Philosophy – Martin Potter

I’m an avid surfer and in the pre-internet days I would video tape television shows featuring surfing and watch them over and over. I have over 20 of these 3 hour video tapes and can still remember every word of the dialogue off by heart. Today I was thinking about one of the tapes. It was from the Coca-cola classic held at Manly beach in Sydney in 1987. At the start they interviewed the top 5 surfers in the world. One of which included Martin Potter and he said this:

“The one thing to do in surfing is win the world title. And until I get it, I’ll be going for it. And when I get it, I’ll be gone.”

This statement is carved into my brain with blood. I’ve never forgotten it. It was just so succinct, said with such confidence, belief and direction. He even sounded cool as a cat when he said it. Two years later he blitzed them and won the world title. Shortly after that he left the circus that was the world surfing tour and went on to other things in the surfing arena. I always felt as though he wanted to prove what he was capable of, but not be a slave to the system once the game was one.

The question for entrepreneurs is what kind of a victory or proof point are we really after, and when is enough, enough? This is something we should know before we start or we may never know when or if to call it a day.


3 Comments Philosophy – Martin Potter

  1. Jonny Day

    So true, especially with entrepreneurs inspiring to start a business with the goal of selling it to a conglomerate organisation like Google. What do they do after that?

  2. Jon

    When people play the entrepreneurship game, it depends on if they play it to be King or Rich. (

    Kingship is about lifestyle, doing things on your terms, and Richness is about cashing out and with money in mind.

    For me, I’ve always played for the enjoyment of the game. So, I play exclusively in the arena of the early stages and there are an endless number of companies to shop from. I quit when the company grows to a certain size, without fail, and I enjoy life until I’m ready for a new chapter.

    It’s very easy to trade too much health, time or peace for the chaos of the startup world unless you set a specific intention and your own rules for playing the game. I love your posts, as usual.

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