Entrepreneurial Discontent: Episode Eight

Restore Balance to the Entrepreneurial Force

Wisdom from the Future – Jack Fussell (@jackfusselljr)

Jack Fussel

Tell me about yourself

One of my favorite quotes is from Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild: “Happiness is only real when shared.” Every new idea a serial entrepreneur has must be shared. But loneliness often comes when you share your thousandth idea and realize the world has stopped listening.

“So tell me about yourself!” was the leading statement in my interview with Jack Fussell (my good friend from Copenhagen). Seems to be an easy question to answer, right? Not for the aspiring serial entrepreneur. You may catch them at a peak moment and get a passionate dissertation about some new idea, or you may watch them fade into a confused – somewhat depressed – demeanor as they realize they can’t answer the question. In a world of conformity, the mind of a serial entrepreneur looks chaotic. And while chaos can be adventurous, at times, it can also be lonely.

But every time I hear others share their story of entrepreneurial discontent, it reminds me that WE ARE NOT ALONE! In fact, those from the future (6 hours, to be exact) also experience this idea turmoil. According to Jack, after watching my 3am rant video, he realized he wasn’t the only entrepreneurial “town drunk” out there! Jack’s inner idea-driven chaos is clear the minute you look at his endless list of late night Evernote files: If our ideas were the paint on a canvas, the results would bear a remarkable resemblance to a Jackson Pollock.

Sheepishly, Jack admitted, “If you ask my wife, she will tell you I have no idea how to articulate what is going on in my head.” I know my wife feels the same way sometimes, but with the inspiration from a sunrise, “Each day is a new day of domain names, blogs to launch and ideas to meditate on.”

Jack has already come to terms with a thought I’m really struggling with: “I have a million ideas, and I know that am not going to pursue them all.” I know I certainly won’t be able to act on a million ideas, but it begs the questions: which ideas do I act on? Will I choose the right one? Will I find myself in five years in the same place asking myself the same question?

Jack also has great insight for filtering his ideas

He notices trends across multiple ideas…
Then pursues (with a monstrous appetite) content that speaks into the ideas…
Then goes door to digital door, finding mentors, friends, or anybody who can help him.

When I asked Jack if his brain was always a room full of light bulbs, his answer surprised me: it’s only been two years! ONLY 2 YEARS. I think Jack is absolutely brilliant. He is a big thinker – a visionary – but equally a learner and student.

Prior to a couple years ago, Jack believed that he was an “evil dreamer…that exploring what could be was an act of rebellion.” This could be a product of being raised in the deep south, where strong hospitality is extended until you buck the system. Rock the boat, and you find yourself cast into the wilderness of ungrateful dreamers.

Something changed

Spending time with friends, mentors and brilliant strangers outside conformist, Jack realized something: “These aren’t CEOs with PhDs, or apprentices hand-picked by Obi-Wan Kenobi to bring balance back to the entrepreneurial force.” These are people. People like you and me. People like Jack, a guy from the deep south who decided to move his family to Copenhagen. A photographer by day and an Evernote junkie by night. As much confidence as that realization brought him, it does the same for me now.

Insights I received from this interview

Maintain a network of “entrepreneurs anonymous,” a safe place to share ideas.
Look for consistency across all my ideas and start consuming content from experts in those categories.
Find mentors who are ahead of me (Incredible advice I’ve received from each interview.)
Next Steps: Look for patterns. Learn, learn and learn more. Find mentors who are ahead of me.

Original header photo by Dino ReichmuthOberägeri, Switzerland