Zen & Entrepreneurship-A Need to Simplify

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 25, 2018

Tufts and JumboWhen I became the Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, one of the Center's professors, a great guy and a superb instructor noted in our first faculty meeting "since you are the oldest..." , at which time, I jokingly cut him off, and he quickly course-corrected to point out... "I meant, you've been teaching here the longest". 
I've also realized during the last six months through Tufts' very unique perspective on entrepreneurship, innovation and research, that age has its benefits.  

Being...just a bit older...one of my favorite early-in-career, dog-eared-reads was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a cult book at the time reflecting how we live and a meditation on how to live better noting that "the real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called ‘yourself.’  Basically, a call to understand and improve one's self. Rooted throughout the text is a requirement that in order to achieve this improvement, there's a requirement to simplify.

Published in 1974, the book marked my first career move to Vermont. There have now been two Vermont startups in my history, and this first one was to set up a commercial masonry business, which I left three years later because I could no longer stand the isolation...and the lack of business...during the winters.  The second was much better and a lot more fun, but again, we moved back to Boston for more stimulation, but all through my Vermont afterlife, there has been this basic call...simply, to simplify. 

Not surprisingly therefore, given a ton of exciting activity at the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center in changing our marketing, kicking off a fundraising and launching an increase of 50% in our entrepreneurship events, I've been watching the unanswered emails and texts accumulate and noticed that the scale was starting to tip into the red zone.  As a result, I jumped in the car on Saturday-by myself and no cats-and headed off to the Vermont house...just to take a time out, breathe a bit more air and simply, to simplify.   

winhall market-2Bondville/Winhall is a very simple town of 647 people.

-"The Winhall Market" run by Lorraine, a superb entrepreneur!
-1 U.S. "Bondville Post Office"
-1 eight pump gas station-on a winter weekend, 10,000 people drive by
-5 real estate agents, 1 lawyer, & the smallest Citizens bank ever.

Taint' much, but a wonderful smaller-than-small town with lots of simple, and highly colorful stories all told repeatedly by "The Boys on the Bench" down at The Winhall Market, where Bud sits outside with his dog, Blue, who is really a golden. 



Two thoughts about these last 4 Days of the Q: 

1. you need to accelerate From 65 to 80 MPH

On one 24 hour day, (you remember, Labor Day, don't you), everything accelerated from the summer speed of 20 mph to the safe and authorized required speed for Q3 of 65 mph.  

  • Q3 & Q4 quotas loom a lot larger this morning than they did on Labor Day.  
  • You jumped headfirst into the deep end of the quota pool; now just embrace it and swim harder.
  • Ramp it up today and for the rest of this week from 65 to 80 mph.  You can sleep on Saturday!
  • You still have four entire days in which to sell!  Remember the math that most sales deals take 8 connection points, and most average-not you, of course-salespeople give up at #6!

2. once you finish the Q, take a day off !

What?  Is this Jack?   What the blazes are you talking about?

simplify sales Whether you planned it or not, scratch out Friday, October 4th.  Just place your cursor over the dates and type in "Simplify" and go somewhere or do something unplanned...with your partner, maybe the kids and the dogs or cats.  Breathe, walk in the woods, go to the beach, pick some apples, read an unplanned book like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Just simplify, decompress and prepare yourself mentally for the Q4 push. 

Trust me, since I've learned (given that I am "just a bit older"), that we cannot stop time, I've also learned that "the rest of the stuff" will all be there on Monday, the 8th, whether you're taking the long weekend break or not.  

  • You're going to need the energy and focus for the final push of Q4 !
  • Take a few hours that weekend and simplify your schedule by viewing it 50 feet off the ground!
  • Do not look at Q4 as 3 months; look at it as 57 to a max of 60 work days
  • Then cut out everything that can wait until January!  Just simplify...and put it off!

entrepreneurs at Tufts Good to be back and already into the fall! 
Great to be back on campus!  Looking forward to more work, more students, more entrepreneurship...and, of course, innovation, collaboration and partnershipsInterested in partnering at the Entrepreneurship Center, just connect with me.

Build something today!  #incubate@tufts.

Jack Derby

Please stay connected! 
Jack Derby, Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
Come to our Events
574 Boston Avenue, #102, Medford, MA 02155
Cell:  617-504-4222 jack.derby@tufts.edu  







Tags: entreprenurial, entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship