All in Investment Banking
In my last post, I talked about the thought process we (should) go through when deciding if it’s time to quit what we’re doing.
While there were multiple idea threads that inspired that post, one of them was an article by Mariam Naficy, the Founder and CEO of Minted, an online design marketplace. In that article, Mariam talked about how she raised a small seed round from friends and family and then launched the business, originally intending it to be a lifestyle business. And then:
If we’ve labored over a job or an initiative or a project (of any scale) for a concerted period of time, and it hasn’t delivered what it was supposed to, we’ll find ourselves asking that very question, in one form or another.
Am I done? Is it time? When is enough, enough?
Of course, it’s a difficult question to answer.
We’re in a business environment that, for the most part, is fixated on growth. One that values year over year, double and triple digit revenue increases as absolutely essential to being considered a “successful” company, to not be considered a failure.
In particular, if the organization is funded, that’s almost always a base level expectation. You aren’t being funded to simply create a going concern, you’ve been given a charter to create something transformative, huge, the next proverbial unicorn. (The more prominent the funders, the more prominent this expectation becomes.)
I’m so busy. I’ve got a ton going on. I don’t have the time. We hear (and say) these phrases regularly, and to little surprise, given all that we might have on our plate at any given time.
In most ways, of course, it’s good to be busy. To experience the buzz you get when things at work are humming along, when you’re in full flow and driving towards whatever goals you’re working towards.
The flip side, though, is when we feel as if we have to be this way all the time - and worse, to show it, and constantly say it.
…Is that there really isn’t any such thing.
In popularity contests of any significance (where a sizable population is asked for its endorsement of an individual or a subject or an action), the landslide win is not a common occurrence. More prevalent (in my admittedly unscientific assessment) is the close race, where the margin of victory is in single digit percentage points.
We have this obsession, usually rightly so, with organized, accredited education. In an era when economic disparity and the income gap is at its widest, getting a “proper education” isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
Which is something most of us agree on, plus the fact that a proper education is defined as not simply completing high school, but obtaining a college degree, at minimum. I think I’m on pretty safe ground when I say that.
How many newsletters do you get in your inbox every day? How many emails do you get with an update on some issue or department or project? How many notifications do you get on your phone with the latest piece of “must-have” information?
Now, how many of them do you actually read?
There are at least 15 colleges that deserve a place in the top 10 best colleges in the country. There are 20 restaurants that can credibly argue that they are one of the 5 best restaurants in your city. And if you and I were so inclined, we could absolutely name 25 guitarists who could reasonably stake a claim to being among the 10 best guitarists ever.
There are times when persistence, dedication, devotion are absolutely essential. Nothing great has ever been achieved by flitting from one activity to another, without considered thought for quality, without regard for tangible results. Success - however you define it - depends on this.
But to persist in situations that don't align with your inherent values, that don't feel right in that regard, is a recipe for failure.
There's certainly a value to be placed on growth. On the continual pursuit of expansion.
It drives us to look for development opportunities, to rethink how things are done, to change what we think is 'conventional' i.e. "the way it's always been".
Growth is a tremendous value creator.
It's a crazy idea, one that's quite difficult, if not impossible, to implement. (And, many might argue, not desirable, either.) But like a lot of Tom Peters' ideas, it's provocative.