The Entrepreneur’s Manifesto (version 0.4)
Written July 25, 2012
One of our VPs, Eric and Larry had just finished their talk sessions at one of our Google online sales conventions at the Moscone center in San Francisco. I looked around and everyone was clapping and beaming. As I walked out to the lobby, I talked to some of my coworkers and they all seemed pretty happy, content. Yet, I couldn’t shake this feeling at the pit of my stomach like something was wrong. One of the girls I had a crush said hello:
Hot Girl: “Hey, how are you”
Me: “Not bad. Is it just me, or is everyone really into this whole thing?”
Hot Girl: “Yep. You gotta drink the company Kool Aid!”
Me: “Right. [Pretend laugh]”
Hot Girl: “See you later”
Her comment reflected my feelings about the corporate world. Google was getting big. Yet, here I am at the best company in the world, right? Why do I feel so trapped?
A few years later, I realized that I was trapped because I had no self reliance. Google fed me, paid me, told me what to do. Yet, it wasn’t in my control. Should “Google” as an entity take away any of these things, I will be left with nothing. I have no power to control my own fate.
The Haze and Current Situation of America’s Quarter Life Crisis
I noticed that even employees at Google and workers in general live in this general “haze”. This daze that they are walking through life, going through the same routines, doing the same shit over and over again. No one really had the initiative to pursue their own passions. Of those that do, I don’t get to hang out with them very long for they eventually leave to start their own thing.
I am an entrepreneur. Not the one that trades his social life for busy work. One who integrates every aspect of his life into a goal and ideal. I believe in living my work. I believe in pursuing your passions. In doing so, I have switched jobs 6 times in the last 9 years. Yet, I cannot find a semblance of peace or power that allows me to do what I really want to do in life. I am at a crisis situation. The ironic thing is that there’s no process for dealing with this crisis, so it remains largely below the surface, dwelling and growing, instead of above surface, visible and painful enough to be dealt with. A passive type of crisis that doesn’t move because no one notices it.
We live in a society that works hard. No doubt, we have one of the best economies and income levels per capita in the world. Yet, we are miserable. At least, not content.
Even romantic comedy movies center around our stupid jobs!
Since we were born, we have certain life events and rituals. Baby showers, first grade, middle school, high school, college graduation. Beyond that, life is pretty much running itself. On Facebook, friends post pictures of their babies, or their wedding pictures. Beyond weddings and babies, what else are we supposed to do? Is this the course of a “normal life”?
Post college, unless you are getting your advanced degree, but even so, we lose our stages of ceremony and rituals. We forget to CELEBRATE life. It becomes harder because the social constructs of doing so are no longer in place. We are expected to go to school, to get married, to have kids. But beyond our mid twenties, these social expectations pretty much drop off the map, and you’re left on your own.
What are we supposed to do? Go to grad school? Oh ok. Get married? Get a job? We no longer have direction and instead of thinking for themselves people stop thinking.
Of the things you do accomplish at work, there’s no “ceremony” or “family” anymore, just over worked, jealous, or coworkers who don’t really care. The meaning of “family” is gone.
Having babies as a unconscious effort to create drama or put onselve in a position o there than “static” and “boring”
The very meaning of America’s culture of independence and freedom has created a vacuum of extreme independence and loneliness. We are more connected than ever via the web and social networking, and yet we feel more lonely than ever. Shootings are at an all time high (gun control is another issue by a nation that began with a shot heard around the world) and depression is at an all time high.
How can that be?
I’ll say it again. How can that be?!?
Our grandfathers fared much worse than us economically, yet their happiness index as a generation is much higher than ours, at a time when we live in the most technologically advanced and open society!
I believe this is due to a lack of life direction, and created, celebrated rituals after college. You must make your own life, and you must make your own network. You cannot depend or rely or expect the larger American culture to assist you with this.
Most people don’t even have a “life stance”, a thing or theme they believe in. They just take in information via the media and repeat it over and over again. Our brains have turned to mush.
Combine best of both worlds
With freedom comes the ability to do cool things, but we are not mature enough. Human nature takes its toll and we become lazy. 30 year olds playing games all day, 40 year old virgins, we are deluded by our luxuries that life doesn’t change, and that maintaining the status quo is good.
Hugh Hefner is the one man who has combined the element of freedom and entrepreneurship into something great. He used his money to create the Playboy mansion. But it is more than the mansion. It is the Playboy Philosophy. The Playboy family. Instead of being obsessed with money, he became interested in using it to master his personal relationships. Helping black performers gain a voice in a culture that discriminated, helping women’s rights (debatable). At the mansion, yearly events are planned: Halloween, Mid-summer nights dream, themed events, movie night, all of these are built into the very fabric of the place. The architecture may instill the beauty aspect of the location, but the culture and processes Hef put in place nurture it and give it meaning. The modern Shangri-la.
Project Resonance Modular Phases
Phase 1 – The Mind & Preparation – 3-6 months
- Save up your first $10,000 liquid money. No debts
- Business idea concept developed
- Prime location near downtown or school
- Create rituals to incorporate into the house
- Selecting a team of leaders, not followers (Knights of the Round Table)
- First Phase must be in the south bay – where engineering talent is
- Second phase can be in SF, where beauty and artistic talent is
Phase 2 – The Fraternity – 3 months
- Resources and more importantly the skills you need to accomplish your goals
- Family – team of leaders, of strong men who will fight besides one another
- Knights of the Round philosophy – everyone is a leader
Phase 3 – Escaping The Rat Race – 12 months
- Lowering expenses and increasing revenue
- To make this work you must choose a career or a craft that excites you in some deep way
- Net profit: $3000 a month after tax
- Developing a sustainable, profitable business model
- Do not be trapped by our business, but passionate about it
- Business should involve our passions and reflect our tastes
- Parties, social connections, work with people, not code
- No inheritance – it must be earned, for only then can it be repeated.
