With the guidance of a guru friend, I watched this reality show called 'Alone'. (However, I only watched the condensed version that's currently popular, where one season is about one hour long. Otherwise, I really wouldn't have the free time for it 😂)
This show has already had 10 seasons and may continue to be filmed, indicating that it is still very popular. The game rule of this show is very simple: a group of people are sent to a deserted island to live alone. Each person can choose to bring some basic survival tools. The person who can survive the longest (healthy) wins and can receive a large amount of prize money (seems to be different every season, around 500,000 US dollars).
These are some of my scattered insights. Maybe only after watching the film and truly being in the midst of entrepreneurship can one truly have deep feelings about it:
- Keep alive and stay in game
One of the biggest takeaways from watching several seasons of this show is that in order to win, you must first stay alive. This is such a simple principle, but it is difficult to grasp. In the show, to stay alive, one needs to have sufficient food, a good shelter, and to avoid getting sick or injured. They also need to maintain their mental strength and not give up voluntarily (most of the characters in this show tend to voluntarily give up, even though they often don't have the worst conditions from the audience's perspective).
For entrepreneurs, to stay alive means being able to ensure enough money to survival for themself and the team. It is absolutely not advisable to gamble everything or let the families of oneself and the team live below a basic standard of living. For startups, it is necessary to have enough safe runway. Many of the story promoted by the news media and written by VCs, such as selling houses and taking on personal debt for startup, are gambling behaviors. Only by staying alive can other possibilities arise.
- One fruitful victory is greater than a lot of small wins.
The commonality between the winners of the two seasons is that they quickly captured a large amount of food (a moose and a wild buffalo). While they didn't have to worry about food and drink every day, the others had to constantly search for food. Their strategy was to always focus on large enough prey, while others often only collected wild fruits, hunted squirrels, and caught fish. Although this could sustain them for a while, they were always on the edge of hunger and survival in the long term, with weak risk resistance, and would only worsen in harsh environments.
Entrepreneurship is like this too. There is a book recently called '10x is easier than 2x', which means that under conventional thinking, the difficulty of steady accumulation may not be comparable to finding a high breakthrough point. Once breakthrough is achieved, huge returns are obtained and a longer runway is provided for oneself.
- "What NOT to do" is even more important than "what to do"
In this show, you can see many people who mess around for no reason, for example, in one season there was a guy who was especially amazing and better than everyone else. Even in a situation where he was way ahead, he managed to catch a very fat and delicious fish. So he arrogantly ate the fish sashimi and consumed the fish roe... As a result, he suffered from severe food poisoning and had to withdraw from the competition immediately that night. There was also another capable character who was far ahead and decided to show off his tree-cutting skills, but accidentally injured himself... and had to quit. Examples like these are countless in several seasons of the story because failures due to messing around without reason are perhaps the easiest way to fail.
This is also true in entrepreneurship. Being busy is not necessarily better. Many times, not doing and not being restless can save time and precious resources. In entrepreneurship, we often worry and feel anxious about whether we are not working hard enough or not busy enough. However, we rarely worry about whether our slow and tedious efforts will be meaningless, or even waste more runway and resources.
- Don't worry about those "strong" competitors, many of them will quit by themselves.
Another interesting phenomenon in the show is that you can see many people who seem very powerful and have excellent conditions, but they fail, while many people who don't seem so impressive achieve victory through persistence, luck, and relying on others. Many people with excellent conditions may quit because their mentality is not strong enough, they may have unexpected accidents because they fool around, in short, in this game rule of 'survival of the fittest,' you will find how many people are not good at persistence.
In entrepreneurship, especially, many seemingly glamorous entrepreneurs from various large companies, with their impressive funding and seemingly unlimited resources, have disappeared. Even in their failure, they still had enviable resources and conditions. However, the ones who ultimately succeed are often not the initially superior and powerful ones. Their greatest strength lies in their ability to persistently and continuously grow in their field, to stay alive, to stay in the game. Thus, becoming winners is almost inevitable.