BOOSTXL #10: The New Black History of Ownership
Thank you so much to our two wonderful BOOSTXL guests, Melissa Bradley and Diana Williams, for offering us such great insights into The New Black History of Ownership. You can watch the recap here and follow along with these three key pieces of advice for owning your creations.
Friend Or Foe
Whether you’re starting a business or pitching a creative endeavor, one of the first skills you need to develop is understanding where everyone stands. “You have to decide who you're going into battle with, and who you're going into battle against,” says Diana Williams, pointing out that there are those that will support you and others that will put up roadblocks. Honing this skill comes from really listening and understanding what it is you’re getting yourself into. Simple enough in theory, but your success in maintaining ownership depends heavily on listening while in new terrain without getting tripped up on a shiny figure. And while everyone will sound like they’re there to help you develop your project, some will undoubtedly be there to stake their ownership, which disrupt the vision you spent years building.
Big Is Relative
We often hear "Think Big" as a desirable trait, but that can mean all sorts of different things to different people, so find out what it means to you and your vision. Melissa said that “big is relative” to her. She seeks out people to work with that view the obstacles they face as big things to overcome, knowing that those obstacles are different for every person. Some want to reach a successful funding round while others want to pull their community up to where they are. These challenges are both unique in their own ways and require entirely different skill sets. Diana, on the other hand, says being insanely curious is big in that you need to constantly question the default. When there’s a rule in place, Diana encourages others to question why it’s there, who made the rule, and most importantly how can you get around the rule and bring others with you.
Emotional Grit Isn’t Just A Suggestion
Building something from the ground up takes years, sweat, and tears. But once you start entering contracts to take it to the next level, things can quickly spiral out of your control. To avoid painfully grappling with a studio or venture fund, you should take Melissa’s astute advice: have a five-year plan and make sure you reverse engineer to the present and understand those steps to get there. This will save you countless headaches as you’ll know exactly what it is you want for your business or project and how to develop it. Everybody says they have a long-term vision, but very few actually take the time to map it out back to their starting point. Sometimes, at best, people will decide that once they hit a certain landmark, then they’re on track for their vision. The fault here is doing anything to hit that landmark, and fumbling control of your dream along the way. That’s why it takes real grit, to stay laser-focused on your goals and drive them home. This will certainly take you longer to get to payday, but at least you get to decide when that day comes.
Melissa Bradley: "Meet Joe Black", Martha's Vineyard; Reid Hoffman's podcast, "Masters of Scale"
Diana Williams: Mellody Hobson (President and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments), Jerry Lawson (inventor of the videogame cartridge), "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse", Imaginary Worlds, Barcelona