that” you get the point. Little did I know all the things I was asking for was already given to me…..and you. See we are born chosen, its the reason we are even breathing. Its the reason you are alive, God chose you. The only thing left was for you to choose yourself. And that my friends requires a little work. Continue reading

Most Valuable Twitter Accounts To Follow In 2014

This is really a best of 2013, but i’m looking to help people out moving forward. These following accounts have been a blessing, and helps to keep my Twitter timeline full of value, inspiration, great information, and laughs. You are what you eat, and who you follow on Twitter. I believe what you see on your timeline can effect your thinking, especially if you are a heavy user. Some nights I just can’t escape the talks of the tv show Scandal, others i’m joining in on how horrible my Knicks are. But overall, my experience on Twitter is a learning and networking experience. If you don’t already follow these accounts you should start today. In no particular order, except for the first one ;)

The Phat Startup

This goes without saying. I wish I could take credit for the dope tweets that come out of this account, but they are mostly from my partner James Lopez. On any given day you can catch inspirational pictures, links to our exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs, or just random rap lyrics. Follow this account if you are someone on your grind, and want to always get content that fits you like a glove.

Continue reading