Wave on Wave

Success often follows a pattern: right place, right time and you knew what to do next. Either a repeated pattern was identified or there were specific pain points that inspired the creation of a solution. This pattern identifying is similar to body surfing on shallow waves. While the shape and size of the waves might not be the same each time, there are most definitely some places off the shore that are better than others to spot and ride the breaks inland.

I recently went off the grid in Kiawah, South Carolina. The hard-packed beaches were incredible for bike riding and sandcastles. But the flatness of the shoreline gave way to breaks that aren't nearly as big. Most of the time. But, after spending a little bit of time watching the patterns and feeling out the sandbar beneath the surface, it became easier and easier to tell which waves were going to build into something with momentum and which were just good for show.

But, even after identifying the right place, it was still about knowing the right time. And even still about executing on the all out dive into the surf and paddling into the break that gave way for the most distance covered.  I only caught a couple of great ones my first few times out, but sometimes that is all it takes for you to get back out the next morning and start learning the patterns again.

Hustle 101: The Handwritten Note

Sometimes a hand written note and thoughtful gift are all it takes. At the end of the year, it is always crazy. This year is proving to be more so. Letters and packages and flights and Q4 goals to finish out. So wild that when a hand written envelope was placed on my desk yesterday, I didn't even bother to open it for a couple of hours. But when I did, I found something that made my day.

Chad, the owner of the Get Squared Etsy shop, had come across my podcast with Keith Ferrazzi's Social Capitalist show. After a little sleuthing, he discovered my not so well kept secret that I have an obsession with pocket squares.  And by going just a little bit further down the extra mile, I am assuming he tracked down the address to my office online and sent the note and great hand made pocket square.

The Get Squared pocket squares are simple but perfect to pair against a coat or shirt with a pattern like I did here. The stitching along the edges adds just enough definition to make sure no one is confused about whether you're wearing a handkerchief or a pocket square. And for $5, you might as well buy one of each from Chad for yourself and one of each to give out as Christmas presents this year. Check them out for yourself: http://www.etsy.com/shop/GetSquared

There is an art and science to hustle. Hand written notes win on both sides of that story.

Ten Ways To Hack Growth

Some advice transcends trends. Check out this talk by Kevin Rose a few years back (Twitter was new) where he lays out some of the hacks that he and his teams used to grow their companies. Definitely worth the 22 minutes. (HERE is the text version as well)

Always looking for great resources like this for the companies I advise.

Know of another good batch of advice, let me know.


Fortunate Situations

"The strongest thing to cultivate as an entrepreneur is to not need to rely on luck but to recognize fortunate situations when they're occurring." - Jack Dorsey

"The best time to innovate or start something new is in the midst of a recession or depression." (speaking about launching Square during the 2008 financial downward spiral.)

Make sure to listen to the passion with which he describes the Golden Gate Bridge at the 21:50 mark. It is something that shouldn't exist but does and does so beautifully.


Your Pursuit

When I worked for Marquis Jet, I had the privilege of interacting with some incredibly wealthy people. (And when I say interacting with, I mean cold calling them until their secretaries finally put me on their calendar and I could woo them with the charm of my pocket square) But in that close proximity to the 1%, my definition of wealth changed. Previously it had been something to the effect of "someone with a lot of money" but this new understand of wealth was most clearly articulated by my boss, John Daut, "Wealth is defined by having more options." Growing up in middle class America, my life wasn't too hard. I didn't live on the wrong side of the tracks or have to get a job when I was 12 to support my family. But I also had to learn the value of a dollar saved in order to buy something that I wanted down the road. I started saving to buy a truck when I was 14 years old. Two months after my 16th birthday I finally found the truck of my dreams and handed all the money I had in the world over to get it. That 1985 Chevy Silverado was and still is my favorite vehicle I've ever owned.

But, looking back on it, the process of hunting for that truck that I first learned about the freedom that comes from wealth. The scope of my search, or the options that I had in making that purchase, were limited by the money that I'd managed to save for those two years prior. In the same way, when thinking about life after high school, the number of colleges that I got into was another variation of wealth. The more options I had, the better the choice that I could make. Again in job offers after college and career moves since then. The more options you have, the more wealth, not just money, you have accumulated.

I was asked recently if I could define "hustle." (And no I didn't just tell them to Google "Andy Ellwood") And while there are a lot of variations of how I've heard hustle thought about for various situations, the short answer I went with was this:

Consistently taking action toward an ultimate goal or objective. 

For me, I hustle for options. The more I hustle now, the more options I will have in the future. The more options I have in the future, the more freedom I will have to spend time with people I respect creating things that I'm passionate about. It isn't about hustling for hustling's sake. It is about knowing why you hustle and taking advantage of the options you create along the way.

So, on this 4th of July, here's to your life, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness.

The Hipster Effect

How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Some number you probably haven’t heard of yet. Hipster culture and the ego invested in being the first to know about obscure new bands, trends, and facial hair stylings has made its way into the consciousness of brands and comedians alike. I would say it’s gone mainstream, but don’t want to offend my barista.  Despite more plaid than a lumberjack convention, there are some take aways for your career that can only come from the perspective of that band you’ve never heard of from Williamsburg.

Read the full post HERE