In May 2014, Matt Berman was found dead. He was the third prominent entrepreneur in the Las Vegas startup scene to commit suicide within the last year and half. It is unfortunate that often such dramatic and sad events are necessary to open a dialogue, but I believe it’s important that we use such events to help us take pause and reflect.
“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.
“I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas.” – Albert Einstein
I used to competitively play the video game counter-strike. I did many things the same as everyone else, but I think I did one thing differently. I watched myself. I obsessively watched myself, reviewing the recordings of each of my matches, analyzing each move I made.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
I recently had the opportunity to help a friend work on her masters thesis on the topic of self-care among mental health professionals. What is self-care? Self-care is anything you do primarily for the benefit of your mental, physical, or spiritual health. Looking at this in the context of mental health professionals is interesting as the individuals are intimately familiar with the issues of psychological health, but it’s also interesting to think about what self-care means in the context of entrepreneurs.
“In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.” – Oscar Wilde
One of the determining factors in whether a business succeeds or not is the decisions made by those in control. I imagine there are cases where things hit such amazing alignment that the management of a business never had to make a tough decision, but I promise you that this is a rare condition. In most business the managers constantly need to make difficult decisions that have significant impact (what business model do we use? is this market worth going after? should we enter this parternership?). Given that these are decisions that need to make, how do they choose one path over another?
“Goals must never be from your ego, but problems that cry for a solution.” – Robert H. Schuller
I think one of the mistakes we tend to make as entrepreneurs is thinking that people care about us or our product significantly more than they do. We spend a lot of time fretting about what our customers will think if we make a certain change, what our friends will think if our business fails, and in general worrying about external perception.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde
One of the things I’ve struggled with since I started getting involved in technology startups is figuring out my strategy for staying up to date with technology news. This week I’ve been busy at MicroConf and travelling, and my google reader unread count right now is sitting at 1000+. If I spent 30 seconds to read each one of those posts, that would be over 8 hours straight of reading.
“An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.” – Law of Inertia
Often the hardest part of any project, whether it’s a new venture, a pet project, or just getting around to that spring cleaning is just getting started. We love to postpone, believing our future self will have the proper “gusto” or “gumption” to attack the challenge.