James Governor's Monkchips

I Am A Hustler, Baby, and a Lifestyler. What about you?

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Gone Fishing
Gone Fishing

I picked up on a tweet from Gary Vay-ner-chuk today and decided to check it out. Turns out the post in question was from Call Me Jeffrey, who argues:

It appears that it’s no longer noteworthy to simply be successful – you have to achieve it with as little effort as possible. Why is hard work no longer news? From the four-day workweek to the four-hour workweek, there recently exists the idea that it’s possible to achieve just as much (if not more) while cutting back on time spent actually working.

My confusion with these concepts is two-fold: (1) if you love what you’re doing, why would you want to do it less? (2) If you don’t love what you’re doing, why not do something else? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not the type of person who is out with friends having a great time and thinks “wow, what I need is to do this less. Much, much less.”

Jeffrey splits the world into two types of people- hustlers and lifestylers.

Lifestylers work as a means to an end. These are the type of people who leave their phone in their hotel room when they go down to the pool


I’m a hustler (aww, yeah!). I escape 9-5 by working 8 to 8. I work weekends. When I’m not working, I’m thinking about work. Sound bad? Maybe we have different ideas of what work is. Work has no negative connotations to me.

Which is cool, except then Jeffrey drops this:

Hustlers work smarter and harder.

So one is better than the other then. I responded thus:

Great piece. really. except one thing. i am both a hustler and a lifestyler. My business partner is more about lifestyle but not because he wants to be nouveau riche, but so has plenty of time to go fishing. I love my work but I also love my family. I don’t know if you have a kid, but that might adjust your tolerance for 8-8 workdays. finally the funny semantic thing about Tim Ferris is that according to his time accounting, blogging isn’t working because its fun! That is- Mr Ferris is definitely a hustler. He. works. his. arse. off. to achieve that lifestyle.”

Which I guess was the key talking point Jeffrey was making. Why should success have to look effortless? That’s kind of a sickness. The idea that instant gratification and riches can belong to us all is one of the reason’s we all got into so much debt over the last 20 years. Using a credit card is effortless. Any of us could be on the beach tomorrow. I could be in Paris in four hours if i wanted.Taking a loan was effortless. Getting a bank to pony up money to make an acquisition was effortless. Frankly at RedMonk we prefer working for things. But that doesn’t mean we have to forego decent lifestyles.

Earlier this week Barbara French made some statements about how the entire industry analyst sector was “is out of balance”.

The fracturing is compounded by too many small firms staying small, not even attempting to grow into mid-sized firms.

If you’ve followed me even casually, you know that I’m supportive of 1-person and small-team analyst businesses in the world today. For the last 9 years, I’ve been one of the go-to people to validate them and raise their market visibility.

Many small analysts produce research and advice on par with Gartner. I just wish their business vision and execution was on a par with Gartner too.

I must admit I kind of took exception. Gartner is indeed a successful company that benefits from its scale. Cool. We get that. But that doesn’t mean we have to be like them. Especially given the post is ostensibly about other firms laying people off! My comment:

How do the layoffs highlight fracturing? You highlight fragmentation, which is very much your right, but i don’t see the connection from the headline to the argument.

Small firms create more jobs than big firms – that’s economics we should probably celebrate. Should we have pursued growth for its own sake. Many companies fueled growth based on credit, and are now paying the piper?

Since RedMonk’s inception our ambition was always to be a *good* and sustainable business. We never wanted to be BIG.

Without independents there would arguably be no AR watcher business. We may drive you nuts, but we also provide a raison d’etre, a factor you identify above.

Long may the “fracture” continue- I like to think of it as diversity, and perhaps even a show of strength.

I am intrigued by the idea “the entire sector is out of balance”. Arguably the business is finally *maturing* – with a trio of marquee firms at the top Gartner, Forrester, and IDC, and a host of smaller players out there. Mid-sized firms are the ones that get acquired.

Today most industries seem to hourglass – with lots of small firms at the bottom, a few major ones at the top, and an M&A field in the middle-tier. Why should we be any different?

All I know is I will maintain a commitment to innovation, and companies that innovate.

To head off in a related but slightly direction for a second it seems to me that Enterprise 2.0 maven Andrew McAfee‘s most recent analysis of technology and differentiation in the IT industry applies surprisingly well to the industry analyst business. Low barriers to entry don’t necessarily knock big players off their perch. In fact big players should celebrate new entrants.

As industries became more IT intensive they became less hospitable environments for small companies instead of friendlier ones. it’s true that as industries computerized they saw morestartups, but it’s also true that they saw more deaths among startups , and greater expansion of establishments that are part of larger incumbent companies.

Sounds just like the industry analyst business, doesn’t it AR watchers?

Low barriers to entry means replicable. One thing I do know, if I read McAfee right, is that the forthcoming sustainability wave will be quite different. Green is going to be about moonshots with very high capital investments. It won’t be like software. We’re going to need big funding rounds, the kind that are out of fashion in tech these days. Boston Power, recently interviewed on Greenmonk TV, took $55m this week.

But back on topic. I have known Barbara a while now and she is cool. She was good enough respond to me like so:

You’re founded on experimenting with new analyst business models. I’m not advocating that everybody strive to be big — that’s as whack as everyone settling for being tiny. Likewise, not everybody needs to dance on the bleeding edge.

Yay. We concur. RedMonk is built on innovation, and its also based on a dialectical relationship between its two founders- Stephen and I. At first glance he is more of a lifestyler, while I am mostly a hustler. But in reality we’re both, well, both. I like to switch off when I get home. In the main my wife and son make sure I do. Meanwhile Stephen works extremely hard and is always out there fighting the RedMonk fight. He does so he can chill out when he wants to.

I guess in conclusion what I am trying to say is that the two types are not mutually exclusive- in fact I’d say they are edges of the same blade: I am a hustler and a lifestyler – got a problem with that? 😉


  1. I agree. And, I think that it is natural for any individual, or company for that matter, to get locked in by a single category or descriptor and not be able to find their way out when circumstances change.

    Doesn’t have to be black or white, small or gianormous, hustler or lifestyle… perhaps, “hybird” should be the new black/white of 2009. Take the best of the models around you and blend them for optimal results — whether that be for your life, market, industry, etc.

  2. These kinds of ideas are born of boom cycles. Now that we’ve hit the bust button, we’ll return to the Protestant “Millionaire Next Door” Costco values that drove the ’90’s. Who was the guy who left the shrinking appeal of Web 2.0 lifestyle to join the warm embrace of Google’s direct deposit? We’ll see a lot more of that as the repression gets nasty and starts knocking marginal bloggers back into 8-8 workplaces.

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