160 views | +0 today
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

What is a Startup CEO’s real job? | Noam Bardin | LinkedIn

What is a Startup CEO’s real job? | Noam Bardin | LinkedIn | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

Startups are unique animals: “a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” This means that at its birth, a startup is in a unique position - having zero constraints. There is no product, market, revenue, employees, HR, legal issues etc. A good friend of mine who just launched his Nth start-up after finishing his vesting at a large company described it best - “I am having the time of my life. I only deal with signal: zero noise, product or people all day.” In many ways the startup journey is a downhill spiral of the CEOs quality of life by adding constraints - users, customers, investors etc. Of course, we know we need them to succeed.

Some startup CEOs check in code daily or design screens, while others close deals or schmooze with investors. The scope of what different CEOs do and their backgrounds can be very diverse. So what do successful CEOs have in common? What is their ‘real job’ and why do we need them? In other words, what are the things the early stage startup CEO actually has to do, or else the company will fail?

Setting the company vision, communicating it and holding the line

A successful early stage CEO must be able to create, define and maintain the vision - what are we here for? A vision is the essence of what the company is about. Why is this an important journey to undertake? Why is this groundbreaking if we succeed? Why should we attempt to undertake this?

A vision must:

  • Be easily described in a mission statement, under 10 words
    • A consumer company should be described from the consumer’s perspective, and an enterprise company from the customer’s perspective - never from the company/shareholder’s perspective e.g. "Saving drivers 5 minutes a day on the their commute"
  • Answer the question “if we are successful, why is it a big deal?”
    • Many startups I meet are so focused on execution that they haven’t asked the question: “Assume we are successful, so what? Who cares?” This is the key question great VC’s will ask first. Is this a journey worth undertaking? Make sure you have a good answer here before undertaking the journey, since once you start, there is no turning back!

Holding the Line

“Fratres! Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!”

General Maximus Meridius [Gladiator (2000 film)]

Holding the line of attack has been critical to militaries since before the days of Rome. It is what turns a group of men into an army capable of multiplying its force dramatically. During the charge, holding the line is more important than the life of any individual soldier; if the line falls, they are all dead. A startup charging forward must hold its line, its vision and its certainty and must work as one to achieve victory. It cannot be distracted with too many directions, ideas or problems. The CEO must set the direction and once set, make sure the team “Holds the Line” to victory, regardless of the casualties along the way.

The easiest thing for a startup to do in the face of adversity is to change the vision. This can be a small change (to deal with competition, product performance, monetization challenges) or a large change - let’s do something completely different. As Eileen Lee pointed out in her research on Unicorns ($1B+ exited companies) - “The “big pivot” is also an outlier… Few [Unicorn] companies are the result of a successful pivot. Nearly 90 percent of [Unicorn] companies are working on their original product vision.”

If your vision is big enough and important enough, by definition you cannot easily change it and find something else that is just as big and important. Not many such visions exist. You can adapt and change tactics as you learn more from your mistakes, but do not confuse that with changing the vision.

Again, “Hold the Line”:

  1. Life is hard. Failure is part of life, but not an excuse to change direction or move on. Winners fight to the end - they don’t change sports
  2. The new direction looks sexy BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW IT! Similar to the neighbor’s grass, as you move forward in your startup, you learn more and more about your industry, product, users. Many of the things you learn are frustrating and problematic - you now need to deal with them rather than go back to blissful ignorance within a new direction
  3. Its the CEO’s job to create and maintain the vision and deal with the problems arising from the deeper understanding of the space you are in and find ways to push on.
  4. The vision will evolve due to new information and experience, and it is the CEO’s job to know when to hold the line and when to evolve the vision. Holding the line against your investors, employees and users, because you ‘know’ that the vision is right, is a large part of the intangible value a great CEO brings. The difference between an effective startup CEO and messianic nut is nuanced and only clear after the fact. Did she know if, when and how to evolve the vision? Luckily, history is written by the winners...

