What Startups Can Learn From The Movie — “Eddie the Eagle”
Last Saturday evening, I went to watch Wolverine teach a complete noob how to ski jump without breaking all his bones in the process. At least, that was pretty much the elevator pitch I gave my friends to convince them to watch the movie with me.
As I watched Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards attempting to overcome all odds to achieve his boyhood dream of participating in the Olympics, it occurred to me that there were some lessons that startups can learn from. Here are my three takeaways:
- Eddie started off with a goal — to go to the Olympics. He cared less about how he was going to get there and more about getting there. He recognised the need to try many different ways to figure out which would take him there; when every single way failed, he pivoted and adjusted his goal slightly — to the Winter Olympics. In the startup world, it’s also important to do this — start with a goal/problem in mind, try different ways to solve it and recognise if and when to pivot.
- Ask for help. Do whatever it takes. Even if you get laughed at and told “no” thousands of times. Eddie was kicked off the England squad and told he would have to jump 70m to qualify for the Great Britain squad in the Winter Olympics in a dangerous sport he had little experience in. It was his kamikaze “do or die trying” attitude which made fans embrace him. Most entrepreneurs like Eddie, have been told that they’re crazy thousands of times, too. It’s the determination, drive and chip on their shoulders that makes entrepreneurs keep going anyway.
- Just do it. There are many who speak of wanting to start a business but are afraid to try for fear of failing and rejection. It’s true that the odds are stacked against startup founders, but the same applies for anyone doing something difficult for the first time. Not every startup becomes a unicorn like Uber, Airbnb or Snapchat; but if you don’t try, you’ll never even have a shot at finding out. And perhaps this is where the Olympic adage, first expressed by the founder of the games Pierre de Coubertin comes in as a useful reminder:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”