A couple months back I was sitting in a dorm chatting with Gabriel Stein, a friend I had met the day before who’s conversation I enjoyed more and more. We both went to attend Maverick Next, a summit for young entrepreneurs.
“What’d you think of today’s speakers?” He asked.
“Hmmm, they were okay, I feel like since they’re at such a higher level than me, I can’t really connect with what they’re saying, I also feel like they generalize, I mean, it’s interesting, but I can’t really apply their lessons to my own business”.
“True” he replied, “Context is so key. With the right context you’ll be able to draw meaning from what they're saying. Like Jason, when he kept emphasizing ‘hire the right people, especially lawyers, and look thoroughly through your contracts’ that may not mean much to you, but to him that was a million dollar lesson”.
We discussed the event some more, and he later asked me what problems I’m facing in business.
“I can’t seem to find a working sales funnel,” I told him. “Like we get sales and clients randomly, but its not because I initiated a marketing plan”.
He began telling me that business isn’t about figuring out the right marketing plan (something I already knew), but that it was about meeting supply and demand.
“As an entrepreneur, you don’t have to develop and master a skill to develop a product, or skills to deliver a service. Its about meeting supply and demand. There are certain people who want certain things, and certain people who want to do certain things, you provide the opportunity for those two people”.
I didn’t quite understand what he meant, and to this day I still don’t quite understand what he means from a practical standpoint, but I’m slowly figuring it out.
It was just these two concepts, we talked about, we had discussions on creating value, showing ROI, productivity. And toward the end of the conference I starting figuring out what he meant in all those topics.
“Yeah Gabriel, I think after today I’m starting to get what you mean” I told him, “But its annoying, because all these concepts that you’re telling me are swimming in my head, and I have to piece them together slowly after doing things in order to get context from experience”.
“Yeah, it is annoying isn’t it?” He said with whimsicle smile across his face, “Why do we have to circle around to get the answers? Why can’t we just understand it step-by-step? …haha but that’s what we want though isn’t it? We don’t want it to be laid out in front of us, we want to piece it together over the years."
I couldn’t help but immediately admit how true that statement was.
And I left the summit, with nothing immediately actionable, nothing really tangibly gained, and a lot of confusing concepts taking up my mental processing. But I felt a little wiser. Still, I couldn’t help but think of how much I listened to Gabriel. I pour a lot of time into books on business, productivity, habits. And here was Gabriel; a couple years younger than me, and knows more about business than me, has a bigger business than me, and a better grasp of habits and productivity.
I know age shouldn’t matter, but in college I really enjoyed giving advice to the underclassmen. And here, I felt the reverse. But good advice is good advice and while I feel humbled, I feel optimistic about finding more friends that are younger and smarter.