Why I hate the term ‘pivot’

‘Pivot’ has become the Valley’s buzzword to glorify failure. It attempts to legitimize failure and even cast it in a positive light. Failing is TERRIBLE! We should hate ourselves for failing, agonize over it, feel physically ill from it. Failure means we have burned other people’s money, wasted our team’s time and effort, and let down our early adopters. If we have to change direction, we should do it with a heavy heart and shaking knees, not with a hop and a skip. In my experience, most “Pivots” are due to poor execution and as an excuse to avoid dealing with hardship. We should experiment and try different methods to achieve the goal, expecting to make lots of mistakes *but* learn from them to achieve our goal. We will have temporary setbacks and mistakes, we should learn from them, but we must complete the mission.

Identifying, implementing and re-evaluating ‘The Most Important Thing’ (MIT)

A startup CEO’s greatest challenge is to know what the Most Important Thing (MIT) is at this time. This is the number one mission: if we can only succeed on one thing, this is it, and if we fail to execute this thing, we are DEAD (not wounded, sad or unfulfilled - DEAD).

MIT has different depths at different points in a company’s life cycle. This is the organizing principle of the startup, with all staff clear on this overarching mission and all resources mustered to achieve this goal. A good way to think about it is by quarter, month, and week. This quarter’s MIT is the only thing that matters in the foreseeable future (which is less than a quarter…) so is it user growth? Product market fit? Scaling backend? Monetization? Fundraising? This is the hardest call to make for a CEO and it must be clear, simple, singular and correct. This drives everything else the org does as it defines the monthly and weekly MITs - since if employees are not supporting the mission then their work doesn’t really matter. The CEO must dedicate most of her time to succeeding on the MIT.

What about second most important thing?

An army, even at war, needs to eat. There are lots of ancillary tasks that need to get done - servers need to run, bills need to get paid, beans needs to fill the espresso machine - these are all important but not for the CEO. I used to be a very micromanaging CEO, agonizing and involving myself in everything from what coffee flavor to order to negotiating with an office vendor. Since a startup is such a small unit, everything matters and one can easily explain their involvement only in tasks they’re comfortable doing since those tasks (and every other one) are classified as ‘important’. What I learned at Waze was to ignore the things that were not the MIT at that time. It could drive me crazy that too much money was being wasted on the wrong coffee beans, that a process was not efficient or that our website sucked but once I learned to focus on the MIT, ignoring these things made sense and the organization’s capacity grew dramatically.

Where the CEO spends her time is a message to the whole organization. Every time I spoke to the team I would always start with reciting the MIT of the moment. When we argued about product features we tried to use the MIT as our guiding principle - “yes, it’s a great feature but does it help our MIT right now?

One of my biggest MIT misses at Waze was a vital learning experience. Waze had been growing rapidly since the summer of 2010. We were adding users like crazy and carried by that momentum we closed our B round, raising $25M. Flush with new cash, the main question was “How do we scale quickly?” This was probably one of the most critical times for us as a company and the management team as a whole. As we were rushing forward, we noticed that in spite of our user growth, our driven KM’s (Usage) had remained pretty flat. Our MIT for the past year had been growing users, and we became so obsessed that we forgot to pause and ask ourselves if user growth was still our Most Important Thing.

At the time, we had very weak analytics capabilities, preferring to focus our engineering resources on user features vs. reporting and analysis. So, we made the controversial decision to freeze growth activities and focus all resources to analyze what was going on. We spent one month pulling reports, tagging new events, meeting with our users and doing anything we could to better understand how Waze was being used. What we discovered was that our product was just not good enough, although the vision was. Our user acquisition activities, expectation management and positioning were correct - people kept installing and signing on for the mission, but Waze app performance was too poor for them to stay. Users who left us lamented that “I love the app and the concept, but there aren't enough users in my neighborhood so the product didn't work well and I grew tired of waiting”.

