The overnight business success does not exist. Success stories are the result of restless efforts, market feedback (failures) and prolonged persistence. Some of the companies that come to mind as I think of success are, Lululemon, Amazon, Apple, Zappos or Yoox.com. These are companies I use every day and got to extreme success because of extreme dedication, patience, huge risk taking and extreme focus. It took these companies an average of 10 years to become the force-multiplier they are today. Those other companies that grow too rapidly and reach the unicorn status in say 2 years, they either are in trouble because of excessive growth, or they do not exist anymore. Peloton is one company that comes to mind when thinking of temporary success followed by failure. Peloton was a Covid 19 success story, best known for its at-home exercise bike that features a large screen on the front of the bike. The company grew too fast and got the leadership disconnected from reality. As a result, the stock crashed, and it is now at 7$ down about 2000% from the Covid peak of $151.
At Confidente we believe that success and happiness are choices, and those successes normally belong to those patient people that continue to show up to deal with difficult choices and try to convert crises into opportunities. Patience is in our view the most important trait of successful people, as this enables them to craft humble financial and personal expectations from their businesses. This is normally an ability that belongs to people that developed steady decision-making systems and avoided the daily noise and market volatility particularly in times of crisis.
One example of determination that led to success, is the story about the rock band the Beatles. This is story well narrated by writer Gladwell, in his book Outliers. In his great story telling the writer tell us the incredible competitive advantage of the Beatles. In simple terms, it was the incredible number of hours they spent on stage to become famous. They often played for free, and according to Gladwell, on the first tour trip, they played 106 nights, five or more hours a night. This is something very few artists have done. On their second trip, they played 92 times. On their third trip, they played 48 times, for a total of 172 hours on stage. The last two Germany concerts, in November and December of 1962, consisted of approximately 100 hours of performing. If we combine it all, the Beatles performed 270 nights in just over a year and a half. By the time they had their first album which had some traction, in 1964, they had performed an estimated 1300 live concerts. This is the difference between winning and losing and we know of very few music bands that went to such an effort to gain market traction.
What most people call luck or sudden success is unnoticeable and relentless work. It is not luck and my advice to all entrepreneurs, “stop thinking that you also had the Amazon, PayPal, and Twitter idea before the founders of these companies had”. Success belongs to these people that show-up and stick to their instincts and decision to take their ideas to the finishing line. The finishing line is often much further down the success path that you think, but if you have started you have already made the hardest choice. Now it is time to develop a commitment plan and surround yourself with the skills you don’t have and the necessary lasting ambition to make your idea grow into an impactful market participant.
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