Tag Archives: the beatles

Facebook, Innovation, Entrepreneurs and the High Road

It is tough when you are cut just before the big break.  Anyone that played sports probably knows the feeling.  Even MJ was cut once, or so goes the story.  Not many people remember Pete Best, and when they do it is as the guy that Ringo replaced. Well, a new generation has a new face for being “cut right at the moment of greatness” – Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook. Thanks to the success of the recently released movie “The Social Network” his story as a co-founder is there for all to see.

What is apparent from the movie is that Mr. Saverin, to one degree or another, got the proverbial “short end of the stick” in his dealings with his former partner.  Granted, it is a movie, but there is no denying that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook made billions while Eduardo Saverin was left behind. Not to worry, Eduardo Saverin, thanks to a bit of help from the courts, has done quite well all things being equal.  It is not the financial success that is striking about Mr. Saverin, but rather the high road he took in his column last week on CNBC.  He could have been bitter, jaded, or even tried to ever so gently enhance his part of the story. He did nothing of the sort, rather he took the high road.

It is a great read.  He espouses opportunity, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.  That others have the chance he and his partners did to create, to innovate, to be entrepreneurs, and above all to succeed.  His closing paragraph is amazing:

While watching the “Hollywood version” of one’s college life is both humbling and entertaining, I hope that this film inspires countless others to create and take that leap to start a new business. With a little luck, you might even change the world.

What a great story and example of how to conduct oneself – always.  Well done on a host of levels.  Of course having a billion or so in equity helps.

In the event anyone needs another reminder that taking the high road is always the best course – there is that other classic story of being cut just before the big win…Herb Brooks.  As in coach Herb Brooks and the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”.  The same Herb Brooks who as a player was the last man cut from the 1960 US Olympic Hockey Team – the only other one that has won olympic gold. Karma is a funny thing sometimes.

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The Dichotomy of Lennon

You have to be a bastard to make it, and that’s a fact. And the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.
John Lennon

Interesting – we all think of Oprah, The Beatles, and all the other wildly successful entertainers, musicians and artist in the way that they wish to be thought of – benevolent and kind, caring and giving.  However, what we often overlook is that they all posses an unbridled passion to succeed.  To “make it” as John Lennon would say.  And what they ask us to forget is the bastard part.  In doing so a valuable lesson is lost.  Success requires relentless work, focus and drive, as well as a healthy dose of reality – the reality that to a degree you “have to be a bastard to make it”.  Remember – this is John “Give Peace a Chance” Lennon talking.

It is not a contradiction.  In athletes the “killer instinct” is praised.  Michael Jordan was known as the ultimate closer; Kobi Bryant “the assassin”; Lance Armstrong the perfectionist.  We demand it of our athletic champions, yet we do not want to see it or even acknowledge that it just might exist in our entertainers, business leaders and even political leaders.  Dare I say Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for all their public posturing about donating their estates have and had massive reserves of drive and a fair degree of “bastard” in them when it came to their business dealings.

It is not a bad thing having the drive and focus to succeed coupled with the ability to sacrifice and to make the tough, unpopular decisions.  That is the “bastard” trait John Lennon was speaking of from his days with The Beatles.  They had to make tough, cutting, real world business decisions – they had to sacrifice, to work literally thousands of hours, to pour in all they had to become what they became.  It did not make them bad people.  It was business.  Sometimes business and leadership, entertainment and sports, success and achievement requires a bit of the bastard in all of us.  It is not a bad thing.  It is reality.  It is sort of hard to believe – that “bastard” would have been 70 tomorrow.

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