Be patient, opportunities will come

Gmail screenshot circa 2005

My apartment search in 2005 in Tel Aviv was conducted primarily on the aptly named homeless.co.il- Israel’s top destination site at the time to find housing. Craigslist Tel Aviv was available, but the user adoption just didn’t exist. I eventually found a great place, but not before my patience was tested after a series of potential roommate interviews and apartment visits. Patience and perspective, at the age of 22, weren’t my strongest suits, even if perseverance was. My dad sent me the note above after another prospective living situation fell by the wayside.

“Remember the old saying about the bus, the house and the girlfriend? Never run after the one you see now, there’s always another one around the corner…”

It’s advice that’s just as valuable a decade later. I’ve improved a little bit when it comes to patience over the past few years. As much as we believe the first option is the best option, or as much as we look forward to willing our way to that next opportunity, there are often many paths towards happiness and success. The best poker players don’t play every hand that comes their way, they fold 75%+ of the time pre-flop. There’s always another pocket pair around the corner. And it’s not just poker, or a house or apartment search, the advice is ever-so-applicable to the fledgling startup too.

LA’s colorful seed stage investor Paige Craig wrote about his missed bus ride just this past week – missing out on investing in Airbnb back in 2008. It was an honest, open look at a missed bus ride. But these missed opportunities often lead to a tremendous amount of learning. Craig said, “After getting the cold shoulder, I realized I needed to go out and build some valuable knowledge, needed a more robust network, and needed to craft my own brand as an investor.” He’s since gone on to invest in Lyft, Plated, Zenpayroll, and other growing businesses. An internal recalibration can emerge from missing the bus.

A missed opportunity, a missed bus, allows you to refine your approach and be honest with yourself – what caused you to be late? How did that one get away? It’s worth asking for feedback, when applicable, in these situations. Missed buying the house? Ask your realtor what components of your offer (down payment percentage, appraisal contingencies, time to close, etc.) you must improve.

Lost out on renewing one of your largest SaaS subscription customers? Put in place an exit survey – a mechanism for you to gather feedback and better understand why your former client is canceling and moving on. You’ll be able to take that data, look within yourself, and make adjustments, as Craig did, to catch that next bus just around the corner.