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Setup Is Overhyped! The undervalued skill of continuous adjustments (even in perfect waves)
Why, in a world of constant change, do we cling so tightly to the perfect initial setup!
👋 Hey, I’m Felix and welcome to the latest STOKE & FOUNDER journal where we unmask our obsession with the PERFECT start. With each edition I share surf-inspired startup wisdom I learnt being a founder and running my own startup studio.
Greatest Of All Time - The GOAT Kelly Slater
When we talk about the legends of any sport or field, we often emphasize their initial conditions – their raw talent, early wins, or unique insights. The story of Kelly Slater, the titan of surfing with 11 World Championship Titles, is not different. However, while his natural talent is undeniable, what truly defines Slater's dominance is less about his initial setup when positioning in the line-up and more about his continuous trimming of your surfboard and adjustment in every situation.
Watching Slater master a wave isn't just about witnessing his excellence but observing a master class in adjustments. Every wave is different (even perfect waves in a wave pool), and even within a single ride, the water’s behavior can change. Slater doesn’t just rely on his initial stance or the initial read of a wave. Instead, he’s in a continuous dance of adjustment with the ocean, responding to the odds of the wave by shifting his weight, foot positioning, tweaking his board's angle, or altering his path.
Check below video at the 30+ seconds mark & see the back foot adjustment in a wave pool where the waves are handmade and perfect 💥
What does it mean outside the surf world?
In our lives, and especially in startups, we often become stuck with the idea of a "perfect start" or the “perfect setup”. Entrepreneurs (including myself), for instance, can sometimes get so obsessed in launching with the perfect product or the ideal team that they forget the real game begins after the launch. Much like Slater's relationship with the ocean, founders must be prepared not just for their company's maiden voyage, but for the endless series of adjustments that lie ahead. Starting with alignment is crucial, but as market dynamics shift and challenges emerge, your ability to recalibrate becomes your most valuable asset.
It's tempting, especially in our era of rapid highlights and success stories, to believe that if we nail the setup, the rest will follow. Yet, the world’s complexities seldom permit such a linear path (check out Instagrams initial story which was a location-based HTML5 app call "Burbn"). Our global operations model, governmental constitutions, and even software iterations reflect this. They evolve, adapt, and are revised as the environment around them changes.
If there's one thing we can take from Slater and other successful founders, it's that while a solid foundation is vital, the real skill lies in the ability to continually self-assess and adjust. In the vast ocean of life and business, it isn't just about catching the wave! It's about adjusting, refining, and dancing with the ever-changing rhythm of the waves coming towards you.
In summary: START TODAY - ADJUST DAILY - GET PERFECT LATER 🌊🏄♂️
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