What Would Yoda Do?

Glen Hellman

On a recent visit to Dogabah, I had the good fortune to sit down with well-known business coach, galactic rebel and Jedi Master, Yoda.  In my short visit with him, I asked him to share with me the underlying wisdom of 5 of his most famous quotes and to apply them to small company start-ups.

Me: Thank you for joining me today, Master Yoda. What is your assessment of the current environment for founding a start-up.

Yoda: Treacherous the landscape be for companies in these dark times that founding they choose.  Dark forces like corporate giant death stars are aligned to see them succeed not and dry as the Tatooine desert is the available sustenance from the Venture Capitalist Sith Lords in these days of low light.

Me: I was talking to one of your coaching clients, Luke Skywalker and he told me that the key lessons he learned from you could be summed up in 5 of your simple things you said to him.  Would you mind if I asked you to expound on these quotes?

Yoda: Ahhh, Skywalker, strong is the force with that one.  With your questions, you may proceed.

Me: Quote #1.” Try not. Do or do not…. there is no try. “

Yoda: Lost is the battle if one decides only to try.  Set out to do and success is assured not. Set out to try and assured is your failure.

Me: So are you saying that if you acknowledge the possibility of failure than failure becomes likely?

Yoda: Ahhh, as dumb as you look, you are not, Padawan.

Me: Quote #2. “Size matters not.”

Yoda: At me you should look. Of stature I am short yet mountains I can move. Small once were the largest of companies.  Defending too much space must the corporate giants now do. Defeat the guy of bigness can the fellow of small stature if focused his energy be in a small point of the big one’s weakness.  On all fronts can the corporate giant fight not.  His eyes and ears know not every inch of his domain that must be protected.

Me: So this is kind of like what Geoffrey Moore talks about when he says that to succeed we should focus on the first pin in a bowling alley and not focus on the entire 10 pins.

Yoda: Ahhh, Moore, to the dark side many times I thought I was going to lose that Padawan.

MeQuote #3.”Named must your fear be before banish it can be.”

Yoda: Borrowed from Susan Scott in her book, “Fierce Conversations” did I from that quote.  “A problem named is a problem solved,” is how Scott said it.

Me: Quote #4 “Great warrior.  Wars not make one great.”

Yoda: Victory, the vanquished, the spoils of war, are greatness not.  If evil prevails greatness is not to the victor.  Financial gains alone are victories of hollow souls if good is not achieved with gain.  Purpose! Victory with purpose that brings light to darkness is what greatness makes a warrior.

Me: So what your saying is that the folks who got rich on mortgage derivatives are not great warriors? You’re saying that benevolent corporate leaders, who create employment, give back to their community, are socially responsible, along with financial gain are the Great Warriors?

Yoda: Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, clawed his way back from the dark side this one did, and companies like Google are great warriors.

Me: Okay and my last quote, Quote #5, “When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not.”

Yoda: Too often underrated is wisdom and experience by youth who emphasize intelligence over all.

Me: Well thank you Master Yoda for sitting down with me today.

Yoda: Yours was the pleasure only.  Assure you I do.

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Glen Hellman (@glehel), is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and works for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He is the Chief Entrepreneureator at Driven Forward LLC, frequently muses on his blog, Forward Thinking, and works with entrepreneurs to help them figure out what to do and get them to do it.

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