Built In Failure
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. — The Preacher in Ecclesiastes 7:2, New International Version
Precisely in 2014, I applied to five top-ranked schools for their MBA programmes. That was exactly what I wanted to do as at that point in my life. All five sent me a “ding” even without interviews. It literally pierced me. “Was I that bad?”, I imagined. You know when you really want something and put in all the effort in packaging your applications and hoping, it can’t be that bad and then…you are happily told, to steer clear✌. Well, I took their feedback and re-strategized.
Recently Israel Adesanya got his first loss in the UFC mixed martial arts (MMA). For a guy that was on a long winning streak and an impervious record in the middleweight, why did he lose? What happened? Again we look at his journey and mine also. During the lockdown, I started watching the UFC MMA. That was when I saw through WWE for what it was — drama, acting and a few real punches in between. I was attracted by the training regime of the UFC as I was on a journey to lose some pound of flesh. Then I got to see Israel Adesanya. He is the embodiment of art in a sport that does not need arts. His moves are sleek and deft. His fights were work of art and when he needed to fight even in unconventional ways, he did. Within 18 months in the UFC, he was a champion, breezing through the ranks. Wonderful.
As his middleweight class stands today, I can’t see anyone that can dethrone him. As such, Israel took on a challenge and that was to fight the champion of the next weight class — the light heavyweight. His opponent, Jan Blachowicz, whose legendary knockout power is out of this world, is someone even the angels dread. March 6th, 2021 was the date and they slugged it out. Adesanya did not win and Jan did not knock him out. Israel went toe-to-toe with him for 5 rounds. However, he came short of winning and Jan donated a loss to Israel’s impressive record. Today the record is 20–1.
Why bother Israel? You would ask. You should have sat in your weight class and enjoyed your throne. But men like Israel are not built for resting on their oars. Conquering new domains is their quest. And as Israel said after the fight “this will not be my last attempt”. Be sure that he will be back.
The internet became mainstream in the late 90s. I think I sent my first email to someone in the US around 1999. Then it was using the NITEL dial-up to connect. Not an experience you would want to go through. The arrival of the internet also gave rise to new companies who wanted to make their incursion into the market place through this new means. It was an exciting time to be alive. Add the Y2K menace to the equation and you had a market on steroids.
New companies were formed and a new set of millionaires who took a stake in the early startups emerged. Things were going very well. To give you how well it went, AOL, the superstar of that era, had about 30 million subscribers. AOL was the gateway to the internet and was made famous for its e-mail services with movies like You’ve Got Mail, a romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In short, AOL defined that era. AOL announced that it was merging with Time Warner, for a market capitalization of $350 billion, the highest as of that time (circa 2000).
By 2002, not everyone was singing “Hallelujah” with the internet folks. Perception went sour, the promises to be rich did not come as quick. Then it all came crashing down. The downward slope was steep and deep. What resulted is famously termed “the dot-com bubble”. For context, Between 1995 and its peak in March 2000, the Nasdaq Composite stock market index rose 400%. That was the index alone. That means there were companies that easily did 3,000%. All that came to a halt and some companies were closed down afterwards. The big question would be “so what became of the internet companies?”.
The dot-com bubble (also known as the dot-com boom, the tech bubble, and the Internet bubble) was a stock market bubble caused by excessive speculation of Internet-related companies in the late 1990s, a period of massive growth in the use and adoption of the Internet.
I have told you three stories and now I want to give you how the story ends.
For me, my dings later turned into dancing. That experience birthed further search and that is how I found the Cross Continent MBA of Fuqua Business School, Duke University. The programme is now rechristened “The Global Executive MBA”. You can read more about it here https://www.fuqua.duke.edu/programs/global-executive-mba. Well that was exactly the kind of programme I wanted to be part of but I did not even know it existed. I thoroughly enjoyed it and made the best out of it. My main purpose in getting that MBA was to “learn and see the world in a structured way”. That was exactly what I got from it. Beautiful.
For Israel Adesanya, we have not heard the last from him. He continues to be the middleweight champion of the world. He is awaiting a worthy challenger to his belt and I think that experience has made him a better fighter. His rise to fame has also been good for the UFC, raising its awareness and market, especially in Africa as we now have three Africans as champions.
The story of the dot.com era and the outcome for its portfolio companies is simply incredible. They failed woefully at first and came back with a bang. That failure gave birth to what we see today. They started out like the Wright brother with their few seconds flights but that laid the foundation of what was to come. The top 10 companies in the world has 7 internet companies on the list with at least 3 being valued above $1 trillion. The top 5 American companies are easily these companies. I dare say that they control the world and have created several products that we cannot live without. They have found better ways to capture value by monetizing their products and services.
Why am I writing this?
Oh, I just got a trifecta of “dings” by trying to punch above my weight. I am writing this for myself. Picking up the pieces and re-strategizing. Don’t cry for me because I am not Argentina. I see my comeback like that of the internet companies, bigger and better and I will capture every value that I have lost. Please take note that no animal was killed or harmed in the writing of this text. Failure makes you reflect and in so doing, you become a philosopher. A pondering ponderer😂 But failure, I have learnt is the fertilizer of success.
“Hasta la vista”. “I’ll be back” as said in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”.
The initial parts of this write up is here Possibilities & The Law Of Recognition, Possibility II: The Curious Case of Bassey & Word Problems, Possibilities III: “I Have A Dream” , Possibilities IV: Driving and Possibilities 5: Life In Reverse. You can check out my other works on personal development Asking, Managing Access In Relationships How To Ask, Authenticity, Life Skill: The Power of Saying “No”, Start Off; Look Up & Pedal Hard, 12 Unforgettable Leadership Lessons From The Lion King, InBuilt, Now I Arise, Life Hack: Accountability, Life Hack: Simplicity, Life Hack: Making Impact. I also reviewed The Lion King and wrote about Movies That Shaped.
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