Doing what you love to do is a special privilege. Many people trudge through life working jobs they don’t like, or in these times, struggling to find a job at all. This week I had the chance to spend time with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Dan Farber, Editor in Chief of CBSnews.com, and Mary Jo Foley, author of Microsoft 2.0, and writer of MicrosoftWatch. During our conversations Microsoft and Steve Ballmer usually came up. On reflection it became clear to me what all of these people have in common; they love what they do.
Steve Ballmer and Mark Cuban are billionaires many times over. They don’t need to work, and money stopped being a concern for them decades ago. Yet, they still go to work every day and still have the energy and passion they had when they began their careers. Why? Because it isn’t about the money…it is about the competition. It is about making a difference, making something happen, and helping people. It is what they do, and they can’t imagine doing anything else. Retiring to a beach in Hawaii would be boring and unfulfilling.
Mark was in Boston Monday night when the Dallas Mavericks played the Celtics. The Mavericks won convincingly and Mark was on top of the world giving “high fives” to fans and friends all around. Even in enemy territory, everyone likes Mark Cuban. I was down on the floor with him before the game. We were trying to make our way over to the other side of the court where my wife was sitting. We couldn’t go two feet without a Boston fan shouting out his name, asking for an autograph or picture. He acknowledged every single fan.
Robert and Jonathan Kraft, owners of the New England Patriots, are the same way. Everyone respects the Krafts everywhere they go. Patrick McGovern, founder and chairman of IDG, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, are all billionaires, but they all have that same passion and drive to go to work every day.
Dan Farber and Mary Jo Foley aren’t billionaires, but they are doing what they love to do. They are the best in the business at what they do, and they can’t imagine doing anything else. I first met Dan when he was a writer at Cnet. He went to all the tech conferences, always in the front row, taking pictures and writing stories. In a world where writing snarky lines and digging up dirt on people is common practice, Dan is an honorable gentleman who writes balanced insightful stories without the hype. Mary Jo Foley is a legend in the industry. No one knows more about Microsoft than MJ. I visited Dan Farber at CBS News headquarters in New York (pictured right at CBS Evening News desk), and had dinner with Mary Jo Foley later that night. I saw that same exuberance and passion for their work that I saw in Mark the night before. They love what they do, they are good at it. They are recognized as industry leaders. No other reward is necessary.
Start-up entrepreneurs have that same drive and passion. Earlier in the day I hosted the 10 best SeedCamp start-ups at Google in New York. They have interesting ideas on how to solve big problems with software solutions. I will write more about their new companies in a future post. I mention them here because they have the same thing in common with all the aforementioned people…they love what they do.
Love What You Do – We won’t all reach our ultimate goals. But, at least make sure you love what you do. If you can do that, and find the love of your life as your spouse, you have made it. Everything else is just details. Life is good!
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