#73 Trust that the dots will somehow connect somehow
Some intuitive and some counterintuitive lessons
You need two kinds of folks in a founding team - those who can ask great questions and those who can find great answers. If you're lucky, you may find someone who is good at both. Those are of a rare kind.
Most other folks may be good at only one or none of these. You can still do great by doing the right hiring. You need to focus on two aspects about these skills of asking questions or finding answers:
1. Your assessment of the person's skills should match the candidate's self assessment.
2. You should map roles & job responsibility in clear alignment with that skill set.
You should not focus on only the functional area of expertise at this stage. The role each person can play in a found team will extend much beyond their function.
Any hire that fails to meet the above criteria risks creating a lot of overhead for you & the rest of the team. The worst kind of hire are those who are not aware of their strength and end up playing an opposite role. In most cases, this could happen due to lack of awareness. For the rarer cases where someone does it knowingly, you are better off getting the person out of your team.
What do you think?
1. Measuring cohort retention
Olga Berezovsky wrote a guest post titled “How to measure cohort retention” for Lenny’s newsletter. She has focused on the fundamentals. She has also made some callouts around challenges in measuring & presenting it. Very insightful post, one more gem from Lenny’s newsletter.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the key takeaways from the post:
2. The perfect toy
If you’ve even a slight interest and involvement in kids’ toys then Matthew Braga’s piece is going to be an interesting read for you. I really enjoyed it. It’s aptly titled “How do you make the perfect toy?” and tries to debunk the magic formulae behind the toys that have garnered love across generations.
This snippet does a fairly good job in summarizing the key premise:
The study consistently found that construction toys (like Lego or Tinkertoy) and replica toys (fire trucks, stuffed animals, and dolls) produced the most imaginative and creative play. The less restrictive and more flexible the toy, the better. In one example, the researchers found that a wooden cash register encouraged children to talk about buying and selling items, whereas an electronic one with lights and sounds encouraged them to press buttons instead—more entertainment than engagement. “The more open ended a toy is, the more room there is for children to make it anything they want [it] to be,” says DeLapp. “The beauty of simple toys is that they don’t do anything for a child. And so it’s up to the child to figure out what to do.”
The article talks of many more fascinating aspects about the toy industry and its dynamics. Surely worth a read!
[via FF Daily newsletter]
3. Good-argument-driven vs data-driven
There’s nothing wrong with a fondness for data. The trouble begins when you begin to favor bad arguments that involve data over good arguments that don’t, or insist that metrics be introduced in realms where data can’t realistically be the foundation of a good argument.
That’s the premise of Richard Marmorstein’ post - “Be good-argument-driven, not data-driven”. He wrote this with engineers in mind, but his ideas & recommendations are universal. The following chart captures the core of his argument.
[via - Startupy newsletter]
4. Infrequently Asked Questions
Jessica Hagy’s post - “Ten infrequently asked questions” is a short read, but gives a lot of good food for thought. She has a unique style of using charts to visualize the idea. Simple yet effective!
Sample this from the post:
Her twitter feed is filled with more gems like this, and is worth a follow.
[via - Janel’s Brianpint newsletter]
5. Paying for outcomes
You have probably heard about Picasso’s napkin story. This post covering iconic typography designer Paula Scher talking about her process has a similar lesson. Here’s a quick snapshot from the post.
A very interesting conversation in just 7 minutes, worth checking out.
[via - FS Blog’s Brain Food newsletter]
6. Are Ivy League colleges overrated?
“Don’t send your kid to the Ivy League” - this post put me in a mix. I studied in one such place in India and I can relate to many of the observations. I’ve also seen and done the brainless chase to do some ‘glorious’ end goals. But, that’s not just it. For a lot of us, this was the first time we saw failure. I saw crazy dedication to change an end goal. I saw ruthless competition to win the ultimate goal. It changed the trajectory of my career and my life. If not there, I would have missed experiencing many of these in my life.
The recommendations in this post are fair but are not the only solution, I must say.
[via - FS Blog’s Brain Food newsletter]
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
An audio/visual story exploring the sounds of Mexico City’s streets. Simply brilliant stuff from The Pudding (via Refind).
Some mind blowing photos taken using a drone. (via John Suder)
Steve Jobs Archive, in case you have not checked it yet. Lots of goodness in one place.
More monkeys and bananas in an organization - a short anecdote on how organizational culture is formed and a culture change resisted! (via Stoa newsletter)
Notes from a rookie doodler - in case you want to get started. (via FoundingFuel newsletter)
Tons of good insight on how to make impactful slide decks. (via Refind)
Elspeth McLean (@elspethmclean) creates the most beautiful and colorful art on stones.
Before we sign off, here is a very useful post from Sketchplanations on privacy. I had never thought about it this way, I am sure you will be surprised as well.
That's all for this week, folks!
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