It’s been one week sine you looked at me, cocked your head to the side and said I’m angry…oops, wrong intro. Let’s try that again… It’s been one week since I wrote my very personal, very intimate blog post: I Don’t Need God. I’ve had more calls, messages, and emails than I ever thought it would garner, but all-in-all I appreciate your opinions and intend to respond to many of those messages this week. Sorry for the late response, but big things are afoot and I needed to attend to them first.
Since my post, I haven’t really put myself in a situation to be tested…until Friday tonight. Why put myself in that situation at all? Well, because I really enjoy going out, meeting people, and making memories. I decided that I would just stop getting drunk when I go out since I saw a seemingly direct correlation between nights I get wasted and nights I regretted. Turns out, it’s not the drinking… Read more
The goal of this post is to provide some very general guidelines to determine what good advice looks like. Feel free to read the whole post, but I like when people get to the point early so here it is: Good advice is relevant, actionable, and timely.
I learned a lot through the development, fundraising, and sale of Chick Approved. We did a lot of things wrong, but we also did a lot of things right. Every startup is so different and their goals vary so widely that I’m not going to attempt to make a bulleted list of tasks you should check off to be successful (besides most of those are more bullshitted than bulleted). Though, as I’m working through new projects I can guarantee that I’ll come across similar obstacles, be reminded of a lesson learned, and share it with you.
It seems fitting that my first bit of advice is not to blindly follow my advice or even assume I’m anywhere close to being right
Be opinionated, but listen
I’m an opinionated person. I feel very strongly about almost any topic I’m aware of. One of my opinions is that I’m always right, despite the fact that I’m wrong a lot. Some people say I’m confident, others cocky, and others still, pigheaded. Whatever, it works for me. If I thought it was a bad thing I would make an effort to change, but I don’t. Here’s why: it’s hard to convince me of something, but if you do, I’m sold 100%. In my opinion (yes another one), it’s ok to be stubborn as long as you’re not closed to others’ opinions. Basically, be open minded. (I’ll do another post on being open minded because so many people throw it out there without knowing what it means. Kinda like buzz words in tech pitches.)
The Litmus Test: What constitutes good advice?
“Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” – The Deal Pool
I’m constantly seeking advice from people I like, trust, and respect. I’ve received more good advice than I can remember or truly appreciate. Like everyone, I’ve also received a ton of bad advice. To make my inquisitive efforts more fruitful, I developed a quick test to tell whether the advice I’m receiving is worthwhile: Good advice is relevant, actionable, and timely. If you ask for advice on X and you’re getting a story about Y, it’s not relevant. If you don’t walk away with a mental todo list, the advice is not actionable. Finally, if you’re asking for advice on a current matter and receiving criticism or advice on a previous issue, the advice is not timely. If you want to see exponential gains from the advice you receive, make sure it passes this test: relevant, actionable, and timely. Hopefully my litmus test passes itself. (I’m a nerd, so all I can think of right now is recursion.)
5 things to remember while keeping an open mind to others’ advice:
It’s just one person’s opinion, they have a completely different paradigm than anyone else you’ll talk to. Talk to multiple people.
No one understands your problem, vision, or idea like you do. It’s up to you to make them understand.
In an effort to be helpful, people will always try to steer the conversation towards something they know about. That doesn’t make it relevant or useful. Keep the conversation focused on the matter at hand.
If you didn’t ask for advice, why are you still listening?
Don’t make quick decisions if you can avoid it. Give your mind at least a good night’s sleep to let everything sink in.
Make sure the advice you’re receiving is relevant, actionable, and timely. Take everything into consideration. Then ultimately go with your gut instinct.
I just read this article on “Why the Freemium Model Doesn’t Work“, and while he makes some good points, he wraps up the article by saying “The reality is, the freemium model doesn’t work for the majority of companies who try it.” No shit Sherlock! The reality is, no model works for the majority of companies who try anything. The majority of companies fail within 5 years.1
The 4th Type of Freemium
In his examples of successful freemium models he mentions Evernote, Dropbox, and Spotify. He also suggests that fremium models are limited to only 3 scenarios, egregiously missing my favorite type of freemium: pay for additional features. Read more
I was thinking of titling this post “What it feels like to give up and still win” or something like that. Then I thought about some clever title about perseverance and how we saw value where no one else did, which would be true. But in the end it’s better to give credit where credit is due; so there you have it: How Pinterest Changed My Life.
My last company, Chick Approved, was just officially acquired by Seattle-based Lockerz, Inc…and it feels great! You can read allaboutit, but that’s just the inspiration for the post and really beside the point.
So what is the point?
The point is: I’m not sure we deserve it.
We built a great product, had 2 people on full time managing the community and our ambassador program, and I spent just about every weekend for the better part of a year working my ass off iterating and iterating on the product. So why don’t I deserve it? Read more
So, a press release came out this morning on a couple different sites (links below) featuring The Telegraph’s foray into tablet advertising. I developed the touch-enabled advertising framework used to build the Mission Impossible 4 ad and serve it on The Telegraph. (Note: I built it, but the concept was this guy’s.)
I didn’t make any extra money off the ad. I don’t own the framework. Basically, none of my normal reasons for excitement apply here, but it’s still cool because people are using it. For a product that’s not mine, I feel an unusual amount of accomplishment and validation. I bet it’s kinda like giving a baby up for adoption and meeting them again a few years later. They’re not technically your child, but you still brought them into the world and there’s a certain amount of love still lingering.
So, why should you build something?
It feels good
Like I was saying above, I’m feeling really good as I write this post. It feels good to be recognized, if only by a few close friends. You should build something because no one will ever recognize you for something you never did. It feels good to finish something, you know Read more