Understanding this allowed us to focus on a new metric - 90 days driver retention (with 30 days as a short term proxy) which was then at 8% in the US (only 8% of users who drove this month would still be driving in 90 days). We created a list of the issues getting in our way; this included big things (the map wasn’t good enough in a region or our response time from our routing servers was too slow) to small things (confusion arose when audio prompts said “keep right” instead of “exit right” in the US to get off a highway.) By clearly defining and knowing what our MIT was at that point (retention vs. acquisition), we decided not to hire any more people until we could implement our plan since new people hurt output in the short term, and focus our time and effort on the right things. Six months later we hit 30% 90-day driver retention and it continued to grow from there. Once we knew we were on the right track, we could re-evaluate out MIT and look at our next one.

Reevaluating your MIT is critical and the CEO must set the cadence of this evaluation. Clarity of MIT definition, communicating it, enforcing it through the organization and reevaluating it is the essence of the CEO job and If she screws up, the company is probably lost. A popular reason startups fail is scaling too early (e.g. assuming MIT is scale when product-market fit is off). Waze was almost such a casualty

Maintaining and accelerating velocity through rapid decision making

Startups live on velocity. Every day cash is being burned, competitors are getting funded, and users are growing tired of your bugs. The luxury startups have in lack of legacy quickly erodes away - every day new legacy is created within your startup and it is slowing you down. Speed is your ally.

A CEO can contribute to Velocity by fast decision making. In fact, the only reason she is in the room is to make the decision. It matters less if it’s the right one as long as it’s made fast*. If it’s wrong, we will discover it and still have time to correct. If we wait, we pay in speed, in morale and lose the time to save ourselves.

Assuming you’ve hired great people, both options you will face will be well thought-out. Since your team is smart, they will not be providing poor options. This means that the decision is between two equally good decisions (or equally bad), but that the margin of error in making the wrong one is not that critical - both ideas should be of similar quality, just different approaches to the problem.

A great example is feature prioritization. These are usually the most heated arguments and at the moment, it seems like the company’s future depends on it. However, assuming the team is good, both features make sense and in the long run, it is very rare to have a specific feature that turned the company around. Keep the MIT as your compass. Choose one option in the meeting and move on. Agonizing over it will slow you down and won’t necessarily lead to a better outcome.

There is one exception to the velocity rule: decisions that are not in the MIT path. My instinct used to be to make all decisions quickly. What I’ve learned the hard way is to ignore non-crucial decisions. If they are not MIT, they can either wait or be decided on by someone else. Making decisions fast and well takes a lot of effort, focus and energy - don’t waste it on unimportant things. You will be surprised how many things seem to work themselves out when you ignore them; if they come back to you again, they will have become more important, you will have had more time to collect more data and can make the correct (and swift) decision at that time.

There are many other things a successful CEO needs to do in terms of leadership, hiring, sales, product, operations etc but establishing and driving toward the vision, nailing the MIT and maintaining velocity are at the core.

The views presented here are mine alone and are not associated with Google in any way.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Top 25 habits of people who are happy, healthy and successful.

Top 25 habits of people who are happy, healthy and successful. | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
Below are 5 steps to uprooting bad habits and replacing them with powerful new routines.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design

Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

Akin's Laws of
Spacecraft Design*

Space Systems Laboratory - Department of Aerospace Engineering - University of Maryland



1. Engineering is done with numbers. Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.


2. To design a spacecraft right takes an infinite amount of effort. This is why it's a good idea to design them to operate when some things are wrong .


3. Design is an iterative process. The necessary number of iterations is one more than the number you have currently done. This is true at any point in time.


4. Your best design efforts will inevitably wind up being useless in the final design. Learn to live with the disappointment.


5. (Miller's Law) Three points determine a curve.


6. (Mar's Law) Everything is linear if plotted log-log with a fat magic marker.


7. At the start of any design effort, the person who most wants to be team leader is least likely to be capable of it.


8. In nature, the optimum is almost always in the middle somewhere. Distrust assertions that the optimum is at an extreme point.


