Mamba mentality (Ricky Weekly #83)
This is where I share 3 things every week with my friends and anyone else interested.
A picture from my life:
Took a quick trip down to LA and stayed in downtown. They’ve been trying to revitalize the area and it’s pretty cool to see. This particular corner of DTLA feels very NYC to me.
A thing on my mind:
I came across Dalton Caldwell’s pivot equation recently from my friend Jason Shen:
How well things are working / months of concerted full-time effort
Excitement to work on something else * confidence that you can make it work better
If 1 > 2, stay the course. Otherwise, pivot.
I love it because this equation captures the reason why I work with a strong sense of urgency. The denominator of 1 (“months of concerted full-time effort”) is very visceral to me. It’s like the game clock in basketball, helping me feel every second of the clock ticking and keeping my eyes on the score, and the longer the game has been going the higher the stakes get.
“Scoring” is this startup game is to grow rapidly. When competing in the world’s biggest stage for customers’ attention and money, truly breaking out is rare. The odds are probably like averaging 25 points per game in the NBA. Only 10 out of approximately 450 players did it last year, and millions of people compete to be one of the 450 in the NBA. Everything has to go right — team, product, situation/timing, external forces — on top of the required daily grind. It’s fun trying to win on this level but also endlessly frustrating when you don’t score.
David shared this quote with me once and it’s been a favorite all these years:
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Being a founder is full of contradictions. When you’re keeping score and everyday it’s just more airballs, it’s hard to not question everything, and yet you have to maintain conviction, make adjustments, and put up the next shot. I sometimes wish I had more of that “first-rate intelligence” and can be less emotional so I don’t take failures so personally. But I also love this game because it is so incredibly personal. Win and lose, it’s more you than most other games you can play in, on one of the bigger stages.
I’m reminded of the late great Kobe Bryant:
I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game…[you] can get more shots in the game. The only reason [you don’t] is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.
Mamba Mentality is nice marketing for this idea of utter conviction in the face of great challenge, but my friends and I have also made fun of this Kobe quote because it’s just plain ridiculous to keep shooting when you’ve missed 9 straight. Ridiculous is exactly what this is though. Trust in your work and do what you need to do to make that next shot.
A piece of content I recommend:
Savage X Fenty Show 2021 on YouTube
In LA we randomly stayed at the Westin Bonaventure only to realize that it’s got really cool “postmodern” architecture by architect John Portman. I don’t know anything about architecture but I thought it was cool. I found out that Rihanna did her fashion show over there last year. If you want to get a sense of how cool the hotel is, watch these clips.
Feel good bonus: Casey Neistat runs the NYC Marathon
I’m late to Casey Neistat like I’m late to Mr. Beast, but ever since Casey Neistat started vlogging again a few weeks ago I’ve been hooked on every video. His love for New York City is unparalleled and the city clearly loves him back. That relationship is so wholesome it makes me feel so happy!
As always, you can find out what I’m thinking in more real-time on Twitter and my essays are on my website. My primary focus (and where I focus) is on Flow Club.
You're my inspiration Ricky!