Just returned from a few days fly fishing in California's Sierra mountains.
Thought you'd benefit from a few of my reflections on the trip and how all this is related to doing a startup.
FLY FISHING LESSONS FOR STARTUPS:
- FISH WITH CONFIDENCE. Fishing with doubt does not work. I caught the least trout when I was hesitant about my fishing. When I believed the fly pattern I selected would catch a beautiful, wiley trout, it did. And visa versa.
- AVOID RECKLESS MOVES. Each time my euphoria or over-exuberance won over me, I spooked the fish, got my line tangled during a cast, got stuck in a bush, generally made a blundering mess of the moment.
- CHOOSE YOUR LURE WISELY. I caught the most and largest fish when I spent extra time thinking about which fly to use, the one that would be most enticing to suspecious trout. The extra time invested produced the best results.
- FOCUS ON WHAT WORKS. Once I found a fly pattern that caught a fish, I stuck to it for an extended time, even when the fish bite rate dropped off. Over the course of the days I fished, I out-fished others in the same water.
- BE PATIENT. Over the length of each day, I found the most fish were caught during the hours I was most patient with fishing the water in casting reach of where I was standing, with the one fly pattern that was working. When I rapidly changed I had the worst fishing.
- BE BOLD ABOUT CHANGES. When the fish refused to bite, after hours of trying all the above methods, I then changed everything: fly pattern, where I cast my fly, how fast I retrieved it, what water I chose to fish in. This is not the time for incremental changes.
- FISH WITH A FRIEND. Friends tell me when I am doing something stupid or unsafe, impolite or rude, or clever and smart. They are open and frank with me, keeping me honest with myself and others. And they make fishing fun when no fish bite.
- RESPECT THE BEARS. I carefully stored all my camping food in the bear boxes that are locked each day and night. But I left my camp gear boxes on the picnic table. At 2:00 a.m. the local bear arrived, had learned such boxes can be used to store food, soon he was knocking them down to open them, then biting the only items that might contain food (such as my new, cool, red and blue Spiderman cup). Respecting the likely attacker is a very wise habit to learn, worth extra thinking.
- GIVE CREDIT TO PEOPLE. I thanked the local fishermen who shared their tips of the day, the fly shop I inquired at, and as each morning and evening rose and set in beautiful colored sunrises and sunsets I thanked God for such a beautiful creation where I could go to relax and reflect, away from the intense issues of the business world.
BOTTOM LINE: Lessons from one part of life can be applied to doing a real startup. Serial entrepreneurs know that and constantly think that way. I use fly fishing, there are many other venues. When you can do that applied thinking, you can add it to building your unfair advantage for your startup.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!