“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” – Og Mandino
In a startup you are constantly balancing various levels of thinking/work. Buster Benson outlined what he believes the breakdown of these to be in a blog post here. I haven’t decided yet whether I completely agree with his categories, but I definitely agree with the idea of different types of thought you need to engage in to be effective.
One of the pitfalls which you can fall into as a startup founder is to get lost in the day to day work. There will always be support tickets to answer, feature requests to build, bugs to fix, social media to respond to; basically you don’t need to worry about there being sufficient work to keep you busy. It can be very easy to come into work each day and ‘work’, and feel like you’re doing your job. If you were an employee you’d probably be right, but as a founder you need to make sure that you are continuing to view the big picture and steer the boat.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire
In school we are taught the concept of the ‘5 W’s’ , ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, when’, and ‘why’. In theory these questions should be sufficient to collect the information you need to explain whatever you’re investigating to others.
The problem with this concept is that it groups four very straightforward questions ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, with one very subjective and elusive question; ‘why?’. ‘Why’ is an incredibly powerful question because it forces us to evaluate the purpose or cause of something. For example, why are you reading this article? Chances are there is a convenient answer that could be used (‘I saw the link on facebook’), but in reality there are many answers required if we are looking for understanding.