How DropBox Happened
If you have ever used the cloud computing and storage app “Dropbox”, you are probably familiar with its ease of use, ability to remotely access files from anywhere, and store large files that email cannot. But, what you may not know is how Dropbox came into existence. The idea came to the founder, Drew Houston in 2006, while on a bus from Boston to New York. With more than 500 million registered users and annuals revenues exceeding $1bn, how does an idea that was birthed on a bus morph into such a success? Before we answer that, let’s look at another lesser known story behind an NBA future Hall of Famer.
Baskets for Nets
Two time NBA MVP Stephen Curry is known for his scoring prowess especially behind the 3-point line. It seems like every time he shoots from anywhere on the court you get the feeling that it is going to go in. But there is a greater cause behind those points that come from beyond the arc; mosquito nets. When Curry found out the high death rate (one child dies every two minutes) caused by malaria and that mosquito nets treated with insecticides were necessary to curb this deadly but preventable devastation on life, he teamed up with a United Nations campaign called ‘Nothing But Nets’. Curry applied his scoring abilities to bring awareness to this campaign. Aside from his own personal contribution, for every 3-pointer made, Curry donates 3 mosquito nets to the foundation. In his past five NBA seasons, according to basketball statistics, he has made 1,485 3-pointers which equates to 4455 nets! He also donated a net for each of his Curry 4 Low Colorway shoe that was sold. Curry is making a big impact off the court because he is playing with a greater cause in mind. He is literally saving lives. You can join him in this solution based campaign at https://www.nothingbutnets.com.
If we are to live significant lives that go beyond ourselves by making an impact in others, consider these three essentials.
Have an End Game
Back to Dropbox. In the midst of all the fanfare and success of Dropbox, their aim hasn’t changed: “To make customers happy.” This endgame which is not centered on notoriety or on fame but rather on providing excellent service to its subscribers keeps them trending upward in the world of cloud storage. Every idea, vision, or mission must carry with it an end game, which is always bigger than itself. When Phil Knight, started Nike, his goal was not to be a big name brand or to make millions, but as a former track athlete, he wanted to improve the runner’s shoes. What or who does your ultimate goal serve? Is it plugged into something greater than yourself? When you find a way to attach what you do to a cause bigger than you, then love, perseverance, confidence, contentment, and relationships will be attracted to your life as well.
Play the Long Game
In his book, No Excuses, New York Times bestselling author, Brian Tracy references a term called, “long time perspective” derived from sociologist Dr. Edward Banfield’s research on successful people. According to Brian, successful people look ahead as far as they can into the future as they consider their decisions and actions in the present. In short, they look before they leap. Recently, I watched a video from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and currently the richest man in the world. In the video he rehashed how he started the online behemoth. He recounts leaving a good paying job and using an interesting metric by which he measured the importance of taking the leap; regret. He looked ahead to his 80 year old self and wondered if not starting what is now one of the most successful organizations would be his greatest regret. To him, it is better to have tried and failed than to live with the regret of “what if.” Playing the long game at what matters no matter how long it takes is one of the best decisions you could ever make in your life. For me, it is better to try and fail at what matters than to succeed at what doesn’t. Look as far ahead as you can and ask yourself, “Will I be content with the decision I make today or action I take five to ten years down the line?”
Master the Short Game
This may sound contradictory to the last one, but stick with me for a moment. In golf, everyone wants to hit the hole in one from a distance. But if you talk with the pros they will tell you that the game is really won at the short game (50 yards or less). This is where the pros spend their time practicing. The short game in golf requires creativity, imagination, innovation, intention, precision and discipline. Traits that come from a commitment to the process. These same traits are key to winning in everyday life as you play the long game. Mastering the short game is about your daily practices. It is who you are becoming on the inside, to have a greater reach and impact on the outside. These practices begin much like concrete, which when poured is shifty, fragile, and soft. But as it remains in place and cures, it becomes strong and serves as the foundation for a house for a long time to come. If you will engage in developing yourself daily you will discover a level of mental and physical fitness that will sustain you in the long game.
Final thought: I believe that an idea such as that of Dropbox that was birthed on a bus, morphed into a success by having an endgame in mind, playing the long game, and mastering the short game.
Challenge Corner: A greater cause is always close by if you become aware and willing to reach for it. It will be inconvenient and may require adjustments on your part but life is lived with greater satisfaction when you know what you are doing serves a greater cause than yourself. Maybe you can click on that link for the “Nothing But Nets” campaign and join Curry in saving lives. Give your best no matter how small it may be to a cause that is greater than you. Your little is much when it is given with the right heart. Do you have a greater cause?
Keep on Keeping on!