I wonder how Jamie Siminoff, CEO of Doorbot, felt in 2013 when he appeared on Shark Tank, was rejected by four out of five Sharks, and offered a less than attractive deal from Kevin O'Leary, which he turned down. That kind of showing would seem to be a pretty reliable indicator that you may want to reconsider your priorities. But Jamie didn't let it deter him from pursuing the potential of what he knew he had. Five years later, Amazon purchased Siminoff's company in a deal reportedly worth one billion dollars. You may recognize the company under its new and current name - Ring.
Wally Amos, the Famous Amos cookie entrepreneur, was the oldest person to appear on Shark Tank. Most people his age have relegated themselves to a recliner, a remote, and a 9 PM bedtime. Not Wally. At 80 years old, he was working on reinventing himself and entered the Tank to pitch a new cookie company, The Cookie Kahuna. All five Sharks rejected him. But that didn't stop Amos. He went on to have a successful cookie business in Hawaii, where he lived until 2018, and he is still in the cookie business today.
"No" is a necessary response - to give and to accept - in a lot of leadership, life, and business situations. But sometimes, it should be out of the question. But how do you know? I believe that largely depends on one thing that most likely guided Jamie and Wally's decisions and can help guide yours as well:
If you don't live, eat, breathe, and obsess over your dream, save yourself the heartache and uphill battles.
I'm not talking about having moments of exhaustion and temporarily questioning your path - that will inevitably happen at multiple points in the journey despite your level of passion and drive. I'm talking about a scenario in which you've reached the point in your career where you are merely going through the motions and basically hating your life. Still, you're sticking with whatever it is because of the time, money, and effort already invested.
I'm grateful that I came out of the Shark Tank with a deal, but before I ever stepped foot into the studio, I knew that I was all in with my product and my dream, no matter the outcome. Nothing that happened in front of those five Sharks would change my path or my passion.
What about you? On a sliding scale from "fiery passion" to "numb complacency," where would the indicator be in your life? Are you passionate, determined, and willing to battle through the inevitable rejections and countless "no's"? Or are you dangerously close to numb complacency? If your answer is the latter, I urge you to reevaluate. Find the thing that DOES spark your passion, and dare to switch gears.
Change is never easy or comfortable, but living a "just getting by" mediocre life will be a much more difficult, unfulfilling (and tragic) choice in the long run.
Joe Altieri is the Inventor and CEO of FlexScreen. His product – the world’s first and only flexible window screen - was featured on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, where he hooked a deal with the proclaimed “Queen of QVC,” Lori Greiner. firstname.lastname@example.org
BY JOE ALTIERI
Joe Altieri is a third-generation entrepreneur, inventor, speaker, and President and CEO of his own multi-million dollar company.
During his 20+ years in the window industry, Joe recognized the inherent problems with old-style aluminum window screens and dealt personally with constant customer frustrations. Always an outside-the-box thinker, he knew there had to be a better way, so he set up shop in his garage and got to work. After years of trial and error, FlexScreen, the world's first and only flexible window screen, was born.
Since its introduction into the marketplace, FlexScreen has gained international attention and earned multiple industry awards. Most notably, FlexScreen was catapulted to the forefront when Joe appeared on ABC's hit show, Shark Tank, in January 2020. Three of the five Sharks battled for a piece of FlexScreen with Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC, ultimately winning the deal.
Joe is a firm believer in giving back, and he is generous with his resources and his time. Several years ago, he was honored and recognized as one of Pittsburgh's Volunteers of the Year. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 25 years, Alisha. They have four children, four grandchildren, and two very pampered Cane Corsos.
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