The Art Of Winning

Back to Insights

Success gurus, motivational speakers, and television preachers all proclaim simple formulas for getting what you want. The problem is that winning is not so clear.

Instead, it is a formula with large doses of uncertainty. When describing the conviction of our financial model to a Venture Capitalist, he explained, "God does not work that way." Instead, there will be delays, failures, and unforeseen obstacles to overcome.

Managing this uncertainty is where the art comes in. Much like quantum mechanics, there are hidden elements at work.

Doing Experiments

Are you thinking of launching a podcast? Make a YouTube video and see if anyone watches it. Are you looking to start a new perfume company? Find out on Facebook what women are missing with the current products. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, give people platforms to test out ideas before fully committing.

The issue is those budding entrepreneurs that go all-in on untested ideas—spending months on launching a product only to discover that no one wants it. Experiments allow business owners to find product-market fit early, creating the foundation for winning big.

Managing Uncertainty

Now that you have product-market fit, just let everyone know. Not so quick. That is the illusion often touted as truth in books on success. The problem is those unforeseen occurrences that always appear to block our endeavors.

You may watch or see your children watch PewDiePie on YouTube. His real name is Felix Kjellberg and was named as one of Time's world's 100 most influential people. Today he has over 25 billion views on that platform and makes over $1 million per year.

However, that first year in 2010 was a struggle. According to Felix, "The followers came slowly." In 2011, he had 30,000 subscribers. The same year, Kjellberg dropped out of college and worked at a hot dog stand while pursuing the channel fulltime.

The reason for the change came from the fan responses to those videos. "To have that sudden realization that I could quit my job and just pursue YouTube," Felix declared to Rolling Stone, "that was one of the greatest moments of my life." This hope catalyzed his future success.

A Sprinkle of Hope

A grainy black and white video shows a rat fighting to survive in a jar filled with water. As the camera pans out, there are twelve clear jars filled with water—each with a small rodent trying to escape. Within a minute, several succumb and sink silently to the bottom.

No, it's not a film on the Dark Web. It is an experiment by Harvard Scientist, Curt Richter that occurred during the 1950s. The purpose of this disturbing research is to understand the impact of hope.

During the second part, Richter rescued the rodents just before expected to give up. He dried them off and allowed a brief rest. Placing each back into the jar, he started the timer. They continued to kick with heads above water for 60 hours.

The difference between the rats sinking to the bottom after one minute, and struggling for 60 hours was hope. PewDiePie made over 300 videos with little success. It was not until viewers reached out that Felix found a desire to go all-in.

Tasting Victory

The hard part is continuing until that first success occurs. It may be a string of positive comments, many social likes, or a product purchase—the moment where it becomes clear that you are on to something great.

Many give up before this occurs. Some of these were on the wrong path. Yet, many had discovered product-market fit and became discouraged from a lack of early results. Had they continued, they most likely would have found a win.

Today, Felix Kjellberg earns more than most Fortune 500 CEOs. Had it not been for those first fans prompting him to leave college, he may have never persevered through those early 1000 or so videos. Those initial experiments that were the foundation for where he is today.

Share with a friend:

© 2021 Todd Moses

The strategies discussed are for illustrative and educational purposes and are not a recommendation, offer, or solicitation to buy or sell any currency or to adopt any investment strategy. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be useful. Todd Moses is not a licensed securities dealer, broker, or US investment adviser or investment bank.