Some of what I am going to write may feel insensitive to some readers. I apologize to them, but I will still write about it because it is the truth.
Yesterday someone called me to ask that he wanted to sell merch in the memory of Kobe, the basketball star. May his soul rest in peace. It reminded me of a story and that is what I’m going to write about today.
During the early stages of my work, I was trying really hard to make any kind of revenue but I failed year after year. My co-founder on the other hand, whom I didn’t know at that time, dropped out of college because he couldn’t afford it anymore. My family’s financial circumstances were better than his, so for me it was just the hunger to make it work. But for him, it was the actual hunger, that comes from not eating enough.
To fulfill my hunger to make it work, I used all kinds of opportunities to make money including trying to sell merchandise in the memory of celebrities who recently died. I tried all forms of click-bait for content that didn’t exist and then locked the content until user performed a certain action such as provide an email or phone or zip, for which I got paid. I did fake-news of all kinds. I did it all.
I feel no shame in writing about it today, because I think that’s what people do when they want it bad enough and it isn’t working. I won’t do most of that today because I don’t have to and I only want to work on good opportunities. But I probably would do all that again if I had to start over. Of course, I’ve always drawn a line. I don’t want to scam people out of their hard earned money, but I felt no shame in capturing their attention or wasting their time for money.
My co-founder on the other hand started his journey by scanning Pakistani magazines commonly known as digests in Pakistan; including Khawateen Digest, Suspense Digest etc and then published them online. Of course, an act of piracy, but he complied with the requests of the publishers, and only made them available for overseas Pakistanis. Eventually due to the pressure from publishers, he closed the website completely. He also feels no shame in this. He did what was meant to be done to be able to live and it got him the kickstart.
My co-founder was hungrier than I was. His hunger came from his drive to win as well as because it was a survival game for him. My hunger came from the drive to win only. He did twice as good as I did. Because he wanted it twice as much.
Today, we don’t have the same drive as we used to have. Despite having 15+ years of experience, we don’t perform on the same level as we used to do. We’re more knowledgable, highly skillful, more experienced, and less hungry. And we don’t do as good as we used to do. Hence, for me, hunger is the single biggest differentiator in killing it, or not.
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.