Phase 4 – The Platform – At Least 1 Year
- For others to succeed
- Platform for others who are talented but have no stage to showcase their gifts
- Power. Power base for influence, for protection, to use the dark arts if needed, and leave it alone based on your choice, and not the choice of another (i.e. you have to kill this kid or I will kill you)
- Not becoming a monster. Leave as the hero. Leave gracefully. Change and really IMPACT someone’s life. Help them.
- Keeping ego in check, staying humble, always learning, knowing when to move on
- The Dark Side – how groups dissolve, betray or lose sight of the goal
Appendix – 50 cent
In 1999, after a few years of apprenticing with Jam Master Jay, Curtis (now known as 50 Cent) signed a deal with Columbia Records. It seemed like a dream come true, but as he looked around at the other rappers who had been at the label for little longer; he saw the dangers around him had only increased. The tendency, as he saw it, was to immediately let up in your energy and focus. Rappers would feel that they had arrived, and unconsciously they wouldn’t work as hard and would spend less time learning their craft. That sudden influx of money would go to their heads; they would imagine they had the golden touch and could keep it coming. One hit song or record would make this even worse. Not building something slowly – a career, a future- it would all fall part within a few years, as younger and more eager rappers would take their place. Their life would be all the more miserable for having once tasted some glory.
In the wake of the assassination attempt on Fifty in 2000, Columbia Records dropped him from the label, but by then he had outgrown his need for their expertise. He had accumulated so much knowledge and skill that he was able to apply it all to his mix-tape campaign, creating songs at an insane pace and marketing his music as smartly as any professional. Step by step he advanced, the campaign gaining the attention of Eminem, who signed him to his label at Interscope in 2003.
For our most primitive ancestors, life was a constant struggle, entailing endless labor to secure food and shelter. If there was any free time, it generally was reserved for rituals that would give meaning to such a hard life. Then, over thousands of years of civilization, life gradually became easier for many, and with that came more and more free time. In such moments, there was no need to work the fields or worry about enemies or the elements – just an expanse of hours to somehow fill. And suddenly a new emotion was born into the world – boredom.
At work or in rituals, the mind would be filled with various tasks to accomplish; but alone in one’s house, this free time would allow the mind to roam wherever it wanted. Confronted with such freedom, the mind has a tendency to gravitate towards anxieties about the future – possible problems and dangers. Such empty time faintly echoes the eternal emptiness of death itself. And so with this new emotion that assailed our ancestors came a desire that haunts us to this day – to escape boredom at all costs, to distract ourselves from these anxieties.
The principal means of distraction are all forms of public entertainment, drugs and alcohol, and social activities. But such distractions have a drug-like effect – they wear off. We crave new ones faster ones, to lift us out of ourselves and divert us from the harsh realities of life and creeping boredom. An entire civilization – ancient Rome- practically collapsed under the weight of this new need and emotion. Their economy became tied to the creation of novel luxuries and entertainments that sapped its citizens’ spirit; few were willing anymore to sacrifice their pleasures for hard work or the public good.
This is the pattern that boredom has created for the human animal ever since: we look outside ourselves for diversions and grow dependent on them. These entertainments have a faster pace than the time we spend at work. Work then is experienced as something boring – slow and repetitive. Anything challenging, requiring effort, is viewed the same way – it’s not fun; it’s not fast. If we go far enough in this direction, we find it increasingly difficult to muster the patience to endure the hard work that is required for mastering any kind of craft. It becomes harder to spend time alone. Life becomes divided between what is necessary (time at work) and what is pleasurable (distractions and entertainment). In the past, these extremes of boredom assailed mostly those in the upper classes. Now it is something that plagues almost all of us.
There is, however, another possible relationship to boredom and empty time, a fearless one that yields much different results than frustration and escapism. It goes as follows: you have some large goal that you wish to achieve in your life, something you feel that you are destined to create. IF you reach that goal, it will bring you far greater satisfaction than the evanescent thrills that come from outside diversions. To get there you will have to learn a craft – educate yourself and develop the proper skills. All human activities involve a process of mastery. You must learn the various steps and procedures involved, proceeding to higher and higher levels of proficiency. This requires discipline and tenacity – the ability to withstand repetitive activity, slowness, and the anxiety that comes with such a challenge.
Once you start down this path, two things will happen: First, having the larger goal will lift your mind out of the moment and help you endure the hard work and drudgery. Second, as you become better at this task or craft, it becomes increasingly pleasurable. You see your improvement; you see connections and possibilities you hadn’t noticed before. Your mind becomes absorbed in mastering it further, and in this absorption you forget all your problems – fears for the future or people’s nasty games. But unlike the diversion that comes from outside sources, this one comes from within. You are developing a lifelong skill, the kind of mental discipline that will l serve as the foundation of your power.
To make this work you must choose a career or a craft that excites you in some deep way. You are creating no dividing line between work and pleasure. Your pleasure comes in mastering the process itself, and in the mental immersion it requires.