There are different kinds of losses and we don't always understand them nor properly react to them.

I wrote previously about failure and rejection. In this blog post I would like to talk first about missing a one-of-a-kind opportunity and then about many big losses happening at the same time.

Steve Blank is a great writer about startups, the startup culture and its history. It's really worth reading his whole web site. For example he wrote a great "You’ll Be Dead Soon – Carpe Diem" article.

But his article I want to talk about now is "You Negotiate Commodities, But You Seize Opportunities". It starts with the following:

It took losing something important to understand the difference between a commodity and an opportunity. Along the way I also learned yet another way entrepreneurs see the world differently from their investors.

Then Steve Blank describes how he tried as a CEO to hire a great advisor for his company:

The advisor was a world-class guy, in my judgment he was worth more than all the other advisors I was going to get.

But the venture capitalist in his board gave him "Death by Spreadsheet":

“You need to live on the budget we gave you. Go back to him and offer him less stock.”

And he accepted it:

As a first-time CEO getting beaten up my board I thought this wasn’t a fight worth having. (I couldn’t have been more wrong.) So I agreed to go back to my potential advisor and tell him the best I could do was my first offer.

The outcome was:

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when he sent me a very polite note back that said, “Thanks but no thanks. I’m now getting more involved in my new job as CTO and I’m too busy to go back and forth negotiating this.” But I was crushed. I knew my company had just lost something important. Something that I couldn’t just go out and replace. And I realized I screwed up in at least two major ways.

The conclusion is:

I had acted like an employee, not as a founder and certainly not as the CEO of a startup. I had let my board tell me that the opportunity I saw was a commodity that could be managed by a spreadsheet. And I didn’t stand up for what I had believed in.

It would never happen again.

So, as with failure and rejection, we can learn from this kind of setback too. Especially the fact that we have to be true to ourselves and not manage everything by spreadsheet.

The other article I want to write about is "My loss" by Derek Sivers. And by the way Derek Sivers has many other great articles on his web site too.

In his post he describes 7 very big losses he had in the same year.

For example one of these losses is:

All my employees, led by my good friend and VP, led a mutiny against me. (I never returned, and never saw them again.)

and another one is:

The woman I was madly in love with married the guy she would always complain to me about.

He then tells how he reacted:

Say “no” where you used to say “yes”. Say “yes” where you used to say “no”. Do the thing that scares you the most, then get up and go.

For those of you considering a massive change, I can tell you from experience: It's awesome here on the other side.