This is a story inspired by The Story of the Mexican Fisherman.
A venture capitalist (VC) was at a local coffee shop one morning when a young man with a laptop came in. The young man ordered a coffee and sat down to open his laptop. He began working on a client project while sipping his warm cup of coffee.
The VC complimented the young man on his focus and asked what he was doing?
The young man replied, “I’m working on a new client project. I’m building them a website to showcase their products and sell them online.”
The VC looked at the young man’s work and noticed its quality. He then asked how many clients the young man had? The young man said he had enough clients and work to support his family’s immediate needs.
The VC then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The young man replied, “I sleep late, cook breakfast, play with my kids, take walks with my wife, travel a bit, and play soccer with by buddies. I have a pretty full and active life.”
The VC scoffed, “I have a Stanford MBA and run one of the most successful tech funds in the country. You have potential to be more and I can help you. Here’s what you should do…”
“You should spend more time working and with the additional profit, get an office. With the office you could bring on a few employees, which will allow you to build a team and take on more projects. With a team you could implement systems and processes to refine your project management and streamline your operations. You would then build your own product, which you could sell directly to your clients and new clients in a targeted niche. Then you can take an investment from my firm to expand vertically and offer additional products in your niche.”
The young man paused… and then asked, “Ok, but I have no idea how to do all this. I really just enjoy writing code and bringing ideas to life.”
To which the VC replied, “No problem. All you have to do is give up some equity in your business and report to a board of directors. They’ll tell you exactly what to do, who to hire, who to work with, how to scale, etc. You can still make some decisions every now and then. You’ll become knowledgeable in every aspect of your business from sales and marketing to building a team. Over time you’ll evolve into a CEO, but you can still write some code from time to time.”
The young man paused again… and then asked, “Ok, and how long will this take?”
To which the VC replied again, “Probably 5–10 years. You’ll have to work some nights and weekends to keep up with the investor milestones. They’ll keep you on track to make sure your business is profitable and growing. You may have to replace some of your travel with work conferences to stay up to date with industry trends. Your weekly soccer matches will probably be replaced with work happy hours and team building. It will be a “grind” but totally worth it to become an industry leader.”
“And then what?” asked the young man.
The VC laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The VC said, “Then you would basically retire and have time to sleep late, cook breakfast, play with your kids, take walks with your wife, travel a bit, and play soccer with your buddies.”
The point of the story here is simple.
Sometimes we already have what we ultimately want.
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Ali is a creator who's passionate about guiding people to their truth. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people realize their most authentic life. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.