What's Up Behind Whatzzup?
What's Up Behind Whatzzup?
Five cannibals get appointed as programmers in an IT company. During the welcoming ceremony the boss says, "You're all part of our team now. You can earn good money here, and you can go to the company canteen for something to eat. So don't trouble other employees".
The cannibals promise not to trouble the other employees. Four weeks later the boss returns and says, "You're all working very hard, and I'm very satisfied with all of you. However, one of our cleaners has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her?" The cannibals disavow all knowledge of the missing cleaner. After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibals says to the others, "Which of you idiots ate the cleaner?" A hand raises hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals says, "You fool! For four weeks we've been eating the unproductive Team Leaders, Managers, and Project Managers so no one would notice anything, and you have to go and eat the cleaner!"
Sometimes the ones that are away from the spotlight, the quiet ones, the ones working in the shadows are producing more than those who are constantly in the limelight, have high positions and are loud in bragging and boasting but at the end of the day, they do not produce work that matters.
Jesse Tevelow in his book “Hustle” may have a one word title but he does have a longer subtitle that goes this way, “The Life-changing Effects of Constant Motion.” It’s a good book that would teach lessons on how to achieve success in life, career and business. Allow me to share one of his stories in his book.
Tevelow tells the story of a man named Jan from Ukraine. Jan was born in a small town outside of Kiev, Ukraine. He was an only child. His mother was a housewife, his father a construction manager. When he was sixteen, he and his mother immigrated to Mountain View, California, mainly to escape the anti-semitic environment of their homeland.
Mountain View of course is the birth place of Google. It is “the” place where successful tech companies are located and as business people would address as the “right address.” This is also the place where my family and I would regularly visit and stay during the holidays.
Tevelow continues. Unfortunately, Jan’s father never made the trip. He got stuck in the Ukraine, where he eventually died years later. His mother swept the floors of a grocery store to make ends meet, but she was soon diagnosed with cancer. They barely survived off her disability insurance. It certainly wasn’t the most glamorous childhood, but he made it through. After college, Jan applied to work at Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer. He spent nine years building his skills at Yahoo, and then applied to work at Facebook. Unfortunately, he was rejected.
In 2009, Jan bought an iPhone and realized there was an opportunity to build something on top of Apple’s burgeoning mobile platform. He began building an app that could send status updates between devices. It didn’t do very well at first, but then Apple released push notifications. All of the sudden, people started getting pinged when statuses were updated. And then people began pinging back and forth. Jan realized he had inadvertently created a messaging service. The app continued to grow, but Jan kept quiet. He didn’t care about headlines or marketing buzz. He just wanted to build something valuable, and do it well.
By early 2011, his app had reached the top twenty in the U.S. app store. Two years later, in 2013, the app had 200 million users. And then it happened: In 2014, Jan’s company, WhatsApp, was acquired by Facebook―the company who had rejected him years earlier―for $19 billion.
I’m not telling this story to insinuate that you should go build a billion-dollar company. The remarkable part of the story isn’t the payday, but the relentless hustle Jan demonstrated throughout his entire life. After surviving a tumultuous childhood, he practiced his craft and built iteratively. When he had a product that was working, he stayed quiet, which takes extreme discipline. More often than not, hustling isn’t fast or showy. Most of the time it’s slow and unglamorous―until it’s not.
The author Jesse Tevelow’s insight is right on spot. Winners hustle. They may be quiet but they are quietly grinding, building skills, being patient working their way up and their way through and one day payday comes.
Most of us are focused on the success level of established and successful people because the success stories are very visible and glamorous. But most people never see nor understand the unsexy part of the grind, the enormous amount of work, the sacrifices and the discipline of getting there. And so, the success wannabe’s take the shortcut route. They falsify claims, they brag, they boast, they manipulate, they deceive and steal ideas and accounts thinking that this is the way for them to get to the success level. And while they may fool some unsuspecting people for a while, their “instant success” is never sustainable and their duplicity and deception will always be unmasked.
“Hustle” is a good book. It teaches the old-fashioned way of discipline, grind, grit and honest hard work. But then again, the success wannabes would never bother to read the book. It’s too much work for them. Meanwhile, they will continue to put more claims and “stories” especially in their Facebook status.
Just one word of advice…. watch out for the cannibals.
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