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By Points and Figures (Reporter)
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You Can’t Just Show Up

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Yesterday was a pretty pretty good day if you were an Illini fan.  It was homecoming at Illinois.  This weekend, the Gies College of Business opened up the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning.  The bittersweet thing is Kam’s closed.  It had been an institution, right next to the Quad for many decades.

The Fighting Illini were scheduled to square off against the Wisconsin Badgers on the gridiron.  It was a beautiful Midwestern fall day.  Perfect for tailgating. The Badgers have been dominant this year.  They were undefeated.  Their football program has been very good for quite some time now.  When I was growing up and in college, I always thought the W on their helmet stood for a guaranteed win.  By the way, I’d love to see Illinois bring back the old Illini helmets….

My daughter and my future son in law (who graduated from Wisconsin) post a video of their dog Leo every week on Instagram.  Leo picks a football game.  Here is his pick yesterday morning.

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Way to go #leoinla ILL-INI. Leo has sand!

A post shared by Jeff Carter (@pointsnfigures) on

Illinois has had some bright spots this year.  But, they got beat by Eastern Michigan.  They couldn’t beat Nebraska, who isn’t very good, and they were beaten up by Minnesota.  Over the course of the last two decades, Illinois football hasn’t been much to talk about.  They have been in the bowels of the Big Ten.  Memorial Stadium is rarely even close to full. When you think about the last fifty years, they have been to three Rose Bowls which is the signature standard for any Big Ten team.  The powers that be took away the Chief.  Pretty miserable.

Their coach, Lovie Smith, probably was on the hot seat.  They hadn’t beaten a ranked team in his tenure.  Worse, in games against ranked teams they usually weren’t even in the game.

Wisconsin has a big game next week at Ohio St.  Instead of thinking about Illinois, they went through the motions.  They got stung.  Illinois upset them.

The moral of the story is that you have to show up and give it your all every day.  Every day won’t be the same as other days.  You won’t always be at peak performance.  But, you have to show up and be mentally ready to attack whatever comes your way with vigor and with enthusiasm.  That is the key thing in startups when it comes to managing teams.  You cannot take a “day off” and not give it your all or you will lose the race.

When I traded, I knew this.  It was easier to get mentally prepared on days where you knew that there was going to be a big opportunity to make a lot of money like the first Friday of the month on unemployment.   It was the days that didn’t have a lot of data that could sneak up on you and bite you in the ass.  You had to prepare yourself for battle every day.

Being an athlete helped me get in this frame of mind.  Every practice, you had to compete.  There was a challenge.  You had to win.

Going to work for a small startup is a lot like that.  You can’t just show up and read the clips about how well your company is doing or how much money you raised.  Each and every day you have to show up and be prepared mentally to work to win.  There is no second place or participation trophy.


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