Catching Covid and lessons from Robert Iger

Back with another solopreneur blog post and update, but unfortunately not the best update on my end.

Last Saturday morning I woke up not feeling great.

I’ve been training pretty hard for my marathon, so my initial thought was my body was just tired (sometimes when I’m training hard + not resting/eating enough, I catch colds).

I took a Covid test that afternoon which came back negative, so I was pretty sure it was just an everyday cold.

After 2 days of rest (and some work – although I stayed home), turns out it’s in fact Covid (I took two more tests to be safe and both were positive).

Luckily, I’ve been triple vaccinated and it wasn’t so bad. I also like to think that being in good physical and mental shape has (maybe) also helped, another reason why entrepreneurs should always do what we can to stay as healthy as possible.

While I didn’t get it that bad, I still needed a few days to relax, do what I needed to keep the business operations moving and dropped most of the rest of my responsibilities (daily emails, posting on social media, brushing my teeth… okay maybe not the last one!).

Not sure how many of you have had it, but overall my experience was:

  • felt kind of crappy on Saturday morning, like a cold/sore throat was coming on. Took a rapid test which was negative
  • felt a bit crappier on Sunday, but exactly like a common cold so didn’t think much of it
  • still felt crappy – mostly sore throat – Monday, so I stayed home. Took two more rapid tests that night and both were positive (!)
  • Tuesday/Wednesday were mostly relaxing, keeping an eye on email, doing admin work and dealing with a tickle in my throat and stuffy nose

Second half of Wednesday I started to feel a bit better, and into Thursday all symptoms were subsiding.

I feel at about 95% right now, and hopefully back to normal by the end of the weekend.

Overall, I’d say the only difference between my Covid experience and a common cold is that I felt a little more tired (especially mentally).

So all things considered, I’d say I was pretty lucky.

It also gave me time to finish another business autobiography over the weekend. And it’s another one I highly recommend – here are my key takeaways.

I finished “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company” by Robert Iger.

Not only was it a great story, it was really cool to get the behind the scenes from someone who ran such a massive company, and who worked at a company that got acquired (ABC by Disney) and then also acquired companies like Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and more…

Him describing the discussions and preparation to acquire those companies was a huge lesson on dealmaking and negotiating.

Here are my 3 biggest takeaways:

1.  Climbing up the corporate ladder is a different kind of grind

Interestingly enough, I guess you wouldn’t call Robert Iger an entrepreneur. He was an employee (first at ABC, then eventually Disney) pretty much his whole life, and hearing about his climb up the corporate ladder was interesting.

The early part of his career sounded largely out of his control, and more being in the right (or wrong) place, with the right (or wrong) people, at the right (or wrong) time.

The later part of his career sounded largely merit based – meaning he continued to get great opportunities because of his hard work and loyalty to the company.

Personally, I’d rather stick to solopreneurship.

2. Innovate or die

This is a theme that pops up here and there throughout the book.

But something that Iger learned early on in his career, and something he always kept top-of-mind while running Disney.

For example, even though it meant giving up short-term revenue and spending millions buying out contracts and commitments for some of their content, the decision to create Disney+ streaming services was a move they knew they had to make to stick with the times and continue to innovate on the best ways to deliver their content to customers.

Sometimes you have to make short term sacrifices to continue to innovate and stay on top in the long run.

3. Hire people you believe in and let them grow into the role

Iger received multiple promotions that he didn’t think he deserved, especially when he was given the chance to move from New York to LA to run television for ABC. He had no experience in Hollywood but decided it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

He was given the chance because his seniors at the time trusted that he could do what was needed to learn, grow and get the job done.

This happened more than once for Iger, and is something that is probably under-utilized in an age where (some) companies are so focused on resumes, degrees, years of experience, etc.

We’ve actually done this a few times for our immigration firm – the last 2 legal assistants we hired had zero experience in immigration law.

But we knew they had legal experience, knew they were smart and had an energy and excitement about the industry that we had a good feeling about. Both turned out great and are still with us today!

Anyway, going to keep it at that and get back to the solopreneur business updates next week. Wishing everyone a happy and especially day ahead, and if you want my daily emails, make sure to sign up for them here.

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