Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lesson #3 - The Road Trip : Plan for rough weather and the occasional falling cow.

Now that you have your team pumped up and your destination plugged into the GPS - its time to start the road trip. Like any trip, there will be road blocks, detours and maybe falling cows - but as long as you keep driving towards the destination - you will never feel lost.

I want to share with you a great "Destination" story. It is a story about two hitchhikers who had their fair share of rough weather. The story begins - Two guys (ages 23 and 24) meet in college. At first they can't stand each other - always arguing - but eventually the mutual respect surfaces once they both realize they share similiar ambitions. They started working together on an ambitious project (nicknamed Backrub). Neither knew exactly how they were going to get to their destination, but there was no doubt in their minds where they were going.

Once that had a working product, they decided to call some potential customers. Each discussion ended the same - "Guys, that's interesting, but not interested right now." Unfortunately, with limited money and busy trying to finish college, both were faced with a big decision. Both decided to leave college and start the company - but they knew they needed cash to continue operations and reach their destination. (Everyone needs gas money).

They started talking to people they knew - looking for prospective investors. After months of searching and coming close to calling it quits, they got an inpromtu meeting with a colleague of their professor. As one of the guys tells the story - "We met him very early one morning on the porch of a faculty member's home in Palo Alto. We gave him a quick demo. He had to run off somewhere, so he said, 'Instead of us discussing all the details, why don't I just write you a check?' It was made out for $100,000."

The rest is history. Those two guys are Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google,Inc.. Their company is worth over 100 Billion dollars. Their Destination was simple - create a more powerful search engine, and give users more relevant results. From day one, nothing went as planned, but they knew exactly where they were going.

So remember, despite the lightning storms, the flat tires and the occasional falling cow that hits the hood of the car - nothing that happens in the journey can change the Destination.

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