9. Not having all the information you need is never a satisfactory excuse for not starting the analysis.


10. When in doubt, estimate. In an emergency, guess. But be sure to go back and clean up the mess when the real numbers come along.


11. Sometimes, the fastest way to get to the end is to throw everything out and start over.


12. There is never a single right solution. There are always multiple wrong ones, though.


13. Design is based on requirements. There's no justification for designing something one bit "better" than the requirements dictate.


14. (Edison's Law) "Better" is the enemy of "good".


15. (Shea's Law) The ability to improve a design occurs primarily at the interfaces. This is also the prime location for screwing it up.


16. The previous people who did a similar analysis did not have a direct pipeline to the wisdom of the ages. There is therefore no reason to believe their analysis over yours. There is especially no reason to present their analysis as yours.


17. The fact that an analysis appears in print has no relationship to the likelihood of its being correct.


18. Past experience is excellent for providing a reality check. Too much reality can doom an otherwise worthwhile design, though.


19. The odds are greatly against you being immensely smarter than everyone else in the field. If your analysis says your terminal velocity is twice the speed of light, you may have invented warp drive, but the chances are a lot better that you've screwed up.


20. A bad design with a good presentation is doomed eventually. A good design with a bad presentation is doomed immediately.


21. (Larrabee's Law) Half of everything you hear in a classroom is crap. Education is figuring out which half is which.


22. When in doubt, document. (Documentation requirements will reach a maximum shortly after the termination of a program.)


23. The schedule you develop will seem like a complete work of fiction up until the time your customer fires you for not meeting it.


24. It's called a "Work Breakdown Structure" because the Work remaining will grow until you have a Breakdown, unless you enforce some Structure on it.


25. (Bowden's Law) Following a testing failure, it's always possible to refine the analysis to show that you really had negative margins all along.


26. (Montemerlo's Law) Don't do nuthin' dumb.


27. (Varsi's Law) Schedules only move in one direction.


28. (Ranger's Law) There ain't no such thing as a free launch.


29. (von Tiesenhausen's Law of Program Management) To get an accurate estimate of final program requirements, multiply the initial time estimates by pi, and slide the decimal point on the cost estimates one place to the right.


30. (von Tiesenhausen's Law of Engineering Design) If you want to have a maximum effect on the design of a new engineering system, learn to draw. Engineers always wind up designing the vehicle to look like the initial artist's concept.


31. (Mo's Law of Evolutionary Development) You can't get to the moon by climbing successively taller trees.


32. (Atkin's Law of Demonstrations) When the hardware is working perfectly, the really important visitors don't show up.


33. (Patton's Law of Program Planning) A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.


34. (Roosevelt's Law of Task Planning) Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.


35. (de Saint-Exupery's Law of Design) A designer knows that he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.


36. Any run-of-the-mill engineer can design something which is elegant. A good engineer designs systems to be efficient. A great engineer designs them to be effective.


37. (Henshaw's Law) One key to success in a mission is establishing clear lines of blame.


38. Capabilities drive requirements, regardless of what the systems engineering textbooks say.


39. Any exploration program which "just happens" to include a new launch vehicle is, de facto, a launch vehicle program.


39. (alternate formulation) The three keys to keeping a new manned space program affordable and on schedule:
1) No new launch vehicles.
2) No new launch vehicles.
3) Whatever you do, don't develop any new launch vehicles.


40. (McBryan's Law) You can't make it better until you make it work.


41. Space is a completely unforgiving environment. If you screw up the engineering, somebody dies (and there's no partial credit because most of the analysis was right...)


