On Scootering and Startups

THE VALUE OF PRACTICING WHAT I PREACH

A few weeks ago, in Montreal, my traveling companion (quasi) surprised me with a two-hour guided tour of my favorite city, by scooter.

If you know me in real life, you would be rightfully laughing hysterically that I would consider riding a scooter anywhere. First of all, I am risk-averse in my personal life. Ropes courses freak me out. Second of all, I am terrified of the combination of two wheels and motors. There is no shame in being wildly uncoordinated. I own it.

As I donned my pink helmet and escorted the scooter around the block, I was terrified. By the end of the two hours, I was elated.  Partly because I did not get run over, but mostly because I was thinking that if I practiced in my personal life an ounce of what I preached in my professional life, I would have jumped on that scooter and crushed the entire 120 minutes.

SCOOTERING & START UPS ARE THE SAME!

I am not sure what one is to think when scootering through traffic, dodging cars, and being laughed at in more than one language. Reflecting upon it all, here is what I came up with.

1. Fast>Slow

You are likely to fall over when you go slowly on a scooter. You cannot turn as swiftly. Every change in direction is more difficult when you are going slowly. The faster I went, the easier I could correct the course when I made a mistake. The slower you go, the less agile you are to respond to your own mistakes.

2. Listen More, Eat Less Dirt

In the lesson on scootering, I did not absorb how to get off the scooter. I did not realize I had missed this critical part until I had to dismount the lovely thing in public. So I swung my leg off the back of the scooter as if it were a bicycle. And it came crashing down on me because it was a scooter, not a bicycle. I was humiliated. My white jeans were filthy because, of course, I fell over in a dirt parking lot. As the guide pulled the scooter from top of me, he reminded me that my way to getting off the scooter was not the way he had taught me. The less you listen, the more dirt you’ll eat. 

3. Some Things Are Not to be Fixed

The quaint two-hour tour on the scooter I had anticipated quickly turned into riding this thing on the highway. Well, it felt like a highway, and in my defense, cars and trucks and buses were going very, very fast. I was scared. As I pulled into the destination on another island, I was acutely aware that I would need to get off the island with the scooter, using that same “highway.” I kind of hate to give up. In my personal life, I am a never-ever-give-up type of gal. In my personal life, everything can be fixed. As a CFO, I promote rapid failure. The “on to the next one” pull-off-the-bandaid type of failure. I channeled my inner CFO and declared that I was terrified. I wanted no more highway. I wouldn’t say I liked it. It scared me. The guide said that, with more practice, I would be fine. Nope, I said. This is not working. We should do something that works now. Some things should not be fixed, do something different and move on.

If you ever want to go scootering in Montreal, visit these guys. They are very patient, have a good sense of humor, and know that someone will fall off the scooter at least once a day. Good traits in a start up!