Stranger 41, Day 41 – Meet Diamond, the “Future Legend”

Stranger 41, Day 41 - Meet Diamond

I met today’s Stranger at the office. I went around the building after work looking for someone, and I’m so glad I found today’s Stranger. I didn’t realize how much I’d connect and empathize with him. I won’t go into detail; instead, how about you…

Meet Diamond, 23

Who are you?

“Such a simple question,” Diamond says while taking in a big breathe and thinks.

“I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m definitely an entrepreneur. I think I’m more so just trying to figure things out. I’m a wanderer, I feel like. Like a nomad.”

“… I… well, that’s the deeper part of it. Who I am… I guess on paper, 23 years old. I go to Georgia State University. I study political science. I plan on doing nothing with my degree. My passion is what I’m doing now — my business, my app. And I’ve been in Atlanta for about 4-5 years. I’m originally from Jacksonville, FL. I was a Navy baby, so we got to move around a lot. Then yeah, that pretty much sums it up… on paper.”

What are your passions?

“My passion’s definitely helping other people not make the same mistakes I did in entrepreneurship, specifically.”

Diamond continues, “Really, that’s my biggest passion. Reaching out to other people, and trying to figure out what they’re having problems with business-wise, and maybe personal, but really business, and say, ‘hey, these are the mistakes I’ve made. Here’s how I can help you not make those same mistakes.'”

So how do you help them exactly? What do you do?

“It’s really in-the-moment kind of thing. It’s really me getting to know them. It’s random, and it’s this weird thing that always happens. Typically, it’s just the right place, right time kind of thing. We’ll just randomly talk, and then they’ll bring up something, and I’ll say, ‘well tell me more’, and really get to know them as a person. From that conversation, I’ll know whether they need some of my advice, or honestly, maybe I need advice from them. It’s not always a one-sided thing. I’m just trying to figure it out like everyone else is, honestly. Yeah…”

You said you’re a wanderer, and you’re trying to figure things out. However, you do have a focus to help others in entrepreneurship. What have you done in the past?

“Fell on my face and got back up. Try it again. Literally, that’s the best way to describe it.”

“… Goodness! I’ve made so many mistakes with how I thought the entrepreneurship journey would work as far as, oh, you have an amazing idea, and you put it out there in the world, and then you think, ‘it’s not going to be that bad. How hard could it be trying to get it out there?’ It’s really hard!” Diamond laughs.

“For me, it’s been extremely hard, and especially because I don’t have a team. I’m not saying that as an excuse, but I find myself trying to fill the role of marketing, customer service, complaints, developer… all those roles that normally different people… they fill those shoes. I’m trying to be all those people in one. But it’s finally starting to come together now as far as where I’m starting to go and where I’m headed.”

Where are you headed?

“I’m headed to become a Legend, I hope. Yeah, I want to be Legendary. I want to be someone people look and say, ‘wow, he really did it.'”

What were a couple of those mistakes?

“Marketing was definitely one of those. Because I felt that you could just throw the money out there and get instant results like Facebook ads, or putting your company in an editorial. Anything with advertising, really. I was making these huge mistakes because I was putting out money where it didn’t need it. It just needed effort. It didn’t need me to put money into it. So I learned really fast that hey, if I just put forth that effort, something could actually come of this instead of spending $3000 on one section of a magazine that no one ever really looks at. That actually did happen.” Diamond laughs again.

“It was definitely Marketing. And then from a developer/ app standpoint, I didn’t realize one of my biggest mistakes was I didn’t realize how apps seem very easy to a lot of people. They’re not. Especially on the developer-side. I have a developer now that I outsource to, and just the language is completely different. You make a lot of mistakes by not knowing what you want up front. That was my biggest mistake. I had an idea, and I reached out to him and I said, ‘hey, can you do this?’ He’d say, ‘yeah’, but then I kept adding on. ‘Oh wait, I need this’, and he’d say, “… okay… we can do that, too”, and then I’m like, “oh wait, I think we need to do this instead!’. He was like, ‘make up your mind. You’re making my job a lot harder for me and you.’ It was really costly on my end because I was adding in stuff that had I had told him upfront, he could’ve given his input, and we could’ve avoided a lot.”

