If this is your first time reading, I recommend you start with my 6-month challenge and table of contents of weekly posts for the past 16 weeks.
tl;dr This week was kind of slow. I got a little bit sick and wasn’t feeling very well half this week (probably from staying up too late the previous weeks) and was feeling very overwhelmed and slightly burned out with my own unrealistic expectations. I’m going to try to take a little breather.
Since I soft launched Cusoy last week, I’ve been feeling really burned out, not to mention getting sick, and wasn’t able to make good progress at all last week.
This is going to be a short and sweet post.
I. Do the best entrepreneurs blog?
II. The 20 Mile March
III. Next week and key lessons learned
In an essay I wrote a couple years ago I advised graduating seniors to work for a couple years for another company before starting their own. I’d modify that now. Work for another company if you want to, but only for a small one, and if you want to start your own startup, go ahead.
The reason I suggested college graduates not start startups immediately was that I felt most would fail. And they will. But ambitious programmers are better off doing their own thing and failing than going to work at a big company. Certainly they’ll learn more. They might even be better off financially. A lot of people in their early twenties get into debt, because their expenses grow even faster than the salary that seemed so high when they left school. At least if you start a startup and fail your net worth will be zero rather than negative.
We’ve now funded so many different types of founders that we have enough data to see patterns, and there seems to be no benefit from working for a big company. The people who’ve worked for a few years do seem better than the ones straight out of college, but only because they’re that much older.
The people who come to us from big companies often seem kind of conservative. It’s hard to say how much is because big companies made them that way, and how much is the natural conservatism that made them work for the big companies in the first place. But certainly a large part of it is learned. I know because I’ve seen it burn off.
– Paul Graham, You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss
I. DO THE BEST ENTREPRENEURS BLOG?
There’s been extensive discussion of whether or not the best entrepreneurs blog, which Mark Birch nicely recaps in his blog post Successful Entrepreneurs Do Not Blog? which I agree with (emphasis is mine):
Sure, most CEO’s and entrepreneurs are too busy to blog. Often startup founders are heads down for months at a time delivering on product and close sales and building a company. There are plenty however that do have or could make the time. Some have even said as much to me. But they realize either explicitly or implicitly that their “blogging” may not be a good idea. At most, they may get a company blog or a regular column in some media outlet, but the content will be heavily scrubbed or even ghost written by the PR team. At that point, the words lose poignancy and authenticity. Their blogs and social media accounts are sanitized to remove any whiff of originality and personality.
And that is a shame. I see immense value in blogging as an executive or entrepreneur. For me, this is my “down time” in that it affords me the opportunity to think expansively on ideas or to think deeply on a topic. That means I cut out an hour of the day for a post, but it is well worth it. In the same way, it is important for folks to have dedicated “think time” and the exercise of writing lends itself naturally to that process. It unlocks ideas, it exposes insights, and it brings clarity, which are the type of mental exercises that become diminished when in the fever pitch of running a company.
The incredible and underrated value of reflection after your actions is another story for another time, but I just wanted to highlight that excerpt from Birch.
I’ve been consuming content too much lately in comparison to the work I’m doing and given the state of Cusoy, have ultimately decided to post every 2 weeks instead but will still give short weekly updates via email.
I also don’t feel like I have “as useful” tips to blog about now, at least, not as much as I did before. Now it’s a lot of grunt work and hard work, really. And a lot of mental turmoil, as you’ve seen, which I don’t think anyone really wants to read about (it probably comes off as whiny after awhile). I’ll probably reflect privately on those tough times since it’s so up and down all the time.
I think I’ve crossed the point where a lot of founders still struggle shipping their product, and now I’m headed towards the unknown abyss of everything afterwards. Probably doesn’t make for very exciting stuff to read since a lot of struggles and inconsequential things go on in the background… but I will try to post about the things that had the highest impact for me and help teach others.
Less emotional angst things, at least not publicly, since it’s highly embarrassing when I go back to read my posts later 😉 and more straightforward things I’ve learned and accomplished.
I’m also just going to be on a social media diet for the remainder of the next four months (remember, since I amended my challenge from 6 months to 8 months).
To refresh your memory, my goal is to get at least $1+ in revenue by March 15, 2014.
II. THE 20 MILE MARCH
You can Google this story, but I’m going to give a succinct version.
Here’s a very short and abridged story of the 20 mile march:
There are two teams of men going to the South Pole. One group’s philosophy is to travel on good weather days and as far as they possibly can on those days. Another group’s philosophy is 20 miles every day regardless of the weather, either bad or good.
The first group that only went on the good weather days didn’t even complete the trek and actually, unfortunately, ended up dead. The second group made it there and back on time, actually early, and came back alive and successful.
The moral here is to perform consistent action everyday vs. inconsistent short work bursts. It reflects the exact same lesson of the tortoise and the hare. Daily incremental progress over time, not burn out and crash. Not 8 hours a day. Just 60-90 minutes of intense action and highest leverage activities.
What’s the important takeaway from this, for me?
I am SO much like that first team just going full speed on fair-weather days and now I’ve crashed and burned. I struggle to stay consistent, and have several bad habits, such as consuming too much content on a daily basis vs. the value creation I perform for Cusoy each day, so that is something I want to change.
If you change your habits, you can change everything.
III. NEXT WEEK AND KEY LESSONS LEARNED
I’m going to 100% focus on Cusoy and amending my habits for maximum output (but still balance so I don’t get easily burned out like I did before).
I’ll also post twice a month rather than every week, but each post will contain updates per week. I will still email updates every week, however.
Key lessons learned:
- Stop consuming content you can’t immediately use today. Focus and don’t get distracted.
- Perform consistent action everyday versus inconsistent short work bursts. This is really, really tough because this gets down to fundamental mindsets and beliefs and habits, not something you can easily switch on or off.
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