“If you want to be an anomaly, then you have to act like one.” — Gary Vaynerchuk, Belarusian-American entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is a volatile and risky pursuit. Many ventures fail, whether failure is within one year or ten, for a menagerie of reasons, from shifting consumer trends to poor leadership and a thousand more.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s quote is one of the few truths in the world of entrepreneurship. Success is as equally about the money or the idea as it is about the attitude and behavior. If you want to make a million dollars but can’t keep yourself from watching an episode of Game of Thrones instead of going to the gym, how will you make a million dollars? (Disclaimer: skipping the gym to watch Game of Thrones—without doubt the team’s favorite show—every now and then won’t put the nail in the coffin, but you get the point.)
The very nature of Triad is rather anomalous. Founded by five college students, the work dynamic alone is unique. Everyone at Triad is involved in many different life pursuits. Our schedules change every day, but we still manage to run as an efficient company because of a few key elements that all successful startups employ: self-discipline, open and honest communication, and shared vision.
The self-discipline hearkens back to the example about making a million dollars—it really comes down to knowing when to work and when to hang out with friends, watch TV, or do whatever else you may with your time. Be it school work or Triad work, prioritizing that productivity is key. If she were writing this post, my mom, being full of inspirational quips that she used to make me repeat every morning before driving off to school, would say: “Do what you HAVE to do so you can do what you WANT to do.”
Fortunately for Triad, often what we have to do and what we want to do overlap. Since we’re not just coworkers, but also friends, working rarely ever feels like work because we’re spending time with one another. A Friday night concert will be a lot more enjoyable if you finish a task before laying on the couch and browsing Twitter. And if a conflict were to arise from whatever it is that needs to be done, things get a lot more difficult if you put that responsibility off.
That factor of unpredictability—Murphy’s Law, in a business-related sense—is what makes relevant the open and honest communication. When something goes wrong, say, a piece of equipment breaks or you forgot to press record before catching what was (supposed to be) a great shot, the first and most important thing to do is communicate with someone. The team at Triad prioritizes this to the highest degree.
The team is more than just a team—we’re a business family, and the advantageous things about being a family is that our communication can be more personal and in-depth. We know each other outside of the work environment and can therefore better understand how each member responds to dilemmas. You can’t fix a problem as a team without such communication, and Triad has had their share of problems, mishaps, and dilemmas. Problem-solving is like battling a hydra, because with every solution comes two more problems. The efficiency and legitimacy with which we can communicate allows us to navigate our way out of sticky situations. It has been fundamental for our success, but moreover, that communication was something we identified off the bat as essential for operation.
Once again, that leads me to repeat the importance of compatibility that comes with our business family. The founders did not just share an idea, they shared—and still share—a vision, albeit one that has grown and developed as the last two years has unfolded around us all. During the company’s first few months, the shared vision allowed the founders to keep each other on track and allow them to find their own lanes, in which they advanced the company to its current place. As the company has grown and more team members have joined, the importance of compatibility has not faded.
These three key elements—self-discipline, open and honest communication, and shared vision—coalesce into a work ethic that has driven this company so far. Baaqir said it himself, that people don’t understand what they are capable of until they do it. But it takes a dedicated work ethic, the willingness to work from 8 a.m. until midnight, balancing extracurricular organizations, learning new skills, personal lives, and whatever else in the meanwhile.
Triad has an ironclad shared belief system and work ethic. We focus on internal efficiency by employing and discussing those aforementioned key elements. We vocalize our expectations for the company and for each of us individually and we make sure we follow through with them. The strategies that we employ are by no means anomalous, but we believe we are an anomaly and therefore become one, and that is what makes all the difference.