“HUGE learning curve.”

Thinking about entrepreneurship has a funny way of teaching us through failures and mistakes, things about life… Is there a Life Lesson you’ve learned going through this?

“To keep going. As cliche as that sounds… to keep going and that you’re more powerful than you think.”

How do you keep going?

“I keep going by being present. By putting myself, even if I don’t want to come up here… some days, I really just want to stay in bed, but I’m like, ‘get up. Be present. Put forth the effort.’ My biggest thing I tell myself to keep going, is to prepare myself for tomorrow. Read that book, or reach out to that client, or just do one more thing so when tomorrow comes, you can say, ‘I’m ready to do this.’ And you’ll thank yourself for all the days before that you’ve set yourself up for the moment you’re in now.”

He looks away and thinks… smiles… “yeah… that’s definitely it…”

You don’t have a team working with you. But I’m sure you have a team that’s just Team Diamond.

“I do somewhat. Honestly, I have a lot of people who believe in me, but they just… for one, I’m probably one of the few people they know who has an app. I’m the only one that I know who has it. And two, I have the developers who stand behind me, but they’re in Texas, and they have other clients.”

Diamond starts smiling as he thinks.

“Yeah, I will say I do have a lot of people who are Team Diamond in the sense of like… some of the people that we have on the app, and just the people I meet out in general. Yeah, you’re right. I do have people. I may not realize it, but I actually do.”

As you’re thinking about this now, who is someone who is on Team Diamond?

“Definitely, it’s this guy named DJ Silver. He’s dope! He’s amazing! He’s one of the vendors on the app, and he’s supported me since Day 1. A photographer named Dame (sp?). It’s amazing how now that I think about it all these people who I’ve met through business have supported me a lot more than even outside of there. I don’t realize it till just now. That’s like… pretty amazing!” He’s smiling big as he thinks and makes this realization.

I talk to him about how it’s important about being present is also about stepping out and seeing the grander picture — appreciating the people all around us who really support us that we don’t realize as we focus on our startups.

“Yeah, you’re right. It’s rare that I think about it. But now that I am, I have a lot more people who are supporting me than I thought, or than I normally think.” He’s smiling real big again, and just thinking. It’s like his wheels of gratitude are turning now.

What do you like to eat, and where do you get that in Atlanta? (Thanks to Jake, Stranger 40 — sorry. I forgot to ask this at the beginning!)

“I like to…” Diamond thinks before he comes to the revelation.

“I know the place I like to eat is Flying Biscuit. I eat everything…like salmon. SALMON!” He slaps the table.

“Flying Biscuit has the best salmon scramble ever!”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“How do you keep going? How do you get up and do whatever it is that you do that day? What is the thought that comes to mind that says, ‘this is the reason why I’m getting up’?”

After the handshake.

A lot of what Diamond talked about struck chords with me. For one, he mentions so much about failing to which I have once been dubbed, “The Master of Failure” having written a book on Failure (Postmortem of a Failed Startup: Lessons for Success) and I give talks about failure and entrepreneurship often.

I also shared with him after our little meeting about Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and this notion of “shame”. For Diamond, I could see he felt shame, and he, like I did, identifies himself with his startup. As he’s failed in the past, he ties failure to him… We talk about how he should shift that perspective. It’s not that he’s a failure. Instead, he didn’t do somethings as well. For the marketing side, he did not allocate budget correctly. As he distances himself, the person, away from the decisions and actions he makes, he can move forward knowing that he can correct those. This is important for him as an entrepreneur, but also as a person moving forward. Distance who you are from the actions you make.

So meet Diamond. No longer a Stranger.

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