[Note: This post and philosophy applies to weekly standup meetings where you and your team regularly get together, every week. Many times, these meetings are a drudge. Try this viewpoint to build culture, camaraderie, and more fun into your regularly scheduled team meetings.]
There used to be this website that you could go to and make a telephone relay call. In other words, you could type the words on the computer and then someone somewhere would pick up the phone and call whatever number you wanted and read the messages you were typing.
It was a deaf phone call service I think. I was young and saw it through the lens of “This would make incredible, prank phone calls.”
I called everyone with this service. I didn’t have a mobile phone at the time, so I would logon at a computer cafe and make calls.
I’d call my dad and ask him to come pick me up. I’d call my coach and tell him that I had been in a serious ear accident and could no longer hear, but that I’d still be at practice because my legs were fine and I could run.
I called my friends and would tell them girls were in love with them and have the relay phone attendant read semi-innappropriate messages. “I’m in love with you! You just make me so nervous that I can’t tell you, so my friend Linda here is reading this note to you…ahhhh you’re so cute!"
I don’t know why I’m admitting all of this except that life was fun. I had free time to use relay services and have other people make free phone calls on my behalf.
I was creative—I used the telephone for the deaf to communicate with my friends. It always cracked me up to imagine what my friends’ responses were by what the attendant was typing back to me on the chat.
I didn’t need a mobile phone! I had RelayCalls dot com to do my bidding.
What madness and yet brilliant times those were.
Then, when I got my cell phone, I’d call people and do imitations and alter-egos. I once sold an Oompa-Loompa to a girl for $125 and then upsold her to buy a second to complete the pair for $200. She was even going to give me her dad’s credit card info over the phone.
I hung up. I didn’t really have Oompa-Loompas to sell! Of course not! I just wanted to see if I could sell.
Once we get to university and then into the real world, life gets hard and we have bills to pay and we have to be serious about life. No fun. Fun is not allowed, sir.
That’s why I like being an entrepreneur. I work so hard, yet I can have fun—and I think fun people are more enjoyable to be around and work with.
When we work with new entrepreneurs, we are very clear that they have to drink tons of coffees with us and that we like to tell stories and give hugs. I don’t think that’s weird, it’s about fun and building a community. No one wants to wake up and be alone in the world.
As an entrepreneur, you see the world different for a reason. That’s what makes comedians so funny and that's what gives you the edge. You see things other people don’t. Non-entrepreneurs often shun the way you view things. But that’s your secret sauce. Don’t shun the way you view things, just shun the shunner.
Take that you shunner! Shunned!
Have more fun, please. If you’re going to call a meeting, make the meeting fun! Why not put a funny picture in the middle of your presentation and say “Whoops, not sure how that got there!”
Or stop the meeting to tell the story of how a croc smacked a baboon one time when you were at the lake. Those are the moments of connection and community that knit people together.
No one remembers a boring meeting unless someone died in it because it was so boring.
Have fun, don’t be stupid, but please have fun. Growing your company is hard work, but it can be a ton of fun along the way.
“Hi John, this is Linda calling from RelayCalls dot com. You have a call here from President Obama. Would you like to accept it?”
Say yes…these types of calls are always the best.
(photo via willy wonka)