# 163: BOOK OF THE WEEK — 100 Million Hair Ties and a Vodka Tonic (Part I)
Story behind the Book Choice
My story today is going to be very simple because it is very short. Well, short is not always simple, to the contrary. Still, in this case, brevity is a matter of making the writing easier for me today. I simply did not manage to get beyond page 20 or so today. There are too many things on my desk today and I did not want to “cheat” either; meaning that I did not want to write about a book that I read in the past. So, 100 Million Hair Ties and a Vodka Tonic was my choice because I am thinking a lot about entrepreneurship stories these days. But I just need to admit that I will have to finish reading the story tomorrow. Life is not perfect and neither are my Sunday book blog entries. You have to set priorities, especially as an entrepreneur. Still, even in these first few chapters, I already found some very interesting passages.
- Choosing Entrepreneurship
Today, I got a call from a dear colleague of mine. She responded to something I had written in an e-mail this morning which had somewhat alarmed her. It was not that bad, actually, but as we spoke, I remembered again what she had once told me about her husband; i.e., that he worked as an entrepreneur all his life. He founded his business right after finishing his studies and he ran it very successfully until retirement (actually, he still cannot resist accepting some orders). And today she added another thing which was really mind-blowing to me:
“He is insanely creative.”
That stuck and I am not going into some deep reflection here now with respect to how this relates to my situation. It would simply end up in a long monologue that nobody needs today (who “needs” blogs anway?), especially since my topic is Trelles-Tvede’s book. So, what I am trying to get at is her passage about the conventional ideas people have about becoming an entrepreneur. I liked it very much how she listed the different degrees and career steps that are supposedly needed before you are ready to found your own business. “Ready” here usually refers to some outside legitimation that we all have in our minds. This: “People do it this way and there is no alternative, especially because you are too stupid and inexperienced if you violate these conventions.”
As Trelles-Twede rightly points out, this is bullshit. I mean, she does not say it this way but obviously makes it very clear that such “preconceptions” are wrong or simply unnecessary. Even though I have not gotten to the points of the book yet that explain the “100 million” and the “vodka tonic,” what I do know is that her business is highly successful. Otherwise, she would not have been able to write a book about her story in the first place. I mean, she could have written one, of course, but hardly any press would have published it.
The thing hat strikes me most about the passage is her comment on the issue of time. I mean, there is a chronological order to all the steps she mentions, of course, but time pressure and innovation really are crucial. If you have an idea and this idea solves a problem for society, which needs to be the case, it simply does not make any sense to wait. As with so many other things in life, there is a time for everything and while some things never run out of fashion, others do — at least if they solve human problems. Yes, there is usually room in the world for more than one solution, for more than one hair tie. Still, there are limits. If a problem has already been solved by one or even many companies, it gets harder and harder to get a foot in the door.
Nevertheless, this inner pressure that you put on yourself because you feel you just have to act now can also be an immense burden. And it can be misleading or unnecessary too. As you might have experienced as well already, sometimes there is plenty of time and you wonder retrospectively how much you stressed yourself in the past. Again, this shows that simply saying: “Take it easy and wait for a few more years” might really be dangerous while, sometimes, it be just the right thing to do.
So, the only thing that I definitely think is always the “wrong” solution is to wait for some kind of “stability” — be it financial or otherwise. You know, there is no such thing as stability, really. Yes, you can have a wonderful permanent job and this will certainly feel stable. But what I have been seeing with most people who long for stability before starting something, they tend to continuously redefine what stability actually means to them; thereby lifting the bar to a point where they never reach that point. Hence, they end up never starting their own business.
Even though I do not know at this point how exactly the story will unfold, I can at least say that reading a story like this one is just as exciting for someone who has already founded a business and for those who have not. What is definitely impressive is that Trellers-Twede was only 19 when she started the business.