Whenever I kneel down to do a set of pushups, I know there will be pain, and I know that at some point my body will be screaming at me to quit, but I’ve learned that there’s always one more in me. That same lesson of persistence is something I always try to apply to business. Whether I feel it when I’m doing that 55th pushup or running the 17th mile, I remember that pain is something I can’t control — it will always come and go. What I can control is how I choose to focus my attention.
I’ve been working on Swayy for about 1.5 years full-time now. During that time I’ve come across a varying number of competitors. Some of these competitors I have strongly feared or disliked without even knowing the people behind the company. This is usually because I feel discomfort toward someone or something that reveals my own weaknesses. This is something that has proved a hindrance in the past; it paralyzes my thoughts, freezes them on what I “can’t” or “haven’t” done instead of focusing on what is yet to come.
Simon Sinek recently gave a talk at the How To Academy where he talked about how he was invited to speak at an in-house workshop event for Microsoft. He addressed their highest leaders, who were constantly and staunchly obsessed with Apple, their competition. He quickly contrasted that experience with another he had had when he was invited to give a talk at an in-house workshop for, oddly enough, Apple. The big difference was that Apple talked very little about competition and focused much more about the future, where they wanted to go. What was more intriguing was the story that Simon gave after the comparisons were made.
Simon was in the back of a car with one of the high-level executives from Apple and just for the sake of fun, he brought up the fact that he had just gotten the new Microsoft “Zune” (soon released after the iPod) MP3 player. He went on about how simple, elegant and seamless it was, and ultimately he said to the executive, “I think it’s much better it was than the iPod”. The Apple executive looked over at him and nonchalantly said, “I have no doubt.” The conversation was finished. Apple knew that it wasn’t only about having the best product, but rather have the best message that framed the customer as the hero.
Simon goes on to talk about finite vs. infinite businesses. Finite companies focus on the short-term growth associated with sales and product, but infinite companies focus on the ideals and visions that shape their futures which will ultimately impact sales. I understood that to mean that finite companies create a set of tasks to be completed while infinite companies create a foundation to base ambitions upon, leading to a workplace that thrives upon sincerity and passion, not product and market aggression. Being an infinite company is about setting the stage for the future today.
The reason Apple has been known to be so great in the past is not only because of their unique product lines but more so because they choose to set their focus on the future, not the past; on the customer, not the competition; and on the ideals, not the ideas.
So as Swayy continues to grow I have decided to focus less on the competitor and more on the customers. As we create our place in the outdoor market we will forever focus on how we make steps today that will guide us into a brighter future for tomorrow. Thanks for joining us.