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A hammer is just a hammer. Without a vision for the home you want to build, you will just have a hammer and a bunch of raw materials. It’s your vision for the hammer that determines what it will ultimately be used for.

Our businesses are the same. A business is made up of people, technology, materials, and tools. You can use your business to provide value for customers, make money for yourself, or make a larger change in the world. It’s your vision for your business that determines what it will ultimately be used for.

Every morning, our entire team has a standup. We take 15 minutes to ask one another a question. Sometimes it’s a fairly lighthearted question — something like “what is your ideal day and why.” Other times, it’s a little more serious. Last Friday, we asked everyone “Why do you work at GAN?” …


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Vision.

It captures our imagination, fills us with a sense of wonder, and gives language to what we see the world becoming.

And, when you think about the people who have vision, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos may come to mind — people who seem to be building products ahead of their time. Or you may think about Bill Gates, or others who understand where our world is moving (in both good and bad ways) and are working to build a more just, equitable world.

Most of you reading this have vision, and probably even call yourself a “visionary.” You’re someone who understands and can picture what might happen to us down the road, and you’re building products and services that fulfill the way you see the world is unfolding. …


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Every week I meet with Anna on my team to talk about the blog for the week. This past week we were laughing that the first blog I wrote in 2020 (and this is dead serious) was called It’s 2020 — Bring on the Problems. It was a blog all about how I planned to handle the problems that came my way this year, the final line being a paradox where I said — “Here’s to more and more problems coming our way in 2020.” — And that came true more than we could have possibly imagined.

As Anna and I were talking on the phone about the final blog of the year, I started to tear up. I was fairly overwhelmed thinking about what all that just happened over the past 12 months. But I wasn’t tearing up about all of the pain and sadness. I was tearing up about all we can be proud of. As I was talking about 2020, I couldn’t believe all of the things that we actually made it through this year. So, before we go into 2021, I’d love to invite you to stop and realize what we all just did, being thankful for what we’ve learned, and using those learnings to help others as we move into 2021. …


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Misunderstandings are all around us, and no one enjoys being misunderstood.

They take place at the national level — daily. In the United States, a large minority of the country believes the presidential election was stolen from them, and another large minority can’t believe anyone would think that.

And, misunderstandings are happening more and more with so many of our interactions being virtual right now. I was on a call with Eric Smith at High Alpha venture studio this past week, who shared that his biggest regret of COVID is that he can’t see his colleagues’ microexpressions. He can’t see their legs move in a way that shows they’re anxious about something he said. He can’t see someone’s body language after a meeting to understand if they’re upset. So, he may think someone is completely fine when in reality they are incredibly anxious. …


I’m Told To Be Thankful
We’ve all heard that gratitude is the answer to many problems. That being full of gratitude will help you be more resilient and happy, a better boss and partner, and a better human. But I’ve been skeptical when I’ve heard these comments before. So, I want to spend today’s blog asking, “how does being thankful actually help me do these things above?”

But first, some real-life examples of how people are finding gratitude in this difficult season —

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The Research Behind Gratitude
There is a surprising amount of scientific research on what consistent gratitude does to our brains and bodies. …


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“But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies.”

— Joe Biden, United States President-Elect, acceptance speech on November 7, 2020

A Story

At my university, I studied Interpersonal Communications, which is the study of how humans connect with one another both individually and collectively. …


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About a decade ago, I was doing sales for a startup that offered a tech solution for pharmacies. We came across a government initiative (called the 340B program in the United States) that allowed pharmacies to make more money while serving low-income pharmacy customers, and our company’s tech solution would power the initiative.

As I went into pharmacies, I would normally walk in the door and say that I’m here to tell them about a great solution that would help the pharmacy get more business from new customers, powered by the easy-to-use technology we were offering. And when I asked if they were interested, I would be shocked when they said no. …


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What do you believe the world could become through your work?

I posed this question to all of the 156 accelerators, studios, and corporate innovation teams who joined me at the GAN and GSSN Summit last week, and it became the basis for our three-day Summit.

And while that question was posed to everyone attending Summit, it’s an incredibly important question for every one of us reading this blog today. Here’s why — how we answer it deeply affects what we do in our work, how we do our work, and the energy we will ultimately have because of our work.

What happens if we don’t have an answer to this question?

Most people don’t have an answer to this question or just haven’t spent time crafting an intentional vision of what the world could become because of the work they do each day. Personally, I didn’t have a good answer until a few years ago. …


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You know exactly what’s going on in the world. Things are tough right now, and all of us are experiencing some kind of hardship. There are socio-political issues around race, and, in the United States, an election that seems to be one of the most important elections we’ll have in our lifetimes. There’s the ongoing health crisis where new outbreaks of COVID-19 seem to be picking up as we enter the fall. And, there’s this economic recession overlaying all of it. Not to mention the many other challenges each of us are facing in our own lives and communities.

It all seems heavy. I have numerous friends coming to me tired and anxious. Most of my good friends have cried at work at least once over the last few weeks. It makes sense. Things aren’t easy at this moment. …


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The other day I was on a call with a good friend. He’s a great entrepreneur and asked if he could run the pitch for his new company by me. It was a great pitch. He shared the problems he’s solving, what the product does, the size of the market, and how much the company is looking to grow.

For all intents and purposes, it was a typical well-done pitch.

As I reflected on the pitch, I realized two things —

First, he never mentioned any part of his background. This guy is an incredible leader. He has been building products for years, has already been successful on numerous fronts, and has more than enough chops to show any investor what he’s capable of achieving. …

About

Patrick Riley

Helping to give startups the power to create and grow their business wherever they are as CEO of GAN: @GANconnect

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