Last night at the Tech/no seminar, Biz Stone spent a good amount of time talking about stories from his life that led to his success. One of my favorite stories was about his high school sports career, and the idea that if an opportunity isn’t there, you can always make one for yourself.
I really liked this idea, and if given more time I would have liked to hear him expand on it. When starting high school, Stone tried out for basketball, football, and baseball. He didn’t make any of the teams and instead found a sport that didn’t exist at his school. He and a group of kids started the lacrosse team. The story hints at the entrepreneurial spirit in Biz Stone even at a younger age. There wasn’t room in the existing sports market, and therefore Stone founded a “startup” sport.
While the message of the story is clear, I left the talk a little confused. While im not doubting the time and effort put into starting a new sport, its curious why he didn’t mention how the team did compared to other teams. I wonder if he is willing to admit they settled for mediocracy. Maybe they were in fact very good.
In the end, I think that regardless of how well the team did, the ability to go outside your comfort zone and explore something new takes a lot of talent. Regardless of whether or not his Lacrosse team “failed” it was definitely instrumental in Biz Stone’s entrepreneurial development. In other cases, Biz praised failure, as it allows us to develop by recognizing what we did wrong.
If given the chance, I would have asked Biz how well his team did, and if it even mattered. The story is about manufacturing your own opportunities, but if you are only mediocre in these manufactured opportunities, are they still a success?