Get a coffee and some popcorn ready before you read this one. Love it or hate it, either way you'll be wildly entertained. Names and details changed, for obvious reasons.
Subject: Very important email from Sebastian. Please read ASAP.
This is a very important email. Please read it, wait 10-20 minutes before replying and just think about it (don't surf the web, just think), and then reply with your thoughts.
First, the tactical things -
1. Anyone one of you can use the following credit card to sign up for anything.
123 Sunny Drive
New York, NY 99988
Visa 3333555533335555 Expires 01/10
2. You must use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org when you use that, and UPDATE ME IMMEDIATELY for anything you buy.
3. Please use that judiciously for expenses and don't abuse it. I don't have infinite money. But use it to meet our goals.
I'll front all the cash for anything to move fast. Sam, use it for stuff, don't front any more cash. Jon, don't ask me for approval any more, just spend. I trust you, but PLEASE use my money well and carefully since it's limited. But I trust you, so just go for it. Lee, you too. Anything you need, just buy it. Jon, please replace any expenses you've done on the other card with this one - it's different, this card is ONLY used for our project and has never been used at Amazon before.
4. Re: Amazon.com, Jon, read this.
Jon - Please sign up for a brand new Amazon.com account. Don't use yours; create a new one. Use email@example.com as the email address. Get S3 running on it. Use the credit card I signed up with.
5. Buy any books or research materials you need with my card/address. Again, use it judiciously PLEASE, don't waste money. But do it, whatever you need to go fast.
Okay, the tactical level is complete. Now let's talk philosophically.
1. 99% of people you interact with in life are fucking jokers. You're used to joker behavior. But I'm not a joker, and I need you to not be a joker, so we can all win together.
We're all middle class. That sucks. We should be wealthy. But to be wealthy, we need to NOT BE JOKERS.
What's a joker? A joker is someone who says they're going to do something, and then doesn't. A joker always has excuses. "Oh well, I tried..." -> No, I don't give a fuck that you tried. Did you do it or not?
DID YOU DO WHAT YOU SAID YOU'D DO OR NOT?
If not, you're a fucking joker and we've got problems.
(Keep reading this email, think for 10-20 minutes before replying)
2. "We will find a way. Or make one." -Hannibal Barca, 247 BC – 182 BC
That's my favorite quote. Hannibal is one of my greatest heroes. I'm going to name one of my children after him. Hannibal Marshall.
He almost conquered Rome. He could have, actually, if he'd been willing to have all his men die to do so, but he loved his men too much so he didn't do it. Think about that! The man almost conquered Rome!
There's so many stories of him doing the impossible. Breaking out of ambushes, setting crazy fires, marching elephants through the Alps to invade the Italian Peninsula... dude, he took ELEPHANTS from Africa and MARCHED THEM THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS INTO ROME.
The Romans thought Hannibal had the FORCES OF HELL ON HIS SIDE. Why? Because of that quote: "We will find a way. Or make one."
Look. When shit doesn't get done, there's always a good reason. Yeah, you've got your job. Or you've got to go some class. Or the server crashed. Or whatever the fuck.
I don't care. I mean, I do care. But it's irrelevent. You need to get your part done. FIND A WAY. OR MAKE ONE.
If you don't have adequate resources, you come to me. I supply you with resources. That's my job. I picked you guys carefully and gave you only things that fit your skills, but if you're missing a skill, talk to me and I can find it. I can find god damn near anything for you, do anything for you, AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT A JOKER. And that means you need to FIND A WAY OR MAKE ONE.
3. Stop getting me involved with stupid shit. I trust you.
Look. Jon, you and I are back and forth on S3 a million times. You need something, I set it up, but it's wrong. So I need to do it again. Whatever. This is fucking stupid. We don't need me to set up an S3 or get you on mine or whatever. I gave you a credit card. Create a brand new account that's just for this project. BAM! We couldn't find a way, so we just created a way.
Look. You guys are pros. I trust you. You're all fucking excellent at what you do. You can ask me for feedback or help if you're not sure, and I'll respond very fast. But stop asking me to make stupid nitpicky decisions for you. Pick whatever email/newsletter program, buy it. Don't even ask me, just tell me what you did. Don't try to do something weird or crazy or perfect or different from what we need until what we need is done. Stop telling me that things won't scale or we can have a different business model or whatever. I mean, I love those ideas, let's keep talking about them. But those ideas need to COME SECOND AFTER FINDING A WAY OR MAKING ONE IN THE CORE STUFF WE NEED.
4. How being a joker affects everyone else.
The big problem with being a joker is that it fucks everyone up. I can do marketing campaigns, but I need product and tech set up first. I mean, it's not optional, it's a core dependency.
All of this shit was supposed to be done weeks ago. Don't give me your reasons, since I know you've got 10 million good reasons it isn't done. I, too, have other things I could be doing, and am forced to not do them in order to put time onto this project.
Now, here's the score. I had a very fast, but totally possible timetable. At first, we were on it, and killing it. Then, one of us slipped. I don't know who slipped first, it's irrelevant. Now, we're all slipping. Now, I'm at my company here in Beijing trying to do six months worth of work in 3 weeks. I just hired seven people and I'm training them all. And I'm building a crazy amount of tech. And we're trying to sell $10,000 products, and we're doing it on a shoestring budget. I'm working 12 to 17 hours per day, sometimes more.
Two nights ago, I worked 20 hours straight getting business cards, brochures, and flyers done. I got a top creative designer in there working for a fraction of his normal cost by being very fucking cool with him, and also working out a deal where we refer him business, and he can use our office space to hold client meetings during our off hours. I then BEGGED him to stay late, and told him that I'D BE A JOKER IF I DIDN'T GET WHAT I PROMISED TO MY STAFF ON MONDAY.
My staff move heaven and earth for me. And I seem like I have the Forces of Hell on my side, because I was given something on Saturday, I had a professional designer out here brand it on Saturday and Sunday, and I went to a 24 hour printshop on Sunday night in the wee hours of the morning. The designer came with me, working for peanuts compared to his normal rates (he's a top guy), and suffered with me at the printshop until 2:30AM. I went to bed at 2:53AM on Monday morning, and woke up around 5:40AM the same day to go back to the print shop to pick everything up. Then I took a freezing cold shower, had 3 coffees, took Piracetam, and presented to my staff on how our creative will interact with our sales procedure.
I FIND A WAY OR MAKE ONE. THE FORCES OF HELL SEEM TO BE ON MY SIDE.
But it's not the forces of hell. It's just me, doing what I say I'm going to do, and asking people for help if it's impossible to do it alone.
IN OTHER WORDS, I'M NOT A JOKER. My staff get their materials on Monday, like I promised. I'm not sending them into battle empty-handed.
5. Where I'm At On Time
I had all the time I'd need for this project if we met our original timetables. Now, I don't have it any more because I'm working 12 to 17 hours per day on something else. I knew this was coming, so I wanted to move fast. I thought I communicated that clearly and emphasized haste, but maybe I didn't, or maybe you're just used to dealing with fucking jokers.
I'm not a joker. But now, I can't be as active. You guys need to coordinate and do your part. Go back to our original spec that you committed to do, and just fucking do everything on it ASAP.
Sam, ask someone to cover for your classes. Stop going to your classes and finish this. Get the raw files from the cleanup guy if he can't edit them, and we'll pay $1,000 on Elance for someone to do it. Lee, can you coordinate that with Sam somehow?
Honestly Lee, you've been on the ball here, but we're all fucking slipping and being jokers. You know what? You're a pro, you've always been a pro, you're the biggest pro I know. Now unfortunately, I'm going to need to ask you to pick us all up a little bit, and to be the guy that's a reliable rock to get this done.
I'd do it myself, but I can't, because I'm doing something else that takes all my time.
Lee, I'm sorry to do this to you and it's totally unfair. But I'm going to do something cool for you after this project makes its first $10,000. Now, I want to be very clear here - it will make $10k in the first 3-6 months after launch. I'll fucking will it to do so. I'll find a way, or make one. I've now promised this, and I'm not a joker, so it will happen.
So Lee, I'm leaning on you. I would ask you guys to lean even harder on me, but I can't. Lee, please lend your strength and consistency to Jon and Sam, and use your willpower to make this happen. And Lee, once we make that first $10k, I'm going to take you out to Asia all-expenses paid with my own money to say thank you.
Let me know if you can't do this. I want you to be my point man here, because you're even more reliable than me. We're going to have a big adventure and hang out in Asia, and I'll pick up the whole tab on it. If we can make this a BIG success, I'll get you Sam and Jon out here too. I don't know the exact numbers. But I'm asking something unreasonable and unfair from Lee who has done everything he said he'd do, so I'm committing to him to fly him out here and have a big party with him. If we can knock this out of the park, all four of us can link up and party. I'll pay for it out of my money, so you guys can just relax and have a fucking awesome time. We'll rent a beach house or something.
