It is not easy. It may well not be the right path for you. If you choose to do a startup make sure you know the risks and you are doing it for the right reasons.
Build something you care about. Build something that makes peoples lives better. Build something that will motivate you against all odds.
Embrace serendipity. Grab all the opportunities you can, work harder than you have ever worked, make your own luck but do look after yourself first. Eat right, sleep decent hours and try to get as much of a work / life balance as you can.
“In improvisational acting there is this great rule that I’ve used in my life: ‘Act As If’. Act as if this is completely normal. Of course I’m supposed to be interviewing Barack Obama. Of course I’m supposed to be playing guitar with Bruce Springsteen and of course there’s a big part of me inside that’s saying: ‘What are you talking about?’”—
As creators and doers our most important resource isn’t talent or creativity but clarity. Faced with endless ideas and opportunity the real challenge is to find a way to push past the static and noise to focus on one thing.
Once you find clarity in what you are creating for, filtering through ideas becomes a simple exercise. What is the one problem you want to create a solution for?
I should mention one sort of initial tactic that usually doesn’t work: the Big Launch. I occasionally meet founders who seem to believe startups are projectiles rather than powered aircraft, and that they’ll make it big if and only if they’re launched with sufficient initial velocity. They want to launch simultaneously in 8 different publications, with embargoes. And on a tuesday, of course, since they read somewhere that’s the optimum day to launch something.
It’s easy to see how little launches matter. Think of some successful startups. How many of their launches do you remember? All you need from a launch is some initial core of users. How well you’re doing a few months later will depend more on how happy you made those users than how many there were of them.
100% agree. I’m still surprised how few entrepreneurs realize this despite the proof being everywhere you look. I get that you worked really hard on something for months (if not years) on end and you want to see (and want for your team to see) your startup’s name in lights. But it’s so much better when those lights are shined on a star, not an actor in an audition.
Very, very few startups are star-level right out of the gate. Use that time with less of the spotlight to your advantage. Learn how to become the star. Then the spotlight will find you.
RSS represents the antithesis of this new world: it’s completely open, decentralized, and owned by nobody, just like the web itself. It allows anyone, large or small, to build something new and disrupt anyone else they’d like because nobody has to fly six salespeople out first to work out a partnership with anyone else’s salespeople.
That world formed the web’s foundations — without that world to build on, Google, Facebook, and Twitter couldn’t exist. But they’ve now grown so large that everything from that web-native world is now a threat to them, and they want to shut it down. “Sunset” it. “Clean it up.” “Retire” it. Get it out of the way so they can get even bigger and build even bigger proprietary barriers to anyone trying to claim their territory.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”—Robert A. Heinlein, quote from Bobby McKenna’s talk at Valio Con 2013
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In theory, what you do first is give your users or your customers something new to play with. They get familiar with it and they start to develop patterns around it. You learn about how those patterns are working and you learn about the things that, if it is an interface change, what are they experiencing in the new interface? How is the usability? What do they like? What don’t they like?
We take it over the course for a few days, because on day one, change is always hard. But after a few days, users start to get use to their new surroundings—and then you take those new surroundings away from them. On that last day, we consider that the actual deprivation study: You are putting the old thing that they were used to back in front of them. Then you measure the emotion around those three days of changes. Are they disappointed to have the old thing? Do they miss the new thing?
I want to introduce you to your brother from another mother—another group of humans that, like you, is quite under-appreciated: the type designer. Type designers and web designers have an amazing amount in common, that’s why it’s super wonderful that they’ve been collaborating more lately. Web designers are pumped that they can use more than a handful of fonts on the internet, and type designers are pumped that this new group of people using their fonts actually know how to use computers.
A wonderfully thorough and helpful guide to type design targeted towards web designers by Jessica Hische.
David always obsessed over his newest ideas, features, and designs until they were completely polished and ready to go. He’s a workaholic — he truly lives and breathes Tumblr. I’ve never even seen him show any desire to work on a side project. David is all Tumblr, all the time. […]
We — internet users, creative people, publishers, socializers — will be much better served if David can focus on his product’s features, design, and messaging instead of worrying about server architecture and raising more money.
This is why I’m optimistic about the Yahoo acquisition.
Marco Arment skillfully articulates the early days of Tumblr and David Karp’s unrelenting focus on Tumblr. Tumblr has very bright days ahead.
Profit is an enabler. It’s usually (not always) an indicator that you’re doing something that your customers really need, at a price point that makes sense. Profit gives an organization the ability to iterate faster, reach more people and beat subpar competitors. And most importantly, stay in business.
Entrepreneurs: Don’t listen to the “must be not-for-profit if you want to change the World” bullshit. The folks who figure out how to build a truly profitable and lasting company will be the ones that really change the World.
We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing.
So what’s new? Simply, Tumblr gets better faster. The work ahead of us remains the same – and we still have a long way to go! – but with more resources to draw from.
“We speak of three kinds of laziness. The first is simply to spend all your time eating and sleeping. The second is to tell yourself, “Someone like me will never manage to perfect themselves.” In the Buddhist context, such laziness makes you feel that it’s pointless even trying, you’ll never attain any spiritual realization. Discouragement makes you prefer not even to begin making any effort. And the third kind… is to waste your life on tasks of secondary importance, without ever getting down to what’s most essential. You spend all your time trying to resolve minor problems, one after another in an endless sequence, like ripples on the surface of a lake. You tell yourself that once you’ve finished this or that project you’ll start giving some meaning to your life.”—
Matthieu Ricard, in his book of conversations with his philosopher father, “The Monk and the Philosopher”
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”—Ernest Hemingway, on the paralysis that often comes when stopping and restarting projects.