I recently got some amazing business cards printed, it was right after I realized that the project I was woking on was not one I could commit to on the long run, so I decided to make them presentation cards that introduced me in a not-so-informal manner. On the back I printed out a quote borrowed from the Holstee Manifesto “Life is about the people we meet and the things we create with them.” I chose it, because I think it sums up pretty well what I want my professional path to be like. It took some months and a few bumps in the road for me to realize just how accurate that quote selection was.
When I decided to leave my latest project, I had to talk to a few people about it. We had been working for months, and even though me choosing to part ways wasn’t a complete surprise, I still wanted to state my case as clearly as possible. This led to one of the smartest conversations I’ve had in the past five years. One of the investors of the project pulled me into an empty room, sat in a chair across me and started a very honest speech about what he thought I should do with my future and what he saw as my strengths, flaws, weaknesses and, most importantly, my drivers.
I think I’m very aware of what I’m good at and I also try to keep my shortcomings in sight. But for two years, I had not sat down and thought about what woke me up in the mornings, what made things make sense: what drove me. In five minutes, Fede pointed it out with incredible ease. My driver is impact.
Realizing this gave way to some very insightful future and retrospective thinking: I do need to see impact, and even though I tolerate pressure well, frustration hits as time elapses without me seeing some of my work hitting a target. I spent the next two weeks reflecting on this. This was about the time when I found out Jeduan, my former business partner, is moving to San Francisco; diving head first into the startup scene over there.
N-talk failed, I already wrote about that. In our time on that project, we probably made every mistake out there in what at hindsight seems like a twirling comedy of errors. But we learned A LOT doing it, and we became very close. Then we stopped speaking for a while; finally, after a few months, we eventually got our friendship back on its feet. It was in the middle of this process that we had a whiskey-filled conversation in which he said he was thinking about leaving Mexico and trying out his luck in Silicon Valley. I saw right through it: he was trying to validate his idea in order to justify his decision and eventual outcome. In all honestly I told him I tought he should grab life by the balls and go try his luck where everything is happening. Quit his job, leave the country, have a life adventure worth telling.
I wholeheartedly wanted him to do it. I bickered at friends wanting to offer him jobs, I emphatically pointed out to each of them “If you want him to grow, let him go”… It finally dawned on me, as we were ridding the metro heading to our final concert/ farewell party: I made an impact. Even if minimal, I worked for months on making him see just how much he’s worth, how much potential he has, how much I believed in him. I pushed him to travel and go across the United States for the first time in his life, to talk to people he found intimidating, to walk and talk like he owned a company and the place, to crack every joke he could think of; just because I always believed he deserved more than he was taking. I believed he could create and command, rather than repeat and obey. I wanted him to believe it too: I think he does now.
It was his call, his courage, and it will be his adventure, but like to think that at some point, when he’s in the middle of it he’ll think of our stupid, mad and crazy times together and smile. Maybe realizing that in the end, they explain where he is. I like to think this was my impact, and if I’m right, then I’m satisfied.