Monday, February 11, 2013

Showing Up? Be Like Demon Hunter

The recent Esquire piece about the guy who double-tapped "UBL" is pretty awesome.

If you're willing to forgive some big-league inaccuracies about the military benefits system, and just focus on the story, it's completely worth the read.  (The author overplayed his hand a bit on the whole 'guy serves his country and gets screwed for it' narrative).

Here's the most important passage for me:

"When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated them," the Shooter says. "Metallica got wind of this and they said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence.' I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All. 
"But we stopped using their music, and then a band called Demon Hunter got in touch and said, 'We're all about promoting what you do.' They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my Demon Hunter patch on every mission. I wore it when I blasted bin Laden."
Here's why I loved that passage so much:  Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to sit down for an hour, one-on-one, with someone who took a consulting firm from "idea" to "multimillion-dollar international entity."  The meeting was a good mix of encouragement and tough love, and one of the things that made the biggest impression on me was this:  "Put aside all this 'no barrier to entry' stuff for a minute.  100 people could have the same idea tomorrow, and all start up tomorrow, and there's a simple way you can beat the pants off of all of them -- by showing up."

He went on to give a few specific examples of how little 'extra' steps enabled him to quickly differentiate.  NONE of it was rocket science, and ALL of it was the equivalent of the QB who stays to watch the extra film or the coach who takes the slight risk to make the bigger play.

Which is kinda what Demon Hunter did.  I have no idea who -- or what -- Demon Hunter is, and I'm not sure I care to find out.  But because they are now mentioned prominently in what will be one of the most cited and most linked magazine stories this year, they have just rocketed to a new level of prominence.

I'm also not entirely sure how Demon Hunter made contact with the protagonist in the story.  But what matters to me is that Demon Hunter showed up.  They are now ever-so-slightly associated with the ending to the biggest manhunt in history.

Why am I so confident that I can succeed in a business that's not based on Intellectual Property and has a low barrier to entry?  (Even though a portion of it is, but that's in development and is a subject for another day).

Because I know I can show up.  It's how I've succeeded in my military career, it's how I've succeeded in my academic career, and it's how I'll succeed in my civilian career.  There's something innate about knowing when, and how, to show up, and it can't be measured by a 40-yard dash, a vertical leap, a Wonderlic, or your 225 reps at the combine.

It's whether you want to be Tom Brady or Ryan Leaf....and if the game of football were 'uninvented' tomorrow, and could never be played again, I would always bet on the former against the latter.  It could be backgammon, tiddly winks, high-stakes poker or investment banking.  The arena doesn't matter as much as the mentality does.  

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Blame it on Woody Allen, who said XX% of life is just showing up.  (Some say he said 80 and some say he said 90).  And, maybe he is correct, given that he keeps showing up and we keep giving him respect.

But, to the larger issue, I think the showing up part is correct.  Sometimes it is hard to show up, but showing up means you are there at the critical moment.

The flip side of it is "never give up", as a great American politician once said, “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Regards  —  Cliff