When I’ve taken a job at Zlio.com in 2007 to start their US operations, with Jeremie Berrebi as a CEO, I was really excited by the growth I was seeing. All signals were green : users, revenues, traction, VC funding. They had it all.
A week after I joined the company, Google sandboxed us, and we’ve lost 90% of our traffic. After months and months of work trying to solve our inbound traffic issue, we pretty much all gave up and decided to move on to other things.
Now the interesting part. On my last day at Zlio, I had a long discussion with Jeremie, and despite the bad times, Jeremie was still very optimistic and even relieved I would say. Why? He told me his life’s theory, and it’s based on a Torah principle that I’ve been following ever since, and that has changed my life (yes really).
In hebrew we say “Gam Zou Letova”, that could be translated by : “Everything that happens in your life is for your own good”, or, “Every challenge makes you stronger”. You get the idea.
When Jeremie explained it to me, I had a hard time understanding this optimistic principle in such hard times in his professional life. All he said was, don’t worry, good things will happen after this tough experience, and indeed, for those who know Jeremie, you know that happened, and it’s called Kima Ventures.
Believing in God clearly helps practicing this, but is definitely not a requirement. Staying optimistic doesn’t have anything to do with religions.
Without keeping this in mind for my first startup, honestly, I would have moved on to other things at least 3 or 4 times already. But since I really incorporated this rule into my daily life, I knew that when something didn’t work out the way I wanted it, better things were coming. And it always worked out. VCs who passed, partnerships that wouldn’t close… A couple of months later, I’m now happy that those things didn’t work out because we eventually found better solutions, better conditions later on.
I am not trying to say that life is always great and things will always end well, that’d be a bit cheesy, I am just saying that staying optimistic and perseverant will always pay at the end.
That is my life’s theory. You should try it too.