3 Things Floyd Mayweather Has In Common with an EdTech Entrepreneur

April 24, 2015
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ed tech entrepreneur similaritiesFloyd Mayweather Jr. – an Education Technology Entrepreneur’s Inspiration

 

One of my all time favorite athletes is the controversial Floyd Mayweather. If you like him or not is irrelevant. The most inspirational thing about Floyd is that he is doing what his calling in life is. He had god given abilities in boxing, recognized them at an early age and engaged in it as a profession.  Not only did he fully embrace his talent early, but kept adjusting and refining over time to keep getting better.

I not only admire him at his craft but have been thinking how much his actions resemble a businessman.  As I have embraced being my career as an entrepreneur, I have also refined my skills over the years.  Upon reflection, I actually have been using a few techniques from Floyd in building Class Compete.  Let me expound on 3 points:

Prepare for Battleprepare for battle

The first thing he does is holistically prepare for a fight. If you watch his pre fight television shows he trains mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually for a fight. Above all else he has always kept his family close. Obviously the shows have some glamour and fun but you can extrapolate how much more work is going on we don’t see.

 

To me this is like writing a business plan for an entrepreneur. Every fight he treats like a new business plan and tackles it on all fronts. I have often said you can not be “half in” with any business you want to start. All facets of your life – most importantly your family and friends have to be aligned for success to happen. It’s all or nothing for Floyd and it should be for any entrepreneur and what I have done consistently for success.

 

Strong Foundations are Essential to Entrepreneurship

base of businessman

A second thing to observe is Floyd’s stance in the ring. His grace and boxing  is unquestionable but have your ever looked at his feet?  His base is unusually wide at times. I often watch that and wonder why other boxers don’t do this as much. With that strong foundation, he is very capable to move around, take a punch or stay in and slug it out. It’s an amazing building block and essential to his approach.

 

When building my business I also thought of all my customers and stakeholders and how to build a business around them. I wanted to ensure we were solving a real problem and had a real solution for all parties. Often entrepreneurs build solutions that they find interesting, but not really solving a problem and hence have limited growth potential. I engaged with students and teachers early in the business development and made sure we had found a real need.

 

 

Keep Your Hands Up!hands of entrepreneur

Finally, I love the way Floyd holds his gloves and stance. He has a style that is very unusual. He can protect himself from almost any angle while also being able to punch and not being restricted.  As validation of his stance, if you look at fight stats he rarely gets hit. He constantly can defend- deflect- and move. I once heard an interview he gave where he discussed one technique – “pik sticking” (apologies if I got this wrong Floyd!). In this technique you pick off an attack and counter quickly.

 

To me this summarizes the most essential part of being an entrepreneur – the ability to shift and pivot quickly. One has to become comfortable and accept that what you think is the right idea today, might not be tomorrow and you have to adjust fast with a solution. In the couple years that I have worked on Class Compete,  I have pivoted 3 times already and prepared to keep doing so with problems and solutions I am experience everyday.

 

Its hard to be an education entrepreneur and very important to be agile and adjusting your business when needed. Floyd is a student of boxing and probably does not realize how he epitomizes many values of entrepreneurship at the same time. I enjoy watching him and anyone who pursues their dream with conviction and confidence and will continue to develop Class Compete with similar vigor.

Rahul Mahna is the founder and CEO of Class Compete, a video game platform that helps relieve student’s test anxiety by teaching time, pressure and anxiety management skills in the hope of improving grades. Rahul has over 14 years of experience leading education technology-focused companies and has dedicated his career to helping teachers and students succeed.

Prior to Class Compete, he’s been a partner in three other educational learning startups. He is credited for rapidly scaling and leading each company through a successful exit. Beyond his primary business, he also serves on several boards as a business advisor on education technology services for private companies and school districts.

He holds degrees from Lehigh University, Columbia University and Northwestern University- Kellogg School of Management and is fluent in three languages. An outdoorsman at heart, he enjoys fishing and hiking having recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and base camp Mt Everest. His passion is sharing ideas for technology in the classroom and education teaching strategies using educational games. 

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