It Doesn’t Have to End Well, To Have Been Really Great
My ode to every business that has “failed” by market standards
A lot of people are asking me now, now that socialdeviant is growing up fast, has lots of amazing clients and an ever-expanding team of supremely kind and hyper-talented individuals, what’s the end game?
And, in the same breath, the suggestion on the table is that if we don’t sell for lots of money, or complete our journey with some seminal “end game” being played out for all to see, that we will have failed.
Not even close to being right.
We all die. It’s an inescapable final chapter, or “end game” if you will, of life. Yours. And Mine.
And yet, to judge our lives a failure because our lives end in death, would be to miss the point of life, entirely.
Every day, businesses big and small deliver the goods, try their very best, sweat and grind and pivot and make something happen. And each day should be valued for what it is — a great effort, herculean in most cases, to make something happen, and to create some value and meaning in this world.
Failure is a relative, and largely pernicious term.
There is no finish line. Start-ups win (or lose) every single day. The final tally is less the point than the sticky reality of the small wins we put on the board every single day.
I will never judge socialdeviant’s success by its final chapter. That would be so small-minded, and such an injustice to the journey we’re undertaking.
The only failure is in not trying. In not having ever taken the risk, started the business, attempted to make something special happen, in full view of everyone.
You took the risk. You dreamed the dream. You had the courage of your conviction. That alone, in my book, is a huge win.
And here’s the dirty secret that everyone focusing on an “exit” misses.
When you’re not planning for one particular outcome, you’re completely free to recklessly chase every moment. To over-deliver, to try to make something remarkable happen every single day.
Because who knows what tomorrow will bring — we can’t control the future, but we can control our effort and our passion and our ambition today.
By my accounting, we’re a huge success, right here and right now. Largely defined by the value we create for our clients, and our relentless pursuit of creating still more value for them.
And nothing will ever change that, because it’s in the books, double stamped, no erasies.
So are we a failure if our final chapter isn’t what others expect it to be?
Not. A. Chance.