*Akin has been involved in spacecraft and space systems design and development for my entire career, including teaching the senior-level capstone spacecraft design course, for ten years at MIT and now at the University of Maryland for more than two decades. These are some bits of wisdom that Akin has gleaned during that time, some by picking up on the experience of others, but mostly by screwing up myself. Aki originally wrote these up and handed them out to his senior design class, as a strong hint on how best to survive his design experience. Months later, he gets a phone call from a friend in California complimenting me on the Laws, which he saw on a "joke-of-the-day" listserve. Since then, he's aware of half a dozen sites around the world that present various editions of the Laws, and even one site which has converted them (without attribution, of course) to the Laws of Certified Public Accounting. (Don't ask...) Anyone is welcome to link to these, use them, post them, send me suggestions of additional laws, but I do maintain that this is the canonical set of Akin's Laws...

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

THE STARTUP MANIFESTO How the next government shoul support digital startups in the UK

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Gut instincts: The secrets of your second brain

Gut instincts: The secrets of your second brain | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
When it comes to your moods, decisions and behaviour, the brain in your head is not the only one doing the thinking
IT’S been a tough morning. You were late for work, missed a crucial meeting and now...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

21 Habits of Happy People - Mind Openerz

21 Habits of Happy People - Mind Openerz | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
The following are 21 habits happy people make a habit of doing
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

The Pitch Deck That Helped A Startup Land $6 Million From The Founders Of Dropbox, Yelp, Box, Yammer, And Gmail

The Pitch Deck That Helped A Startup Land $6 Million From The Founders Of Dropbox, Yelp, Box, Yammer, And Gmail | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

Joshua Reeves is the CEO of a startup that raised a $6.1 million seed round from big Silicon Valley names.


His investors list reads as a who's who of Silicon Valley:

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, Yammer CEO David Sacks, Box CEO Aaron Levie, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, SurgarCRM CEO Larry Augustin, Zuora CEO and former Salesforce CMO Tien Tzou, Facebook VP of Partnerships Dan Rose, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, and more ...


Reeves is also an angel investor himself.

Reeves' new company is called ZenPayroll, a cloud-based payments tool that makes it easier for small businesses to pay employees. We asked him how he got such a rock star lineup to invest in ZenPayroll.


Reeves says it took him two weeks to raise the $6.1 million round. Each day was packed with eight or nine meetings. He started the process by reaching out to people he knew. It helped that he was going through Y Combinator, a notable startup accelerator program that has a strong alumni network. Reeves also had connections from Stanford, where he got his electrical engineering degree, and from Zazzle, a startup he joined as an early employee that now has hundreds of people.


Aaron Levie, for example, was a prior contact. Box's office used to be right next door to Zazzle's. Levie invested in a company called Karma; now Karma's CEO is one of Reeves' investors. Reeves also met Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman through Levie.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Klipfolio | The Web and Mobile KPI Dashboard

Klipfolio | The Web and Mobile KPI Dashboard | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
Klipfolio is a real time KPI dashboard that is cloud-hosted, web and mobile accessible, and always online when you need it.
himanshi lamba 1's comment, September 6, 2016 3:19 AM
Actiknow is the market leader providing services like Business Intelligence, BI Consulting, etc to top most industries. To request a free demo visit: http://www.actiknow.com/klipfolio-2/
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Great talk by Doc Searls: User-driven Democracy, eCommerce, Markets

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running Your Business | TechCrunch

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running Your Business | TechCrunch | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and several-times entrepreneur. His latest book, “Choose Yourself!” (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter) came out on June 3. Follow him on Twitter @jaltucher.


This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. No joke. If you’re a lawyer, feel free to disagree with me, so you can charge someone your BS fees to give the same advice. If you can think of anything to add, please do so. I might be missing things. If you want to argue with me, feel free. I might be wrong on any of the items below.


There are many types of business. Depending on your business, some of these won’t apply. All of these questions come from questions I’ve been asked


The rules are: I’m going to give no explanations. Just listen to me.

Rutger van Zuidam's insight:

Great list!

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

6 Inspiring Websites That Teach You To Code

6 Inspiring Websites That Teach You To Code | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
If you've always had a desire to build your own apps or create your own websites, then you can begin your coding education with nothing more than a browser, an internet connection, and some spare time. Here we've picked out six of the best resources currently available online.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Why it’s so hard for us — and boards — to plan ahead

Why it’s so hard for us — and boards — to plan ahead | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

“Stargazing” is a fundamental role of the board. 

