Is anyone looking?

14 May

Seth Godin is truly a genius. To come up with what he does, on a daily basis, requires enlightenment!

And here is another gem from him

Perhaps you can burn 500 calories on the treadmill before you give up for the day. With a personal coach, though, you could do 700. The trainer gets you to exert more effort.

You wake up on a Monday morning after a long hard weekend of misbehaving. You have a splitting headache. You can easily call in sick, no one will freak out. But then you remember that there’s a $500 bonus at stake if you keep your attendance perfect. You make the effort because someone else is bribing you.

There’s an entire system organized around the idea that we’re too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you’re selling yourself short. If you’re only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you’ve given over the most important thing you have to someone else.

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job… how many push ups do you do, just because you can?


When you are an entrepreneur, the above acquires higher meaning. Very soon you realize that it cannot be the term sheet valuation, or the CEO title, or the media coverage, or the swanky office space that drives you. The drive has to be you yourself.

The question is – can you live with a sub-optimal structure knowing that it is a sub-optimal structure. Can you really get up everyday and do those push-ups, because you ought to!

1 Response to Is anyone looking?


Abhay Bhatia

March 19th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Hi Ankur,

I would just like to add to what you mention in your last 2 paragraphs – the message which Seth Godin gives is just a brief summary of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. She cleverly states ( through her character Francisco D’Anconia ) that the worst type of man is a man without purpose. Titles, media coverage et al should not be the primary purpose of any individual, let alone an entrepreneur.

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