“Anything You Want” has been recommended to me on at least three occasions by as many people, but it was not until Cynthia Carrillo gave it to me for my birthday that I sat down to leaf through it. To distill the book to a single message, what I hear is: we should do what we love and try to never forget that, at the end of the day, we only live once.
The message is simple and, in its simplicity, it is tremendous.
At the end of the book, Derek suggests to email him. I figured, what the heck – he’s an interesting guy. His philosophy is similar to how I approach things (and in some ways, the book has adjusted my view on the world for the better). So I did. I sent him an email. And he responded. Not only did he respond, but he looked at what we are doing and loved it and gave us permission to tell others that he did. Exciting!
In his book, Derek makes a point that, unless something is a “Hell’s yeah!”, it should be a “No”. The tough part about entrepreneurship is that, after the initial excitement, what follows the “Hell’s yeah” is not as exciting as most people think. I remember someone once telling to me “Yeah. Entrepreneurship is about freedom. The freedom to work on weekends.” True. What makes entrepreneurship especially tough sometimes is that entrepreneurs are people who have to quickly evolve and learn new skills to survive. Scientists have to learn how to manage. Coders have to learn how to sell. Those who were professional at one thing now have to be dilettantes at ten, because if sales, budgeting, marketing, design, lead management, cold calling, email blasting, desk cleaning, event attending, investor pitching, etc. do not get done, then… then you might have to get a real job.
And the awesome thing about Derek is that, while this might not have been his intent, the book has helped me put it all in perspective. If something is a “Hell’s Yeah!”, sure it comes with baggage. But this baggage is, in itself, a bonus and the process of innovation to survive becomes a “Hell’s Yeah!” by association – we are not dilettantes, we are students.