I finally saw the Steve Jobs movie this weekend. It was surprising at least to me that he was a total dick. Why is it that so many super successful people at the top of their game are such delusional assholes?
I love Seth Rogen’s line towards the end. Seth was playing Steve Wozniak, the guy who worked with Jobs to create the first Apple computer. He said, “You can be decent and gifted at the same time. It’s not binary.”
While it was fascinating to see the level of Job’s douche – bag –ery, I also took away something positive I could apply to my life.
Outside validation was not something Job’s needed. He never made a decision because he thought it would make him more money. In fact early on, many of his decisions cost him dearly.
When Jobs and Wozniak were building the first Apple computer, much of what Job’s wanted to do made little sense at the time. Why would you build a computer that was closed end to end, or only had 2 slots for inputs? That is computer nerd speak, but I could tell from the movie those were things you should have if you were looking to build a computer that people would want to purchase.
These decisions he made effectively eliminated huge segments of the market. But you know what? He was not building a computer for the masses; he was building the computer he wanted to build.
He was doing something different his competitors. Most people didn’t get it.
Wozniak argued incessantly for many of the configurations he felt users wanted. Financially it made no sense to do what Job’s wanted to do.
Last night I watched a movie called Steve Jobs, not Steve Wozniak. As I sit in this coffee shop I look like a tool because I’m working on a PC while everyone else is on their Mac.
I guess building the computer you want and not the computer everyone else wants is actually a good idea.
Steve Job’s said people don’t know what they want until you show.
When I first started Better Together, my vision was clear. I knew what I wanted. I could picture in my mind every little detail of the how, why and for whom my business existed.
I started Better Together because I loved to bake. I loved to be creative and share what I created with others. It was all about making the best baked goods I knew how using the best ingredients available. I had a commitment not only to the product, but to my customers and community.
I wanted to make really good baked goods, but I also wanted to be the type of company that gives back. That made the world a little around me a little better, even if that meant I sometimes did things that weren’t the most prudent financially.
Starting a business to make a lot of money didn’t seem like a whole lot of fun to me. In fact it sounded downright dreadful. Like being on a hamster wheel, you just keep going round and round, but never getting anywhere.
I don’t know the exact moment but somewhere along the way my reason for being got high jacked. Suddenly the one thing I said it was not about became precisely what it was about, the money.
As I started to look to the outside world for validation something very dangerous started to happen. I started comparing myself to others.
Suddenly my mission to create really good baked goods, with really good ingredients and share them with the people was no longer good enough. I abandoned ship in hopes of finding a brighter and shiner one.
My reason for being became to make money. I wanted the kind of success other people would look up to and admire. I wanted to be on the cover of Inc. magazine, have 2 million Facebook fans, and be interviewed by Michael Strahan because of my record breaking Shark Tank appearance.
There were many reasons I started the business, money wasn’t even in the top 5. I know this because even if I were handed a shit ton of money, I wouldn’t of done anything differently. I never had the opportunity to really test that hypothesis, but let’s go with it, because we may never know.
For me it truly was not about the money. It was about building something that I could give my heart and soul.
My only goal financially speaking was to make what I was making when at the job I quit to start the business. In case you are wondering it was $65k. That was my entire financial goal. To be able to earn $65k, while doing work I loved.
When I looked at other companies I became envious, envious that their businesses had the potential to be way bigger and way more successful than mine. Once I got caught up in that it was too late. I was trapped in its undertow. The harder I fought the worse it got.
No longer was I guided by my values and reasons for being. Now it was about making money. I wanted to make lots and lots of money, not because I wanted to buy more things, but the more money you make the more successful you are labeled.
It was about ego.
I found myself making every decision based on what would increase my chances for success not what made me happy. It should really be no surprise that this strategy was not successful. When my reason for being changed from doing something because I just loved doing it to making money, I lost money and a lot of it. I also lost my passion.
Every little setback was crushing. It would tear me to pieces.
When I stopped doing the business for me, I essential handed in my resignation. Without the passion it would be impossible for me to overcome the constant barrage of challenges one faces as an entrepreneur.
I often wonder what the Todd who started this business would think of the Todd now. I’m pretty sure he would give him a swift kick in the nuts and ask, WHAT THE FUCK????
I didn’t start this business to be like everyone else. I started this business to me like me. Maybe it is time I reintroduce current Todd to the old Todd. The Todd that started this business because making brownies and sharing with people was something he loved doing. Maybe I won’t make any more money doing it that way, but I sure as hell will be a whole lot happier. Plus if I’m going to go down, I want to go down on the ship I started with, the S.S. Better Together.