image1 image2 image3


The third door to the nightclub

"All highly successful people treat life, business and success... just like a nightclub.
 There are always three ways in.
There's the first door, where 99% of people wait in line, hoping to get in. 
There's the second door, where billionaires and royalty slip through.
But then there is always, always... the third door. It's the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, climb over the dumpster, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, and sneak through the kitchen. But there's always a way in.
Whether it's how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software, or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest director at a major studio in Hollywood - they all took the third door."
- Alex Banayan

Most of us are in the 99% of people that wait in line, hoping to get in. We play by the rules. We do the same things everybody else does, go to school, go to college, get good grades, get a job at a good company. 

Only we strive to do it better than the others in that 99%, go to an elite school, go to a top university, top the batch, get a job at a reputed company. But we're still in the 99% while doing this. 

To get what we really dream of having, to be the creator of something new, to be a bestselling author, to be a Youtube star with a million followers, to be the founder of a Unicorn, we have to find that third door to the nightclub. 

To rephrase Alex Banayan, in order to get anywhere, there is an established path, the path where someone defines the rules of the game and then we strive our hardest to master those rules and hope to be chosen by the ones who have set the rules. This is the path of least resistance. It has clear objectives, a clear map to follow. And yet, diligently following the map is not enough. It is necessary to follow the map quicker and faster and better than others trying to follow the same path. This is the path that 99% of us are on. 

This is the path of least resistence because it doesn't require us to make big decisions. It doesn't require us to identify a problem we wish to solve or the nature of the impact we wish to have on this world. It just needs us to do the best in what is defined by someone else. We only need to choose whose rules to follow. Should I go to law school or med school? Should I join Google or Facebook? 

Then there is the second path that concern me because that is irrelevant as I'm neither a billionaire nor royalty (and nor are you). So I'll just accept that that's one way in that few of us has control over and leave it at that.

Then there is the third way. The third door is simply the set of unspoken rules in whatever it is that we are interested in getting to. This is the path where there is no map, because if there was, the 99% of us would be following it diligently, fighting over who is more compliant to the rules of the game. 

This is the path that needs us to define what it is that we wish to do, and to fully commit our efforts towards achieving that. There is no option here to throw up our hands and say 'I went to the best school, got good grades, but nobody hired me' or 'I got into the best company, delivered on difficult projects, but was overlooked for promotion'. 

This path is not about following someone's rules. But it is about making our own. It is about finding a door where 99% of the people don't see one, and then figuring out how to open it. 

Several people ask me how to move into a Product role. And my answer is always the same. Show that you can do the work. Don't wait to be designated a role before you do the work. Just do the work you want to do, and you will have carved yourself a role.

And that's the key to the third door. It is in the doing. It is in the not waiting for someone to give you permission. It is about showing that you care enough about the problem to solve it any way you can. 

And then you will be inside the nightclub.

Share this: