Discover more from TheAgileVC - Peter Saddington
You Get Who You Are - 2022 in Review - #10
Your Behavior is Ahead of Your Success - 2023 Forward Focused!
Every single year in December I have the exact same feelings about the passage of time: that the year flew by, but also, crawled.
There are times in the year that were so emotionally draining, so brutal in scope, and psychologically exhausting. There were also times of great peace, joy, and revelation. These are the moments that seemed long, while the cadence of time went on, it all adds up to a full calendar year. And, once again, here we are.
This particular year has been the hardest ever. Like every year.
What made this year amazing were the moments of hard work. Because looking back, we see what we’ve made. We see what we’ve become. We’re ready for what our work has prepared us for. Here’s to 2023. Let’s take a look back from the context of looking forward.
[Watch me read this review on Youtube below]
Life is Your Behavior
During my #puravida vacation, I had a discussion with businessman in his late 60s, Mr. Woon. We were both hanging out in the hot volcanic springs and we were sharing stories about what we’ve seen so far in the amazing country of Costa Rica. One particular part of our conversation stuck out to me. It was his ideas around habits creating who you are.
“Life is fair. You get who you are. Whatever your daily habits, you become.”
This resonated so strongly with me that I wrote it down in my notepad on my cell phone. How true this truly is! This man had built a healthcare supply company over the last 30 years or so. He told me about how much has changed in the shipping and logistics world, certification, and bad laws making it much harder to do business. He used the word ‘flexible’ a lot. As in, you have to be flexible when things change. I would use the word agile, but I believe in the subtle nuance between the two words:
Flexible can seem passive. You go with the flow.
Agile can seem active. You engage the work.
Sometimes I ask good questions during these random conversations with men and women of industry. Sometimes, I just want to listen. I also don’t want to move into my ‘interview mode’ where I’m actively and obviously extracting knowledge and wisdom. From his wisdom, I extracted 3 lessons from his 30+ years of business building:
Life is what you make of it (fair)
You become your habits (behaviors)
Problem solvers survive (thrive)
Life is Fair
To Mr. Woon, life is completely fair because each and every person gets to choose how to deal with situations that life presents to you, whether good or bad. I loved his communication of this idea as quotes from my 365 Day Daily Stoic Devotional rang in my head. He’s not wrong. Every single situation in life allows us to choose how we face it, endure with it, and deal with it. We have the choice. The stoics would say that every situation is ‘just as it is.’ It is what it is. No need to add negativity into any equation. He feels like he has the life he deserves. I think there was also an air of pride in that. He’s fully awake. He knows that he had a hand in the life he has. Why? He built it that way.
You are Your Behaviors
To Mr. Woon, your life is not what you think, but rather, what you do, daily. I found his retelling refreshing: of his youthful confidence in his 30s and that he knew he would be successful in his business. It was clear to him. He knew exactly the right behaviors that would allow him to become successful in his industry. He followed and shadowed the successful. He watched and learned and engaged in the work. He stayed curious and forward-thinking as new laws, legislations, and international relations effected his business. He stayed flexible and adaptive during economic cycles. He stayed lean so he could stay in business.
What I loved the most was the humble confidence he had all through the decades of building. You could hear it in his voice. He was proud of his work. He was proud of his intentionality to change his behaviors to ones that were useful to him. He removed the habits that had no value. He never intended to build a multi-million dollar international medical shipping company that would span 50+ countries. He just behaved like one, and it happened.
Problem Solvers Win
To Mr. Woon, the problem with the world today is that everything is a black box. Nobody actually knows how all of the tools, gadgets, and technology they use… actually work. To him, the power of technology brought a downside: these generations no longer know how to fix anything, or problem solve.
