I used to be a semi-pro DJ for 18 years or so. Even when you don’t look like Brad Pitt, being a DJ in the popular clubs and the big parties makes you really popular. Luckily I’ve always had the strong feeling that my “popularity” was linked to being a DJ and not so much to who I am. So at one moment I was fed up with and getting too old for 2-3 times a week arriving home at a time other “normal” people start the day. Some of my colleague DJ’s told me I was crazy just giving up my well paid gigs which allowed me already from early age a pretty decent life style. For me it was clear I needed to focus on other things like family and my business. It was also the moment to see if I was right, was my popularity about to crumble? Well, YES! INSTANTLY! BOOM! WHO ARE YOU? I mean this took no more than 3 weeks. People who used to pretend being mates, friends and always took the opportunity to chat completely ignored me. It made me smile though because life became a lot easier, spotting the real friends never been so easy.
Since then my life moved to Indonesia where me and my business partner founded and run the largest e-commerce and classified site of Indonesia. And all off a sudden there are actually people calling me a “Rockstar”. My mailbox is overloaded with invites for dinners, drinks, parties and whatsoever. My linkedin used to be pretty static but at the moment I probably receive an average of 3 invitations per day. In the beginning I stayed polite and tried to please everyone, I mean no one likes arrogant people. But I changed all that. From a practical point of view, I just don’t have the time. I still work an average of 10-12 hours per day roughly 6 days a week. On the other side, who are these people that all of a sudden want to hang out with me? Do they want to hang out with me or with the founder/director?
People may think whatever they want from me, they can call me arrogant and seriously I wouldn’t care less. Because like in the time when I was a DJ I know that this popularity has nothing to do with who I am but only with what I do. It’s business in an amicale wrapping. And let’s get real guys,let’s look at the facts. I’m behind a website which is relatively large in Indonesia but has a pretty insignificant size on a global scale. Next, I just do a job, nothing more and nothing less. I like to think I do it slightly better than my competitors but so what, big deal. If tomorrow I’m being run over by a car nothing will change, someone else will step in and soon most will forget about me. So stop telling me I’m a Rockstar please!
Of course this story has a morale. I see many startup entrepreneurs falling into this pitfall. They launch, get some nice publicity and truly believe they are special, god’s gift to earth. Fall in that trap and you will lose more than you ever imagined, you’ll lose the people that really matter, your true friends. One of the guys here in the industry that handles it perfectly is Rama from Dailysocial. This guy runs the knows everyone who means anything and is one of the most influential people around. Hell! He even looks like a rockstar. But he manages to put things in perspective and stay the same Rama. *Did I really just say all that!???*
So kids, when you start a business, keep a perspective on things and stay who you are. If not there’s a big chance you will fall victim to a banter sangat pedas style.