In my last few posts, I’ve spent time focusing on learning, mistakes, and failure and how they relate to success. Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with a young entrepreneur from Penn State University, Kevin Merlini, to discuss his new company Clipboard +. I came to know Kevin via one of his co-founders, Patrick Ryan, whom I have been advising for over a year now. Patrick connected us so that we could talk about the new startup and some of the lessons he learned along the way.
According to Kevin, Clipboard + “value(s) simplicity and functionality to help make your life easier. Since technology changes faster than your habits, we help you keep pace.” Their product is a “personal mobile workstation, and there really isn’t anything else quite like it. A must have for any smartphone power user.”
In short, it’s clipboard meets mobile device and you get a sum that is far greater than its parts.
After I learned about the product, I talked to Kevin about the journey he and his team embarked on and asked about the lessons they learned. I could tell he was ready to
answer this question and he explained so clearly and concisely the importance of building a team. Kevin talked at length about how critical it is to bring the right people together and provide them with clear direction. There are so many things you cannot do well, but others can and he has learned through this experience that you just have to ask for help. As Kevin puts it, “I spent plenty of time doing things that would have been much more easily accomplished by anyone who specialized in it. Even if it doesn’t mean getting someone to officially join your team, never hesitate to ask for help.”
Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice Kevin shared during this conversation was his take on achieving success. According to Kevin,
“Don’t give up, and don’t get discouraged. You have to have unshakable belief in yourself and your idea. However, reflection is very important and there are reasons why you may be experiencing difficulty, failure, etc. It is important to take the time to sit back and think about why things happen and what you could do differently to improve. I’ll end with this quote from Thomas Edison, “ Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Stay positive, because even though things might not always be as good as they seem, they’re also never as bad as they seem.”
I really enjoyed the quote he shared. This past May I attended TEDxEast 2012 in New York City and one of the speakers (I cannot remember his name) said that creativity is exhaustion plus 1. It’s going past that point where you feel you have nothing left, and then all of a sudden creative insight emerges. Athletes live by the same mantra – it’s that little bit extra you give when others can’t that separates the stars from the rest. Kevin really learned something special in his experience with Clipboard + and it will most certainly help him through some difficult times ahead.
If you remember anything from this post, remember that you may be a lot closer to success that you think. Keep pushing and remember, when you are completely exhausted and you think you can’t give it any more, give it one more. Oh and just imagine how much more awesome the result will be when you have a team of exhausted people giving it just a little bit more…
If you are interested in their project, check out their campaign on Kickstarter. Disclaimer: I am currently a backer of this campaign.