In a world of rapid change, the single biggest risk you can take is to not take risk.
In a world of rapid change, the single biggest risk you can take is to not take risk.
Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.
Poor distribution - not product - is the number one cause of failure.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination and hard work make the difference.
"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things…
But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?
You’re not going to out-work me. It’s such a simple, basic concept. The guy who is willing to hustle the most is going to be the guy that just gets that loose ball. The majority of people who aren’t getting the places they want or aren’t achieving the things that they want in this business is strictly based on hustle. It’s strictly based on being out-worked; it’s strictly based on missing crucial opportunities. I say all the time if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” - Will Smith
“The only way you get real insight into your market is to just be an outstanding listener.” - Eric Grosse
I love this commencement address from Corey Booker:
This is a vide that was shown at the TED Talent Search (stop 11/14 worldwide) in Vancouver. Extremely cool. I think witnessing a starling murmuration in real life is on my bucket list now.
“Balance aspirations with operations.” - Alexander Haislip
Heading to San Francisco tomorrow. Vancouver in a week.
Well, this has been quite the two weeks. I can honestly say I never expected to be leaving both a city and company I love so soon. Reality is, you never know what’s around the corner.
To everyone at rtraction, I’m going to miss you all a ton. I had no problem selling our work because both the team and quality was the best of the best. It’s been an honour to work alongside each and every one of you. I have tremendous respect for all of you and hope to stay in touch.
To my bosses, thank you for taking a chance on me. For that I will always be truly grateful. I consider you friends, which is an amazing thing to balance in a workplace.
So where the heck am I going?
In short, Vancouver. I’ve taken a job with Uber, a Silicon Valley startup that I’ve keenly followed since day one. My new boss and CEO, Travis Kalanick, is one of my top business idols and I cannot wait to learn everything I can from him and our COO, Ryan Graves. Both awesome guys with endless hustle.
If you have some time, check out this interview with Travis. So badass.
As an obsessive tech business nerd, Uber is a company I’ve drooled about for well over a year. They are extremely disruptive, combine both offline and online components, and balance hardcore math with badass hustle. My kind of company. Not to mention their investors are the absolute who’s who of the Valley. I’ve never seen a list of investors that comes close to stacking up. Super cool.
I wouldn’t have left my job for just anything, let alone move myself in a couple of weeks to the other side of the country. I`ve turned down multiple offers to date, but my heart is in this one ‘til the end. That’s an exciting thing for me. This is a dream job for me in my dream company.
The bittersweet side is my incredibly close (and massive) family, my amazing friends, mentors, colleagues, and projects I’ll be leaving behind. I’ll miss it all and will be doing my best to spend every last second I’ve got at home with these people.
“You can’t discover new lands until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” - Summit Series
I’ve always felt the drive to do something big, or be a part of something that is much bigger than myself. This is a massive opportunity for me and aside from moving, I cannot wait to both experience an awesome city like Vancouver and to hustle my ass off to scale an amazing company. Weird part is I’ve never even been there!
I’m going to be busy the next week but I am going to do my best to get in as many goodbyes as I can. But better yet, come visit me in a few months on the West Coast. I’m holding you all to that!
“Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” - Daniel Burnham
Normally big moves, both physically and career-wise, take some time and careful planning. To me this opportunity, however hard it may be to leave my family and friends, is such a massive one that I’ve moved faster than ever before. There are very few companies in the world I would make this move for and drop everything I’ve worked for here. So it’s a testament to the belief I have in the business model, founders, executives, and investors behind it. A year ago I was watching videos of them doing interviews, now I’m going to be working for and with them. Feels awesome.
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” - Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand
“Fear is the disease, hustle is the antidote.” - Travis Kalanick
2011 was big for me. Real big.
It was the biggest year of my life.
It’s pretty surreal to be able to say that so confidently. But it really was, without a doubt. In one single year I experienced both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. From starting off the year Co-Chairing TEDxUWO, to working on a federal election campaign for the former president of a national party, to juggling assignments and exams, to organizing London Vote Mob with Rick Mercer, to embarking on a career hunt, to landing an awesome job at rtraction, to having a relationship of 4.5 years end abruptly, to helping out with an extremely successful provincial election campaign for the then Attorney General, to working with a number of amazing non-profits/boards/committees, to finally rounding out the year completing the Entrepreneur 1.0 program with TechAlliance/Richard Ivey School of Business in December. I’m sure I’ve missed some things but that’s the gist of it.
It’s been crazy; a bit of a blur even. But through it all I’ve met so many amazing friends and mentors, pushed through some incredibly hard times, and am extremely grateful to have been able to celebrate some awesome personal triumphs. Quite the emotional roller coaster. But most importantly I’ve learned a ton.
I would be hard pressed to abstract one overarching mantra that I found helped me through it all, but in the next few blog posts I’ll do my best to bring some to light. Most recently I’ve really learned to stop focussing too far down the road.
I used to obsess about planning ahead. Should I be a lawyer? An architect? When will I be married? Buy a house? Should I go into the family business? The list goes on and on…
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell
This quote hit home with me when I was first exposed to the work of Joseph Campbell. As soon as I started focussing on things immediately in front of me, I became exponentially more productive. It turned a dreamer into a doer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human. But obsessing over what is far ahead in the horizon won’t get you far.
I had the most unbelievable moment standing in the back row of The Grand Theatre after we had mounted the last letter on stage for TEDxUWO. I had just finished all of our technical checks with my team. Then it hit me. I genuinely couldn’t believe we’d managed to pull off what I knew would be an amazing day. It just seemed so insurmountable in the beginning, but a series of progressive steps had slowly and gradually led up a mountain. It was surreal.
With London Vote Mob I genuinely teared up at a moment when I walked out from backstage. I had no idea if 50 people would show up and when I came out from prepping speakers I realized the crowd had grown to approximately 1500. My eyes welled up. Had I never just decided to go and do something after watching a simple Youtube video it probably would never have happened.
Similarly, and arguably just as important as making the things directly in front of you a priority, you have to let go of the past. Obsessing and dwelling will get you nowhere. Prior to my offer from rtraction I had an opportunity that I felt was a great fit fall through due to some funding. I was bummed. But I didn’t stew, I kept at the job hunt and picked myself right back up. Things worked out a million times better in retrospect. From day one of my breakup I knew it was going to suck and be tough to carry on. But being sad and depressed never got anyone anywhere. I faced it head on, dealt with it with the help of family and friends, and now looking back at all the steps from that day feel like a completely new person. And for the better, because no matter how slow or fast I moved through the grieving process I stayed moving forward.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Brian Johnson says “if we can’t die to our old identity there is no way to be born into the new.” While dying is a tad extreme it does get the point across. Shedding your skin doesn’t mean erasing the past or forgetting it. It’s not a fun time to be honest. But challenging times are a call to step up to the plate and grow. I’ll touch more on that in a future post. I’m proud that I can look back at the last 6 months and know that I’ve done things the right way. I can easily see how much I’ve grown personally. Of course it hasn’t been without a falter. But once again step by step can take you miles, you just have to start walking.
I was introduced to these quotes in the documentary Finding Joe which documents the work of American mythologist Joseph Campbell. I thought it was fantastic and would recommend it to anyone looking for some inspiration or encouragement in a confusing time.
I’d encourage everyone reading this to stop dreaming and take the first step towards something you’ve always wanted to do. This year is shaping up to be even more exciting with some of the things I have planned. So, hopefully I’ll be able to use this post’s title year over year.
Above all remember: dreams do come true, you just gotta’ make ‘em happen.