“You should always play a longer suit instead of a stronger suit,” said my grandfather as he mopped the floor with my tears in our bridge game.
During the holidays, my family has the tradition of playing a certain flavor of bridge. I guess you could call it redneck bridge. Take the best parts of bridge: the teamwork, the thinking, the strategy and combine that with the best parts of frat-house style poker: the beer, the taunts, the jeers and the jabs. That’s the kind of bridge my family plays.
In bridge, you should always bid your longest suit (the suit with the most cards) over your strongest suit (the suit with the highest honors). It usually puts you and your partner in a better position as the hand plays out. Sometimes you won’t gain the upper hand until the final few tricks, when all hope seems lost. The same applies on the world’s widest web: companies that are playing the long game will eventually be better than companies playing the short game.
Lesinski and I had a joke when we were working on HackCollege that it didn’t matter how crappy we felt, we just had to stay in the game. We knew that by writing every day, we’d merely outlast the other college blogs out there. College is a finite time, but the college demographic is one that is constantly growing. No matter how ashamed we were of the quality of what we produced (which was often), we kept punching publish. One of the things we engineered was a way to transition new writers in and old writers out; not everyone stays in college forever. We were in it for the long haul.
I’ve officially moved on from HackCollege in all capacities. I’m contractually obligated to not talk about it. But I’m contractually obligated to not talk about it. One of the best things HackCollege did and continues to do, is to simply live. Five years is a short amount of time in brand-lifetimes. Even the Big Brands were relatively unknown in their early years.
It’s hard to see, and sometimes compete with, organizations that are clearly only have this hand in mind. You might face off against those with millions in venture funding that artificially depress parts of your market. It’s sometimes depressing to see your exact same idea get more attention. They’re not looking at the scorecard; they don’t know where they’ll be the next time the cards are dealt. They are playing their current strengths over their innate length: the potential time their brand could live. (Usually, this time’s ceiling is the death of human civilization.) Sometimes the time is right to grab two beers and jump, but you’ve got to give it a few years. Stay focused, stay motivated.
And don’t get too stuck up. Nothing is worse than a stuffy bridge game. Believe me, nothing.