He even challenged me on a couple of things, like can I change my own oil? Check. Can I change a tire? Check. Can I fix household appliances?… I told him that due to economies of scale, if my microwave breaks, a new one is only $29 away. :)
Regardless, he’s not wrong. Especially in the areas of business. Mr. Woon knew that a life of autonomy requires being a jack-of-all trades. To him, I suspect this isn’t a bad thing. To him, it allowed him to live the #puravida lifestyle in paradise and rely on no-one. To him, freedom is to be active and engaged in solving life.
Two Major 2022 Accomplishments
STAAS FUND - In 2022, I established StaaS Fund (full writeup here), the venture media studio for the Web3 world. I have participated in building several other funds, however, this would be my first foray into building it 100% myself. From vision, legal, securities audits, financial compliance audits, team building, more legal, contracting, taking in money, deploying capital, interviewing operators, marketing, sales, HR, back end, ops, and even building (and designing) the website. Yup. 100% full stack job, and it took all year to do it. I finally finished the full design of the website on December 28th. I began in February, closed the legal/compliance by September, and have been iteratively deploying capital into 20+ projects. And, we’re f*cking crushing it.
Life is fair - I’ve never built a venture fund before. Nobody I wanted on my team knew either. All we knew was the vision we saw before us. My team accepted this fate, and we willingly walked into the great unknown. Patience with legal and asking dumb questions and clearly looking like a noobcake was an acceptable perception. After all, it is what it is.
You are your behaviors - I’ve been around the vc/startup world for over a decade. I knew what I needed to learn. I knew who I need to tap. I knew enough about what I didn’t know to ask questions. I took a beginners-mindset and put my head down to build. Frankly, it’s what I do best.
Problem solvers succeed - Doing anything that you’ve never done before can be daunting. Knowing that you NEED to do this thing you’ve never done before can be exactly the resistance to keep you from doing it. Those that are willing to stay agile, continue to solve the problem in front of their face, never quit, and continue to pick up the next-job-to-be-done, are the ones that can stand with pride and say that they did it. As I like to say: be active in your own salvation. Nobody is going to build your life for you. You must do it yourself and (eventually if necessary) find the people to do it.
METAFI - In 2022 we successfully completed a full transformation of a 23 acre data center into a scalable Bitcoin mining operation. We began by converting the data center to mining-ready infrastructure, ops, and technology. We completed our first 3MW by April, and fully prepared the 165,000 sq/ft facility for Phase II (10MW), and prepared infrastructure for a full 100MW deployment. I had my very best team pulled from the cryptocurrency community I’ve built over the last decade. METAFI was born, invested into, and they’re printing money, even in a down economy. We’re now ready to scale into the hundreds of MWs for multiple partners all over America. I absolutely love being part of the backbone of the digital currency economy.
Life is fair - The largest build-out of a Bitcoin mining facility ever. The largest investments ever. The largest payout potentials ever. We took everything in stride. I’m so proud of my team who delivered on time and on budget (complicated system (not complex)). We had some major bumps in the road and stayed true to our integrity and even let some forgettable people fail us miserably on their side of the deal. Life is fair. All parties got exactly what we deserved.
You are your behaviors - The men and women I brought into this investment are the best infrastructure operators in North America. They can build anything. Their diligence, their hard work ethic, and service to our clients was top-shelf. I could not be prouder of the men and women who brought this beast to life. Now, I have the perfect team to scale any digital currency facility on the planet.
Problem solvers succeed - You see a persons character when you see them tested. You see what they are really made of. Every single problem/issue that emerged was dealt with quickly, efficiently, and transparently. It’s amazing what a team can do when everyone is on the same page, has the same shared understanding and purpose.
What for 2023?
Simply put, this year will be a year of scaling my venture fund. We hope to deploy even more capital into great entrepreneurs with world-changing ideas in Web3 as well as support the underlying infrastructure of Bitcoin with our Bitcoin mining platforms and facilities.
Life will be fair with my building behaviors while being ridiculously active in my own (daily) salvation. Here’s to the builders in 2023. May you build towards the life you want by creating the habits that will get you there.
All the best,