Shit Happens

That was some of the best advice I got early on from Bryan Stolle, CEO of Agile Software. A couple years ago, walking back from our lunch, Bryan told a story of some big deal (in the millions) that was in the final stages when the lead on the deal stepped on the hose connected to his water-drip system outside his house and got electrocuted or injured in some way that made the deal collapse. You can draw a lot of shoulda-coulda-woulda’s out of terrible stories caused by natural circumstances outside of your control. In the entrepreneur related blogs I read, many people have taken a stab at truisms and lessons learned. But how about this one? Shit happens.

It just does. You can spend all night at Kinkos, run off amazing brochures, and the copier could brake down right when it’s printing the last crucial cover page. Or you can be mid-sentence in the biggest conference call of your life and static could suddenly intrude right when you’re answering the question “Where do we sign?”

So there’s two kind of entrepreneurs, in my opinion, when thinking about this concept: one group read into things, get superstitious, get super-stressed about some potential freak accident, and stay up all night before the Big Day. Then there are those to do everything possible to mitigate the freak accidents, put in place backup plans, and do whatever needs to be done to get peace of mind, but then they go to sleep, sleep soundly, and if partner John Doe steps outside and gets hit by a bus, or the PowerPoint comes up as “corrupted file,” they make sure there’s nothing they could have reasonably done, and then say: Shit happens. Deal with it.

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