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They call me ‘Crazy Jack’.” He was telling The New York Times. “I hope to stay crazy for the next 30 years.”
It takes a certain type of individual to become an entrepreneur. There are certain characteristics that must not be forgotten in the mix: boldness, courage, hope and maybe even a sprinkle of insanity.
Even “Crazy Jack” Ma admits it.
We asked entrepreneurs both in and out of our CA family to tell us about the absolute craziest thing that they have ever done to get to where they are, and as you will see, many of them had more than one ridiculously entertaining story to share. Here are some of our favorite responses.
The Craziest Thing You’ve Ever Done As An Entrepreneur
From Chinaccelerator's friends
1. The Sickest Story
[I was] driving to client’s office and halfway through started having double vision. Ended up covering one eye to drive 40 min between 2 meetings and then ended the day in ER.
Doctor said it was a flu, but during my 5 day stay at the hospital, I had to answer emails with one eye closed while running multiple tests like MRI, lumbar puncture, CT scan.
Even went to meetings with an eye patch after my 5 day stay for 2 weeks.
2. How To Be Memorable
Breaking your arm on a scooter, not realizing it, and still going to a client meeting with blood and cuts all over your handshake?
3. Treated as a refugee
Being locked up in immigration for hours because of too many visa runs...
4. Yes It Does
Went out and got scammed into a seedy pool parlor. Got surrounded by 5 burly goons and extorted 10k RMB. Does this story count? #foreignersinChina
5. Must Be Fate
One tip worked really well for me during the early startup times was [to] “Pitch your investors while walking (stalking) with them to the parking lot.” Works better than the elevator.
“Oh, I parked here too!” Even though I didn’t even own a car back then.
We fucked up. We ran out of money. We laid everyone off.
By 2015, we were almost out of funding (including our $600k bridge round) and only had one engineer left on our payroll (who we ended up laying off two months later). At this point, I knew the only way we could keep going was if I learned to code myself.
My childhood best friend passed away from an accidental overdose.
My Co-Founder and I took a two-month vacation to Thailand. I needed a break. The past two years caused us both a lot of emotional damage. Shame, guilt, burnout, loneliness, and depression. I cannot tell you how much this vacation helped me clear my mind and recover from my emotional pain.
7. The Price Of Success
I remember in my early days as an entrepreneur I have lived in my car for a week. Yeah, I didn’t have money to take a salary. If I would have paid myself, I wouldn’t have money to pay the salary for an employee. :D
While I was raising money, I took over 22 flights in one week. But I learnt quite a lot. I finally got success as well. But I wouldn’t forget sleeping in my car.
8. Living On The Edge
Yeah, I just moved to Beijing like a month ago. I came to China because I was too comfortable in Delhi. My last two startups were acquired by an Indian company called Hike Messenger, so money wasn’t a problem. So I decided to come to a country where I don’t know the language, I don’t know the culture and I don’t have people around me to do my personal chores.
Currently assuming the following roles:
-Business Solutions Manager Asia for SUEZ, world leader in waste and water treatment
-CEO and Founder of Feibao, on demand waste collection service in Shanghai
-Founder and watch maker at JC Watch
-Project Management teacher at Shanghai University, UTSEUS engineers
-Founder of the Shanghai Watch Collector club
-Pro-bono startup mentor in early stage
This is my intro. As you can see, I have 5 and [a] half jobs. If you know people similar, let me know ;)
10. The Realest
The craziest thing I have ever done was leave a great paying Asia leadership role with full expat package and 3 kids in international school to start my own coaching and consulting company in Shanghai.
It was also one of the best decisions of my life!
I know, you need a break to digest those crazy things and embrace the next long story :D
11. It’s been a long story… Me And These Two Dudes In a Car
When I was in the solar industry, I was delivering one of my very first ever orders, and it was a shipment that was big enough for me to deliver… with a company trailer. Normally the shipments have to be done with tractor trailers… so to save cost on the order that I had gotten—this is when I was first cutting my teeth in the business in the solar industry-- I decided to deliver it myself…
So I packed it up at trailer at the supplier site, and started driving to the site of the project where the order is being delivered. All of the sudden I see in my rearview mirror a bunch of aluminum all over the street, and… I got a sinking feeling in my stomach…
Fuck…I just lost the entire order.
I hadn’t packed it up properly, so I didn’t do the right banding necessary to keep it well-packed on the trailer, and everything started flying off the trailer, and these are big, giant aluminum components: big sheets of aluminum, big aluminum bars…
I’m like “holy shit.” So I pull over and assess the damage. I blocked three whole lanes, and [cars] were driving around it on the shoulder, so it was already causing a traffic jam. So really quickly, I thought fast. I knew that if the police came I’d have to file a report and would probably have lost the job.
So before the police came, I flagged down another car that had two dudes in it, and the dudes were like “What up,” and I was like “Yo! Get out of your car and help me pick up all this racking material.” And each piece, like, it takes a strong man to pick up each piece and bring it back.
But we did it. Me and these two dudes in a car. We set up some of the racking to route the cars around the area that we needed to clean up. And one by one, we picked these pieces off of this freeway and packed them back on my trailer before the police could come. I’m sure that other cars had called the police and stuff ‘cause we were blocking the entire fucking highway. But before they got there, me and these two dudes, as fast as we possibly could with our shirts off, sweating like crazy, just...hulked all of this aluminum back onto the trailer.
I packed it up, drove it to the job site, sold the racking, and the job was done.
But the stories of these entrepreneurs don’t end here. As Will said to me, “Shit happens as a startup, but everyone celebrates the glamorous success. A lot of legendary stories happen in between that you only share over a beer.”
Do you also have crazy story to share? Welcome to leave a comment below and share your voice with us. Cheers!
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