Karma, Passion and Identity: A Response to Chris Sacca’s Bleeding Aqua

Chris Sacca‘s post “I Bleed Aqua.” yesterday is the must-read (or rather, reread) for me today. It’s poignant and candid, enabling it to speak on a deeper level than perhaps would be possible, had it been more reserved. It touches on business terms, but it’s really not about business at all. It’s about relationships and identity.

Sacca illustrates his relationship with the service in an intriguing way, preferring to start the post with a declaration of his passion for it, rather than examining it as a wise business investment. Though he touches on this candidly in the following paragraphs, they fade somewhat when compared to the arguably deeply personal thoughts he shares.

For him, it seems to be so much about the relationships and personal experiences it’s allowed him to have—how it’s allowed him to share milestones in his life with friends (and complete strangers), and to glean from that a certain conversation with the world. As he bluntly notes, “Twitter went from just being an investment to a huge part of my identity.”

And like with so many things, I make the music analogy in my head. If Twitter was the indie band trying to gain any sort of traction in its early days, then Sacca was the truly passionate fan who brought people to their shows and proudly wore their T-shirts. He was (and is) the fan who identified something so magnetic that by his own words, they became a part of him—a part of his identity.

For anyone who missed Sacca’s Periscope talk with Peter Pham on Wednesday, a huge topic that they covered (well, huge in my opinion) was the concept of good karma and relationship building. When discussing the process by which he builds and cultivates his relationships (personal as well as professional), Pham stated that one should do things for others without asking for anything upfront: “create value before asking for value.” Pham and Sacca seemed to agree that the dynamic of good karma was something they both subscribed to. Pham went on to discuss how it’s through this dynamic of good faith and positive relationships that he’s built his (former and current) companies.

Sacca’s subsequent post on how he thinks about his relationship with Twitter is telling of this sort of relationship dynamic. In many ways, it illustrates the notion that I discussed in my post on being excellent; letting your passion inform your professional decisions as much as good business strategy. As I examined with Product Hunt, letting concepts of community and positive relationships inform one’s business tactics is a winning strategy. Even as he discusses the concept of being critical of some of Twitter’s moves towards the end of the post, he does so in a way that reaffirms his love of the service, and excitement at what it is and can be.

Perhaps the strongest sentence is also the simplest. Just three words: “I bleed aqua.” That’s how Sacca caps his post—a blunt, positive statement. And that’s exactly how the post as a whole comes off: blunt, positive, reaffirmed, excited.

Passion Isn’t Exhausting—It’s Invigorating

A couple days ago, I wrote a post about how when things get tough in my line of work, it’s always best to go back to the artists. The artists are where I find my love rekindled again and again, and where I’ve made some of my best friends.

I think, though, that one of the best things I experience in talking to artists every day is the sheer passion that spills through their emails and calls. They are so passionate about their work and the work of their peers that, most days, they can barely contain themselves. Sometimes our conversations consist of us (me and an artist) interrupting each other to ask the other if they’ve heard the latest release from a group we both love.

While some might take this as daunting and exhausting after a certain period of time, the truth is that it never really gets old. It gets old hearing someone blather on about something when their heart really isn’t in it; you can tell. But when someone is so incredibly passionate about something that it jumbles the words falling out of their mouth—that’s not exhausting at all; it’s reinvigorating.

That’s something I would wish on anyone having a discussion in their professional field. That’s what makes this feel like play-time when it really is work. It’s what enables me to send out stacks of emails (does that metaphor make sense?) without losing a bit of my drive for the day. And what’s more, it’s incredibly infectious. This is why I do what I do, and love it every day.