Charlie Mechem sits down with Tim Schigel, a consummate entrepreneur who has founded start up companies such as Refinery Ventures and Share This. He is also involved in a number of companies and organizations that support entrepreneurship. By reflecting on his entrepreneurial career, Tim connects with anecdotes from Charlie’s book “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer,” which can be found through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and our publisher.
A Businessman’s Hubris
While working in venture capital, Tim has worked with and seen many companies and people who have met their downfall from arrogance. He finds that it is easy to get overly-confident and arrogant in any business or venture when things are going very well. When this happens, Tim says, the world always seems to find a way to knock you down a few pegs and teach you a lesson or two. Tim tries his best not to be too arrogant in his work, and always acknowledges that he does not know everything and always has room to learn and grow. Business and hubris don’t mix well in the end.
Shut Your Mouth, Open Your Ears
Glibness is something Tim sees in board meetings all the time. He finds that a lot of people don’t listen in meetings, but simply wait for their turn to talk and shine. However, Tim finds, like a good coach, you can be much more helpful in a meeting by just listening to those around you. He says that you should listen to learn and understand the context of each situation. You won’t learn with an open mouth, but you will learn with open ears.
Optimism and Naivety
The world is full of dumb-smart people, especially the business world, which is made up almost entirely of optimistic and naively confident individuals. Tim says that he often meets people that strive exclusively for superficial successfulness; they strive for the title, the office, the award—exterior and physical cues of success. Those who are truly successful, in Tim’s opinion, are those who have been great leaders and built great businesses, often by being underspoken and not needing to be the smartest people in the room.
Setting a Place at the Big Kids Table
Optimism and pessimism are equally present in Tim’s business. However, he believes it is important to keep an optimistic mind about you, and that you should learn and grow with the opportunities and challenges you are faced with. He says, all leaders face adversity at times, but only the successful ones thrive in those situations. Tim recalls being contacted by Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook about how they wanted to shut him down. This terrified him, but it also excited him. His wife pointed out that Facebook contacting him meant that he and his company were something to be acknowledged, that they’d made it to the “big boy” table.
Two Part of the Brain: Rigidity and Passion
In anything worthwhile, there must be some amount of passion and risk-taking involved—which is exactly what venture capital is all about, risky business that has the possibility of great reward. Tim notes that the left and right half of the brain each have different responsibilities. While the left side is all about math and statistics, the right is about creativity and passion. Building a business is more than just rigid numbers, it’s also about the soul, the people, and the passion for what you are doing. That passion, Tim says, is beyond just enthusiasm, it has to do with what you are willing to sacrifice for others and for your business.
What is Success?
On Tim’s 40th birthday, his wife asked him, “what is success?” She reached out to all of his contacts and created a book about success with personal cards and pictures from each person about the impact that Tim had on that person’s life and business. Tim felt as if he was at his own memorial service as he read them, and he cried as he realized that all of his passion and hard work that he’d put into his life and business really was paying off. Those relationships, he believes, are the very definition of success.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit charliemechem.com or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more at charliemechem.com/book, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and our publisher.