I was dreaming about winning the lottery yesterday. If I ever do, I’m not sure I would even quit my job. I just wouldn’t show up. Drop the mic on all the bullshit. See how long it takes for people to notice. Good thing for me I try to be quite productive at work, so I think people would notice. I hope.
If I do win the jackpot, it would be glorious. What would I do with all that money? That part is easy. Probably the first week I would spend it on something really ridiculous just to get it out of my system. I have some time to think about what that might be.
What really got me thinking is what would I do with all that time? Would all that money and time change me drastically? Would I still be the same ol’ G? Maybe. I would like to spend more time working with charities. Try to help my family more. But what is stopping me from spending the extra time now? Nothing really. Just have to make that effort with or without the jackpot.
A Unicorn Comes Tumbling Down
I recently read the story of how a once Silicon Valley unicorn came crashing down to earth. Stories of excess partying at work, sex in stairways, shots for closing deals, extravagant trips. Maybe you are thinking, “what a great place to work!” You would think I was describing The Wolf of Wall Street. This is story is unfortunately about Zenefits. Read the details and you’ll be shocked it got that out of hand.
They won the Silicon Valley jackpot. Great idea, well-funded, and seemingly good team. Then they lost their way. The success, money, and fame got them. Lying to customers. Trying to skirt the law. How could this happen? How could anyone believe they can build a lasting business this way.
What’s the point?
Whether you win the jackpot or not, you have to stay true to who you are and how you got there. Especially when building your business. Focus on building the best user experience throughout the company life cycle. Rooted in simplicity.
Companies change as they are raising a seed round or Series A. Adding more people makes it tough to keep a certain culture. Ten employees are easier to manage than thousands. However, the truth is establishing a strong value set and culture based on authenticity goes a long way.
I help startups keep that focus and maintain a genuine approach. A good VC pitch deck should tell a simple story of the problem you want to solve. Most often the message that does not get enough attention is why do you want to solve the problem in the first place? What is your mission? Your values? Why should I invest in you? Don’t lose your mission as the business grows. Be authentic. Solve interesting problems and do good things.