Chip And Seth
First things first: I was weird. Chip was an all-star. Generous, handsome, smart and ready to open the door for anyone who needed a hand. Second: The real leap in Chip’s search for Wisdom that day at Stanford was going first. Not waiting to be picked, but becoming the picker.
A Couple of Wise Guys.
Déjà vu, all over again. The last time I co-wrote something with my Stanford Business School classmate, Seth Godin, was 35 years ago. We were two of the youngest people in our class, and, quite frankly, we were a little weird. I entered biz school at age 21, and Seth was just 3 months older. We were both entrepreneurs at heart. But we got restless in lectures, especially from professors who’d never run a business.
I was barely old enough to buy a beer when I found myself in my Stanford GSB classroom. I was bored silly. I was the second youngest person in our class of 300. Right off, I intuitively felt there was more to learning business than drawing decision trees and grokking cost accounting. So, I decided to DIY my education.
A Massage Studio & A Parking Lot.
As I outlined in this earlier post on “How to Become Wiser Starting Today,” one of my young CEO learning breakthroughs happened when I committed to writing in my “Wisdom Book” each weekend. The first of 52 boutique hotels we created was a rock ‘n roll motel. It was called The Phoenix. It had failure written all over it. We struggled in our first couple of years, even as I tried all the classic niche marketing approaches.
It’s Not For You.
For the decade and a half that I was a struggling entrepreneur, rubbing two sticks together for heat, I’d find myself in San Francisco a couple of times a year. And I’d stay at the Phoenix. Not because it was free (Chip charged me the slightly-discounted starving-entrepreneur rate) but because (at least at the beginning) Chip needed the business and I needed a cheap place to stay.
Mirror, Mirror...Who’s the Wisest of Them All?
They often say your friends and companions are reflections of you. Most of the time, this is a good thing. However, we all know those friends who can make you feel like you’re in a demented House of Mirrors. You feel fat, elongated, stupid, judgmental. Hopefully, by the second half of life, you learn whose reflection you want to emulate.
We Know How You Got Wise.
Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile together, not alone. He was surrounded by pace runners. But it wasn’t a competition, it was a mastermind. Wisdom doesn’t come from a blog post or a book. It only comes from one place: experience.
Thank you, Seth. Being a friend is offering a witness to wisdom. For 37 years, I’ve had a front-row seat. You taught me that success is not a destination; it’s a way of being. You also taught me that to be successful, we must be useful. And it helps if we’re also remarkable, even if that means we’re a “purple cow” (otherwise we’ll end up invisible in a world filled with distractions).
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