“What are we going to be in 10 years?” It is one of the most challenging questions that any organisation can ask itself. It’s also one of the hardest.

You’ve heard plenty of simple, yet meaningless, platitudes in response. “We are forward-thinking” or “We’re going to be the biggest player in our sector”, but if organisations or companies really want to be successful in the years to come, their executives and boards need to put some real work into answering the question.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. With the constant drumbeat and pressures of quarterly reporting, fighting daily fires and meeting short-term targets, it is hard for executives to think beyond the here-and-now. Thinking five years ahead is a real challenge in that context; 10 years feels like an eternity.

Thinking five years away is a real challenge, and 10 years feels like an eternity. 

One good place to start the discussion about the future is the boardroom. “Stargazing” is a fundamental role of the board. Developing strategy and taking the time to do blue sky thinking is one of the most valuable things a board can do.


No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Google's Eric Schmidt has these 9 rules for emailing

Google's Eric Schmidt has these 9 rules for emailing | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
In a new book out this week chock full of Google-flavored business wisdom, How Google Works, Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg share nine insightful rules for emailing (or gmailing!) like a professional.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes : zenhabits

Original: http://zenhabits.net/bs/


The mind is a wonderful thing. It’s also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives.


Scumbag mind.


I’ve had to learn to watch these rationalizations and excuses very carefully, in order to make the changes I’ve made in my life: a healthier diet, regular exercise, meditation, minimalism, writing daily, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and so on.


If I hadn’t learned these excuses, and how to counter them, I would never have stuck to these changes. In fact, I failed many times before 2005 (when I started changing my life), because these excuses had complete power over me.


Let’s expose the cowardly mind’s excuses and rationalizations once and for all.


First, the main principle: the mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.


OK, with that in mind, let’s go into the excuses:

I can’t do it. It seems too hard, so we think we can’t stick to the change. We don’t believe in ourselves. This can be countered from the fact that many other people no more capable than us have done it. For example, Oprah ran a marathon a little before I started training for my first marathon, and so I told myself, “If Oprah can do it, so can I!” I was right.He/she can do it, but that doesn’t apply to me. Just because someone else can do it, doesn’t mean we can, right? We look for reasons they can do it but we can’t — maybe he can be a minimalist because he has no kids, or is a freelancer rather than someone with a real job. Maybe she’s way, way fitter than I am, so she can run a marathon. Maybe she doesn’t have all the obligations I have, or has a supportive spouse, or doesn’t have a crippling health condition. OK, fine, it’s easy to find excuses: but look at all the other people who have worse obstacles than you who’ve done it. I have 6 kids and still managed to change a lot of things in my life. Stories abound of people with disabilities or illnesses who overcame their obstacles to achieve amazing things. Your obstacles can be overcome.I need my ___. Fill in the blank: I need my coffee, my cheese, my soda, my TV shows, my car, my shoe collection … these are things we convince ourselves we can’t live without, so we can’t make a change like becoming vegan or eating healthier or unschooling our kids or simplifying our lives or going car-free. And I’ve made these excuses myself, but they all turned out to be lies. I didn’t need any of that. The only things you really need are basic food, water, clothing, shelter, and other people for social needs. Everything else is not a real need.Life is meant to be enjoyed. Sure, I agree with this statement (as many of us would) but the problem is this is used to justify all kinds of crappy behavior. Might as well scarf down those Doritos and Twinkies, because hey, life is meant to be enjoyed, right? No. You can do without junk food and still enjoy life. You can exercise and enjoy it. You can give up pretty much anything and still enjoy life, if you learn to see almost any activity as enjoyable.I need comfort. This might also be true, but we can push ourselves into more discomfort than we let ourselves believe. We can be a bit cold, instead of needing to be at the perfect comfortable temperature. We can do hard exercise, instead of needing to lay around on the couch. We can write that thing we’ve been procrastinating on — it might be hard, but we can push through that. When our minds seek comfort, don’t let them run — push a little bit outside the comfort zone, and begin to be OK with a bit of discomfort.I don’t know how. This is also true, but you can learn. Start with a little at a time, and learn how to deal with this new change. Do some research online. Watch some videos. Ask people online how they dealt with it. This is easily overcome with a little effort and practice. In fact, if you do it now, and learn a little at a time, then you’ll be able to do away with this pesky excuse.I can do it later. Sure, you can always do it later … but your later self will also feel the same way. Why should the later self be more disciplinedthan your current self? In fact, because you’re allowing yourself to slide now, you’re building a habit of procrastination and actually making isless likely that your future self will be more disciplined. Instead, do it now, unless there’s something more important that you need to do … don’t let yourself slide just because you don’t feel like it.One time won’t hurt. This is so tempting, because it’s kind of true — one time won’t hurt. Assuming, that is, that it’s only one time. One bite of chocolate cake, one missed workout, one time procrastinating instead of writing. Unfortunately, it’s never actually just one time. One time means your brain now knows it can get away with this excuse, and the next “one time” leads to another, until you’re not actually sticking to something. Make a rule: never ever believe the “one time” excuse. I did this with smoking (“Not One Puff Ever”) and it worked. If you’re going to allow yourself a bite or two of chocolate cake, decide beforehand and build it into your plan (“I will allow myself a fist-sized serving of sweets once every weekend”) and stick to that plan, rather than deciding on the fly, when your resistance is weak.I don’t feel like it. Well, true. You don’t feel like working hard. Who does? Letting the rule of “I’ll do it when feel like it” dictate your life means you’ll never write that book, never build that business, never create anything great, never have healthy habits. Create a plan that’s doable, and execute it. When the rationalizations like this come up, don’t believe them. Everyone is capable of doing a hard workout even when they’re not in the mood. Everyone can overcome their internal resistance.I’m tired. Yep, me too. I still did my heavy squat workout today. There is truth to needing rest, and resting when you need it (listen to your body) but this is usually the mind trying to weasel out of something uncomfortable. There’s a difference between being exhausted and needing some rest, and being the little tired we all feel every afternoon. Push through the latter.I deserve a reward/break. We all deserve that tasty treat, or a day off. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give yourself a reward or break. But if you make this rationalization your rule,Wouldn’t it be nice to stop? This again is our mind wanting to run from discomfort, and of course it’s true — it would be nice to stop if you’re pushing into a discomfort zone for too long. The thing is, the implication is that it would be better to stop, because it would be nice … but that’s a lie. It would be easier to stop, but often it’s better to continue pushing. This excuse almost beat me when I tried to run my 50-mile ultramarathon last December, because honestly it would have been much nicer to stop and not finish the race, especially in the last 10 miles or so. I pushed through, and found out I was tougher than I thought.The result you’re going for isn’t important. If you’re trying to run a marathon, this is phrased like, “It’s not that important that I finish this”. I’ve used this excuse for learning languages (it doesn’t matter if I learn this) or programming or any number of things I wanted to learn. I’ve used it for writing and exercise and eating healthy food. And while the result might not be that important, the truth is that the process is very important. If you stick with a process that will be better for you in the long run, then you will be better off. But if you let yourself go just because you are uncomfortable and at this moment care more for your comfort than the goal you set out for, you’ll have lots of problems. The goal isn’t important, but learning to stick to things when you’re uncomfortable is extremely important.I’m afraid. Now, this is the most honest excuse there is — most of us don’t want to admit we’re afraid to pursue something difficult. But it’s also a weaselly way out of discomfort — just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you can’t do something. You can. I’ve done tons of things I’m afraid of — mostly creating things that I was worried I’d fail at. And while the fear sometimes came true — I didn’t do too well sometimes — the act of pushing through the fear was incredibly important and I learned a lot each time.

