Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Reject Your Rejection

Recently I came across a great "little" book called Lucky or Smart. It is the autobiographical outline of how Bo Peabody built Tripod and sold it to Lycos for $US60 million before the Internet bubble burst. He was paid in Lycos shares, and he sold half his Lycos holdings, before the market crashed, for $US300 million. I think you get the idea of the title - was he SMART or LUCKY.

Peabody claims he as both. Smart enough to know when to start something, and when to get out. Also, he was clever enough to know as a B student he could build his future with A students who were gifted but not adventurous. Peabody talks about how "no" is the starting point for all good ideas.

Here is a brief extract of how we got into Williams College, even though as a B student he didn't qualify - at first. He eventually partnered with a Professor at Williams to start Tripod. So, in Bo's words, here's what happened when he heard "no".

"The first time I realised I loved the word "no" was when I applied for college. I was determined to attend Williams College, one of the world's most selective institutions of higher learning. One in every five people who apply to Williams gets in. which is one of every hundred who seriously think about applying and one of every thousand who ask their school guidance counsellor if they should apply. I didn't have a prayer of getting accepted. I was, after all, a B-student.

Sure enough, I got the thin envelope: the one with no information about when the school starts, or what dorm you're in, or who your roommate will be. Instead, it just contains that nicely worded letter, the one that when you cut through all the flowery language simply says "no."

I needed a plan. The customer had said "no," and the sales process was just beginning. Figuring that the admissions committee of this elite school had probably seen and heard just about everything, I decided to take a bold, direct, and unorthodox approach. I got the telephone number of the assistant director of admissions, a man called Cornelius (Corny) Raiford. I called up Corny and told him:

"Hi, my name is Bo Peabody, and I reject your rejection."

There was a long silence. "Excuse me?" he said.

"I want to go to Williams College," I continued. "And with all due respect, I think the admissions committee has made a mistake. And I'd like to work with you to correct it. I am formally rejecting your rejection. I'm coming to Williams. Not next year perhaps, but at some point. I'm in no rush. I have al the time in the world, and I plan to send application in to Williams every year until I'm accepted."

There was another long silence. Corny cleared his throat, and said, "I appreciate your desire to attend Williams. I'm not sure I've ever received a call like this, so let's see what we can do."

Most people would simply accept the rejection. Don't. Ever. When you hear no it is the time to really start fighting.

Great story don't you think?? There is a extract for you to download in Free Stuff.

- Wayne Mansfield

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