When I started at Geekdom two years ago, I was two months out of college, and my list of startup relevant skills was one word long. I came into the job (and our huge ecosystem of entrepreneurs) expecting that everyone knew what they were doing. I pictured the people who started companies as high-achieving geniuses who, unlike me, didn’t have any doubts. While that’s a super intimidating thought, I was incredibly excited to learn from everyone. The learning tons from everyone I met did turn out to be a real thing. Everything else I expected was totally off.
Surprisingly, people starting companies are normal human beings. Even more surprising, adults are also normal human beings. You don’t turn 22 and suddenly receive magical adult-y knowledge that prevents you from getting road rage and forgetting to put your laundry in the dryer. Within the first month at Geekdom, I realized no one knows what they’re doing. The people founding companies are still high-achieving genius humans. It’s just that they also have doubts about the best course of action, get stressed, procrastinate and have to do things totally outside their wheelhouse to achieve their goals.
The story you know is that in these past two years, Geekdom doubled in size, expanded to three floors + an event space, improved our customer satisfaction, etc. While I love the victories, what I remember viscerally were all the false starts, all the little failures that helped us figure out what success actually looks like. I started as a project manager, but then we needed an events person. We didn’t have anyone doing sales so we hired someone. People previously doing office manager stuff, billing, etc became the membership managers you know and love. There was never a playbook for what we were doing or how to do it. The whole concept of “guess and check” from math class was very applicable to daily life. And all of that was just the Geekdom team. There were also sorts of changes, risks taken, adventures embarked upon throughout the rest of the community as well.
Instead of thinking less highly of the people around me, I find myself more impressed. All of the success stories (both large and small) were not about super humans; these are average humans with crazy above average bravery. I could talk your ear off about everything I learned working with the most amazing team I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. The really important take away is that you can do anything if you assemble a solid team and aren’t afraid of making mistakes while you figure out what your success story is going to be.