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5 Entrepreneurship Lessons from My Run-In with a Ninja Cat

(Source: http://static.neatorama.com/images/2005-11/ninja-cat.jpg)
I just received a great article on A-Players, but I’m going to save it for next time. Instead, for this week, I’m going to continue last post’s rather unorthodox post with this Monday’s rather… unusual situation and what equally unusual relations I could draw from/ with entrepreneurship.

That is, I was attacked by a massive, never-before-seen pterodactyl! I’d show you, but it vanished as quickly as it attacked me in true guerrilla warfare. Okay, I wasn’t attacked by some flying dinosaur, but instead, I was ambushed by a seemingly domesticated cat. Yes, laugh it up.


However, there are some interesting nuggets that can be learned here that, like I said, I’d like to share with you that can be ported to entrepreneurship. Ready to see what weird parallels I’m talking about? Let’s see…
  1. Expect the unexpected. You’d never imagine getting clawed in the face by a cat, and emerge as if you got in a fight with Wolverine or an actual animal wolverine. I got a sense I was probably sitting in the wrong place as the cat soon became very territorial, and yet, I lingered. In a startup, if you have that gut feeling something’s wrong, don’t sit idly by and get your face scratched up.
  2. Don’t panic! Time for damage limitation. Once I knew I was bleeding a healthy amount, it was straight to the bathroom with Neosporin and cleaning wipes. It’s inevitable you’re going to run into troubles in your startup. What doesn’t help is rushing to fix a problem only to break something else. I remember once with Body Boss, we implemented “polling” in one of the apps – continuously hit the server with requests. It ended up crippling our server. We had to spend all night limiting the damage, while also putting in safeguards to mitigate against this type of event in the future.
  3. Be prepared with a First Aid kit. Goes hand-in-hand with the above about damage limitation. That is, be prepared with some plan to rectify problems. From many traps we stepped in at Body Boss (you’ll step in them, too!), we learned, for example, the importance of tracking more user engagement data while also building in stop-gates should certain apps or code have detrimental effects to our application. Our developers built in many other tests that automatically ran when we pushed new code greatly mitigating our exposure.
  4. Not all cats are going to get it. Domesticated animals are still animals. Some prospects aren’t really prospects. You may think they’re prospects, and you may get them to try out your product or service, but even so, you’ll find that some just aren’t going to change the way they do things to embrace your idea. Even if it’s a great idea… sometimes, natural instincts just kick in, and you have to be aware of that.
  5. What’s done is done. Learn and tell a great story. We can’t change the past. If we could, I wouldn’t be sitting here with streaks of wounds on my face. In a startup, whether you lose a great partner or sale or the whole ship goes down sinking, you can’t change the past. What you CAN do is learn from the mistakes and use that as a catapult to tell a great story and move on. I’ve already had some great conversations from the cat attack.
In essence, life goes on. With the ninja cat attack, I’ll need to monitor the scratches so that I can still live the dream of a career in modeling. Otherwise, I may just fancy hand modeling. (Yes, I’m completely joking.)

In startups, and in life in general, crap is going to happen. Sometimes you have the sixth sense, sometimes you don’t. However, be prepared to handle the situation, and if something does happen where badgers run rampant in your office, deal with it, laugh about it, and move on. Speaking of which, a great perk about being an entrepreneur is setting somewhat your own schedule so I don’t have to sit in an office and get awkward stares.

What are your thoughts about dealing with the unexpected? How have you dealt with a “cat attack” in your office? 

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