Last night at SproutUp, I had the chance to hear Daniel Debow from Rypple speaking about his journey to get to where he was at, and one of the things he said struck so close to home: “People are afraid to fail because they are afraid to look dumb.”
Let me tell you something: he is completely right.
As you may know, I chose to shut down the video for business side of Up+Atom earlier this week, and with good reason – I lost the passion for creating videos for businesses. It was a hard decision to make, but a very necessary one. However, here’s a little honesty: I had lost the passion a long time ago. Every minute since I had lost the passion, I spent re-iterating the business and trying to find more clients in order to spark the passion back up again. Monday was essentially the post-tipping-point of all of that time spent; I had had enough and I couldn’t expend all of that effort in doing something I didn’t believe in anymore.
Why? Well, I was afraid of looking dumb and disappointing all of the wonderful people who had given me support through that year. After I had gone public with the news, the complete opposite had happened: everyone shared their sadness for my decision, but gave me tremendous support for my decision and for the decisions I was about to make. For that, I know that not only was I completely wrong, but I had surrounded myself with people who didn’t care that I failed, but they loved that I tried my best.
In conclusion, fear of failure is natural because we are afraid of looking dumb and disappointing others, but more often than not, the only person you will look dumb to and disappoint is… yourself. Everyone around you who has supported you and told you that you are awesome? They will still be there, doing just that.
For the last year, I have had the incredible experience of owning my own business. Up+Atom was my baby, it was what kept me going through the days, good and bad, and taught me a million lessons and introduced me to wonderful people. I was incredibly proud to be able to say “I’m an entrepreneur, and I love every minute of it.”
And today, I get to break my own heart. As of today, Up+Atom will be officially closing up shop.
Gosh, it sure feels weird to say that. Thought I would never see the day. But there is a simple reason behind it all: I have lost the passion toward creating videos for businesses. If I do not 100% believe in the product I am selling, then I would never want to sell it in the first place. That’s why I’m stepping back, so I can find the next steps for me to move forward.
For everyone who has had an impact in my life for the past year: thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for helping me steer my business, keeping me motivated, and just being awesome in general. It seems like I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent and supportive people in the world, and there are not enough positive things for me to say about them. Once again, thank you.
What’s next? Well, that’s difficult to answer – because I don’t exactly know. I am looking for a full time position in various places, and I’m also working on a few things on the side, but other than that I’m taking it easy so I can step back and figure out where I want to go in the future.
Just know that I’m looking for one thing: to wake up every day and say “This is what I do, and I love every minute of it.”
Melinda Gates speaks out about lessons that non-profits can learn from Coca-Cola, and she advocates local marketing, and giving access to data so that the locals can solve problems quickly.
Seems like a lesson we can all take away. The video is worth watching because it’s fascinating to hear about all of the efforts of the Gates foundation and other non-profits. Take a look, worth your 17 minutes!
John Wooden talking about what is “true success.” He had this great quote that was told to him by his father:
Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be — that’s under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.
That’s how I define success: being the best you can be, and making sure that you give 100% to everything that is under your control.
Gary Wolf talks about all of the different methods we use to quantify different aspects of our life – heart rate, sleep habits, spending habits, and a whole whack of other things. Why do I care? Because of this quote:
So, if we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.
Know yourself better, learn how to improve not only yourself, but the world around you as well. Go get ‘em.
This great TED talk by Steven Johnson discusses how some of the great ideas in the world have come to fruition and the sorts of environments that have facilitated that sort of activity. My favourite part was him discussing how scientists get their scientific breakthroughs, and he mentioned this:
They happened at the conference table at the weekly lab meeting, when everybody got together and shared their kind of latest data and findings, oftentimes when people shared the mistakes they were having, the error, the noise in the signal they were discovering.
I’ve known this for a while, but I hope that if you have a great idea, bounce it off people and get their thoughts on the matter. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who are much more talented and intelligent than I am, so their feedback on my crazy and out there ideas mean the world to me.
Find your group of smarter people, and share your idea with them!
Margaret Gould Stewart, the head of user experience over at YouTube explains the Content ID system over at YouTube, and mentions that the minute you upload some copyrighted material, the rights holders get to determine what happens to your video.
Once again, not a huge fan of copyright protection being too far and overreaching, but you really do have to realize that YouTube is making small and incremental changes to copyright protection. The story from the video is a great example: the wedding video that uses Chris Brown’s Forever brought the song back to number 4 on the iTunes charts, having been long dead before that. Had Sony, the rights holder to Chris Brown’s Forever, simply blocked the video from appearing, that song would have stayed off of the charts.
Keep in mind, years ago, these RIAA companies would simply have blocked the content and prevent anyone from enjoying the video. Now, you have companies thinking about all of the possibilities that can come from that one video. As Stewart said:
By simply blocking all reuse, you’ll miss out on new art forms, new audiences, new distribution channels and new revenue streams.
Now, the real task is to get them to move from only allowing popular videos to benefit from this sort of leniency, and to all videos that simply want to share the song – you want more people to listen to your artists, don’t you?
This great presentation from Johanna Blakley discusses how the fashion industry, which does not have the luxury of copyright protection, is a flourishing and innovative industry despite their lack of protection. Being strongly opinionated on the matter of copyright protection, I felt I had to make a few comments.
I think Johanna’s use of the fashion industry doesn’t necessarily apply to the movie, music, software or games industry (Anything that suffers from piracy.) because in fashion, it’s designer to designer copying, not consumer to designer. In other words, it isn’t a consumer issue as much as it is with the aforementioned industries.
But Johanna brought up a fantastic point: designers are making it more difficult for other designers to completely rip off their designs, but they aren’t making it more difficult for the consumer to consume, unlike all of the initiatives that the movie, music, software, and game industries have been undertaking. (Cough, Ubisoft, cough.) I think it’s a very valid point: these people who have no copyright protection are becoming very creative at designing something difficult to rip off, and people want it because it’s designed well.
So lesson to the movie, music, software, and game industries: make something we want, something unique, and we’ll buy it.
This blog post was inspired by Cameron Herold’s speech at TEDxEdmonton.
As someone who’s grown up not really fitting into the school system and always trying to do things on my own, this speaks volumes. It was really difficult to get through all of school, and not because I’m dumb, but because it isn’t a system I jive well with. Of course, this was because everyone in and around the system would try to get you into the “stable career” path without any regard for what you might be good at.
I really wish there was more emphasis on building on your strengths, rather than being constantly reminded of your weaknesses. I don’t believe that people shouldn’t be well rounded, but their strengths should be leaps and bounds ahead of everything else.