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:
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.
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.