The N.E. Patriots, Innovation, and ‘Rise and Grind’

I often chuckle when I read articles about “successful” entrepreneurs and their multi-billion-dollar exits. It seems so easy in these news pieces: a good idea, superior execution, and everything falls into place. Geniuses snap their fingers. Fortunes follow.

The reality, in my experience, is different. There can many heartbreaks, pivots, layoffs, and divorces. There are usually many sleepless nights and a deep anxiety that roils your guts.

I follow some of the New England Patriots on Twitter. I noticed a few of them would Tweet: #RiseAndGrind. I’ve read that Head Coach Bill Belichick expects mental toughness in his players. He wants the team to improve bit by bit, day by day, and on each day.

He “cold calls” players in team meetings and asks them about opponents. You have to be ready or look stupid. You have to be hungry to do well in that environment. There aren’t many moments of downtime as a New England Patriot. Once a game is over, even after a resounding victory, it’s on to the next opponent.

Similarly, I think entrepreneurs and VCs have to be willing to “rise and grind.” Work hard. Don’t get too high or too low. Sacrifice.

My business partner, Eric Hjerpe, and I have spoken about this many times. We believe that doing well for our investors and entrepreneurs is about doing the little things every day. Putting in our hours, whether the day looks promising or terrible. Being consistent and honest. Being mentally tough.

And, hopefully, with good luck, we’ll make them all proud of us.

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