I’ve used all of these excuses hundreds of times each, so don’t think I’ve overcome them all. And you can use them in the future too. There’s nothing wrong with giving in sometimes.

The key is to learn whether they’re true, and see your pattern. Here’s what I’ve done:

Notice the excuse. It has way more power if it works on you in the background.Try to have an answer for the excuse beforehand — anticipate it.If you give in, that’s OK, but recognize that you’re giving in to a lame excuse. Be aware of what you’re doing.After giving in, see what the results are. Are you happier? Is your life better? Was it worth it giving in to discomfort?Learn from those results. If you pushed through and are happy about it, remember that. If you gave in to excuses, and didn’t like the result, remember that.

If you consciously practice this process, you’ll get better at recognizing and not believing these lies. And then, bam, you’ve got your mind working for you instead of against you.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

The top 10 customer relationship management services

The top 10 customer relationship management services | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
We've put together this top 10 index of CRM services that are innovative, accessible, and validated by the market.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Interesting talk by: Peter Thiel on evolution and implications of determinate to indeterminate thinking in our society

Discourse and action in our society are increasingly dominated by the idea that the world cannot be known. But to what degree is success in this world dominated by luck? How much of our lives can be planned for, and can the future be achieved in a world dominated by indeterminate thinking? 

In an hour, we’ll look at the evolution of determinate to indeterminate thinking in our society, and we’ll consider its many implications.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Startup stages: a comparison of 3 models

Startup stages: a comparison of 3 models | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it
A quick look at three popular models of startup stages: Steve Blank's Customer Developmental Model, Startup Genome's Marmer Stages, and funding stages, which VCs often talk about.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

Vinod Khosla: 70-80% Of VCs Add Negative Value To Startups | TechCrunch

Vinod Khosla: 70-80% Of VCs Add Negative Value To Startups | TechCrunch | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

Vinod Khosla, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems who later went on to create Khosla Ventures, says that the vast majority of VCs aren’t in a position to offer decent advice to startups.

In fact, most of them probably hurt startups, he argued.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington prodded Khosla to single out VCs that were horrible on boards.

“Who is the VC who is the most full of shit that you’ve ever heard?” Arrington asked.

“I would be offending too many people,” Khosla retorted. “Maybe some percentage that’s substantially larger than 95 percent of VCs add zero value. I would bet that 70-80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.”

He said that most VCs “haven’t done shit” to know what to tell startups going through difficult times.

“I don’t know a startup that hasn’t been through tough times,” he said.

He said that founders should listen politely and just do what they want to do anyway.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Rutger van Zuidam

The API-economy is coming and fast

The API-economy is coming and fast | Enterpreneurship | Scoop.it

In little more than a decade, application programming interfaces (APIs) have transitioned from relative obscurity to become the “digital glue” that empowers developers to create new software applications, partnerships and even new businesses. This business-to-developer (B2D) market is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing opportunities within cloud computing, and one we’re particularly excited about at Bessemer Venture Partners.


An API is a specification (think of it like a contract) for how two pieces of software talk to each other and exchange data. Web 2.0 companies were the first to recognize APIs, historically used by developers to help teams work without stepping on each other’s toes, as products to be shared with — and sold to — customers and partners. In just a few short years, APIs have become a crucial channel, attracting customers with the ability to extend products, helping partners deliver the value they promised, and growing the ecosystem as a whole.

In today’s world, having a strong API strategy isn’t just good software practice; it’s a powerful business practice. Amazon has built a multibillion dollar revenue business in Amazon Web Services (AWS), leveraging powerful API-based elements such as EC2. Google Maps would be a much smaller business if the only access was through its website directly. Twitter has opened up an entire class of businesses and analytical modules by sharing its data API and platform. Even Salesforce.com, with over 800,000 developers and more than 2.5 million applications on the Force.com platform, proudly states that API calls drive more than 60 percent of total traffic to the site.

No comment yet.