6. So, stop being a joker, and let's get some results.
Look. I love you guys. All 3 of you are dear friends of mine, close friends of mine.
You and I both live in a world where most people we interact with are fucking jokers. Thus, it seems socially acceptable to be a joker.
In your regular life, be as solid or as much of a joker as you want. But with me, FIND A WAY OR MAKE ONE. And if you can't, TELL ME IMMEDIATELY AND WE'LL DO IT TOGETHER.
I love you guys. You're all highly highly skilled, top 1% at your craft. You're all highly highly intelligent, top 1% of the population. You've all got excellent social skills, top 1% communication skills.
And yet, you're middle class. Have you reflected on that? You're the top 1% IN EVERY CATEGORY THAT MATTERS, and yet, you're relatively poor.
Do you know why? Because you haven't stopped being a fucking joker like the rest of society.
I'm trying. I seem to be getting there. I want you guys to get there. I brought this team together to do a first project. But I don't want to just get some money from this project, I want to become multi-millionaires together. We can do this together, if we're not jokers.
Reflect on this for 10-20 minutes before reply. Lee, please let me know if you can be my point man. Sam and Jon, please let me know if you can commit to doing everything you said you're going to do ASAP.
The forces of hell are on our side. Now c'mon, let's get this done, make money, have fun, and whatever. Cancel your classes, take a vacation from your job, stop watching TV and surfing the net, and FUCKING SUFFER AND GET IT DONE, BECAUSE WE'RE ALL COUNTING ON YOU.
If I can count on you, you can count on me, and we can RISE IN THE WORLD FAST.
Marshall is pleased to announce The Strategic Review, which looks at the methods of historical leaders ranging from Meyer Rothschild to Julius Cesar to John Rockefeller, and everyone in between. You'll also learn from rising leaders on the best tactics and operations from their field. Get your copy of TSR for free today at thestrategicreview.net -- if you like history, philosophy, and strategy rolled into practical action steps for you, grab your copy of TSR today. No jokers allowed.
Ah, to be young and naive again. Being a successful person is about more than seeing one (and only one) thing as the priority. In another ten to fifteen years, you'll either be unchanged (and an incredibly undeveloped human), or much more developed and will have realized the absurdity of your current viewpoints. I appreciate the vigor and single-mindedness of your youth, though. Best of luck. Hope you don't damage too many things while you're learning.
I've worked for people like you before. I have no desire to ever work for people who equate themselves in anyway with conquerors. I know there's many out there who would agree. I also believe you have the wrong ideas about life and what's important. You strive for money and power. I strive for happiness which comes in the form of peace, friends, family and nature. You also talk about the middle class as if they are scum. Something to look down upon. I think you should learn to be content. Slow down a little and breath.
Anyhow - that's my 2 cents.
I remember working for a guy who showed us a videotape of Michael Jordan after he won a championship. The dude was in tears at the end of the game, because he'd given it his all, 100%.
"That's the kind of commitment I want from you all," he told us.
Of course, Michael Jordan made $50 million that year, and I made 0.1% of a million, so fuck that.
Dear Sabestian Marshall,
Your Card Has been expired long time back , no one will able to use the resources.
This guy cracks me up. He preaches about doing what you say you're going to do, but he of all people, doesn't do a god damn thing! He has no skills. He's a self professed "high level guy." His skill is "strategy." Yeah, okay, I'm a moron, please tell me what you think the strategy should be, and we'll split the millions. I mean, it's could be worse, there might not be any millions... Oh wait, that's right, there aren't. Seb is too busy flying around the world honing his "strategy" skill (AKA hippie world backpacker). Failed to make millions, so falls back on being motivation writer (even working on a book LOL) like so many others. The Joker of Jokers!!
> Actually I almost didn’t marry him once I found out that he came from a well-off family. I was deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being wealthy. He’s had to beat me down over the years with the idea that I should deal with being rich.
It was very brave of you to accept the wealth of his family even though it turned you off so much. It is incredible that you are now pushing for your SO to earn 250K/year. You have adapted bravely to the new situation. Hope you continue to be a badass :-)
I don't usually comment but this was one of the best and insightful posts I've read. If only there weren't so many jokers in the world.
I'd like to read more about Hannibal's conquests any book suggestions?