Togo — The natural 10Xer!

Tommy Kan
4 min readApr 12, 2020


Watched an amazingly made and inspiring new film Togo this weekend with the whole family! It is a beautiful and moving film based on a true story happened in 1925 at Alaska. Highly recommend and I believe this single film has and will help Disney+ to grow their subscriber base.

Here is the true story from Wikipedia.

“In 1925, in response to an epidemic, the first batch of 300,240 units of diphtheria serum was delivered by train from Anchorage to Nenana, Alaska, where it was picked up by the first of twenty mushers and more than 100 dogs who relayed the serum a total of 674 miles (1,085 km) to Nome.

Togo and Seppala traveled 260 miles (420 km) from Nome in three days, and picked up the serum in Shaktoolik on January 31. The temperature was estimated at −30 °F (−34 °C), and the gale force winds causing a wind chill of −85 °F (−65 °C).

The return trip crossed the exposed open ice of the Norton Sound. The night and a ground blizzard prevented Seppala from being able to see the path but Togo navigated to the roadhouse at Isaac’s Point on the shore by 8 PM preventing certain death to his team. After traveling 84 miles (134 km) in one day, the team slept for six hours before continuing at 2 AM.

Before the night the temperature dropped to −40 °F (−40 °C), and the wind increased to 65 mi/h (105 km/h). The team ran across the ice, which was breaking up, while following the shoreline. They returned to shore to cross Little McKinley Mountain, climbing 5,000 feet (1,500 m). After descending to the next roadhouse in Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen, who in turn would pass it to Gunnar Kaasen and Balto(the lead dog).

Katy Steinmetz in Time Magazine wrote that “the dog that often gets credit for eventually saving the town is Balto, but he just happened to run the last, 55-mile leg in the race. The sled dog who did the lion’s share of the work was Togo. His journey, fraught with white-out storms, was the longest by 200 miles and included a traverse across perilous Norton Sound — where he saved his team and driver in a courageous swim through ice floes.” Most people make the mistake of saying Balto is the hero, but Togo is the real hero, by over 200 miles. “

My key takeaways from this great true story behind this beautifully made film are — someone like Togo is just a 10Xer inborn, nothing will stop them to achieve the extreme high level of goal. Think about the struggles Togo had before he became the true hero of the 1925 Great Race of Mercy for city Nome:

  • He was born as an undersized husky for sled run.
  • He grew up as an undersized lead dog for sled.
  • His guardian tried twice to send him away
  • He was not positioned for lead even when his guardian agreed to give him a try.

While Togo turned every disadvantages against him aside and ended up as the greatest sled lead dog maybe in the whole Alaska history with his extremely strong determination and constant actions as a natural 10Xer!

  • He did not accept the reality — that Seppala didn’t think he is fit for sled run.
  • He did not stay in the new owner’s house — instead, he broke the window and ran back to Seppala’s place.
  • He worked harder than any other dogs in the team — which quickly got himself the position of Lead Dog!
  • He kept practicing hardly day by day, month by month and year by year — avg 4000 miles a year.
The actual Togo and Seppala(Togo’s guardian)

And the most impressive part of Togo’s heroine run in 1925 is his age. He was 12 years old, roughly 70 years in human age.

Last thought — It doesn’t matter whether you got that inborn grit and drive to be a 10Xer, it’s never too late for you to set a goal for yourself to achieve!

Goal + Constant Actions will get you closer to that goal every day!



Tommy Kan

A lifelong learner and explorer! Grew up in Asia, now enjoying the dynamism of Silicon Valley in the sunny California.