#36 If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello
Valuable lessons for the entrepreneurial you
James Clear shared an interesting anecdote in his book Atomic Habit:
“I have a friend who lost over 100 pounds by asking herself, “What would a healthy person do?” All day long, she would use this question as a guide. Would a healthy person walk or take a cab? Would a healthy person order a burrito or a salad? She figured if she acted like a healthy person long enough, eventually she would become that person. She was right.”
Success leaves clues. Our earnest intentions & curiosity can help us discover them. (h/t Benny's newsletter)
We have a lot of interesting things to learn today, so let's dive right away.
First-round shares some of the most insightful interviews & essays on all things startups. Leadership, product thinking, customer experience, hiring, onboarding, marketing, finance - the whole shebang. Their 2021 review is a must-read if you're even remotely in startup mode. It's aptly titled “The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2021”. Read it for the best of already top-notch content curation that they published throughout the year.
Lawrence Yeo makes a compelling argument in favour of taking the leap. He starts with his objecting to how we position any such action in the popular narrative...
Oftentimes, taking the leap is framed as an irrational thing to do – something that plays more to the emotions than to reason. This is why when someone takes the leap in a professional setting, we dub this phenomenon as “following your passion” instead of “following your rationality.”
In his signature storytelling way, he goes on to challenge this with this core argument...
While you can easily predict the concerns of making any leap, there is no way to predict the numerous rewards that await you on the other side.
As long as that chief concern is one you think you can manage, the most rational thing to do is to actually make the jump. By not making that leap, you are voting to give up all unimaginable future rewards for a single concern you can predict and prepare for today.
And thus, taking the leap is actually the right logical approach. As he clearly points out, this applies to every kind of leap - career or otherwise. Here're his closing remarks to re-iterate his complete message.
Taking the leap is not some irrational act that is driven by the passions. When you understand the asymmetrical nature of manageable concerns vs. unimaginable benefits, taking the leap is no longer an emotional jump, but a logical next step toward the life you want to lead.
David Perell is an idea factory. His mannerism oozes curiosity. He is not commenting on the popular news cycle, but ideas & thoughts that have been there for a long. His essays and posts have a certain sharpness that encourages further thinking.
So, when he curated a Twitter thread with 21 ideas from 2021, I had to upgrade it to the main section of the newsletter. I find the below 3 ideas most relevant & impactful.
Make One Person Responsible: If you want to get something done, it’s tempting to put a huge number of people in charge. But often, when too many people are in charge, nobody accepts responsibility. This saying is illustrative: “A dog with two owners dies of hunger.”
The Knife Theory of Hiring: When you first start a company, you need Swiss Army Knife people who can do a little bit of everything. Once your company gets big, you need a bunch of kitchen knife people who do one thing very, very well.
Nullius in Verba: This is Royal Society’s old motto. It translates to “take no one’s word for it.” Be curious. Figure things out for yourself. Move through the world with a posture of productive skepticism and when it comes to truth, do your own investigations.
Deb Liu and Boz recently wrote about “being plainspoken”. This was one of the values that they had defined for their Ads & Business platform team at Facebook. And as they say, even after years, this remains to be the most remembered & important value for them. Here’s how Deb defined this concept...
Being plainspoken is speaking the truth from a place of care and authenticity. It accounts for what is heard, not just what is said. It is about the listener, not the speaker.
She further talks about environments that can encourage such behaviour...
Making plainspokenness common practice requires providing a sense of psychological safety, without fear of blowback. If your company incentivizes speaking in riddles, or with a polite “yes” when you actually mean “no”, then that is what you will get more of. If, on the other hand, you encourage dealing with issues directly and speaking the truth with clarity, that will become the cultural norm. Most people don’t hide the truth because they have bad intentions, but rather because they have been trained to believe that this is the better path. They are worried that bad news will cause them to be judged harshly or that senior leaders will be disappointed or upset.
Finally, she gives some suggestions on how to acquire the skill of being plainspoken...
Source: Deb Liu’s post
The UX on this small child is terrible - if this headline does not excite you, then you might as well not click further. This post is like a specially curated standup act for a product design team offsite. Very nerdy, yet very cool. Here's a glimpse if you want to sample it a bit:
This Small Child has no clear sense of hierarchy in either the visual or navigational sense. When it comes to troubleshooting, it is nearly impossible to find the information you need quickly. For example, last night the Small Child stood emitting a high-pitched scream in her bedroom. I tried to quickly arrive at a solution in a natural, organic way. Is the Small Child in pain? Is the Small Child hungry? It took more than twenty earsplitting minutes to learn the Small Child was angry that Flappy the Elephant didn’t pick her up from school. I explained that Flappy is seven inches tall and has no central nervous system, but the Small Child was inconsolable.
There's more to where it came from. Check out their best of 2021 curation, I had some good laughs reading these. The jokes are subtle and the language very punny.
Some random goodness from the internet:
Web: Street art takes so many different forms. Each artist, country, region has its own style. I wonder every time what story are they conveying? If you too, you can check some amazing work here from across the world.
Instagram: Tatsuya Tanaka (@tanaka_tatsuya) creates beautiful miniatures out of food and household items.
Youtube: Nigel Ng (better known for his Uncle Roger videos on youtube) featured in the Rest of the World's list of 6 global creators who broke through in 2021. He is funny and has got distinctive comic timing. Guess who else featured in this list? Khaby Lame (@khaby00), we met him in an earlier post last year. Their content is addictive, visit their pages at your own risk.
Short reads: Fishing line encircles Manhattan, protecting the sanctity of Sabbath (religion can get us to do anything!), Product lessons from the history of HBO (some good insights for content & entertainment business)
Before we sign off, here's a snapshot of a tweet worth saving. Sourabh articulated the nuance around ‘giving autonomy’ very well. I will recommend it to all managers (and not only first-time managers).
That's all for this week, folks!
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