Blog

Let’s bury the hussle

I love Gary Vaynerchuk dearly. So much of his message about patience and perseverance is completely in line with how I view the world. But I can’t take any more odes to “the hustle”. Like most banners, it either dies in obscurity or lives long enough to become perverted. In the early days, I chose to interpret “the hustle” as a way for those with very little to outsmart those with a lot through clever steps. Finding leverage where you had none. Doing things that weren’t supposed to scale or even work, and making it happen. But even if my

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The hidden costs of indecision

Geoffrey Keating: You might have have heard the story of Buridan’s Ass (no laughing down the back), the story of a donkey stuck between two identical stacks of hay. Because the donkey lacks any reason to choose one over the other, it cannot decide which one to eat, and so starves to death. Our setting isn’t the farmyard but the meeting room. Picture the following scene: eight people in a room endlessly debating over a whiteboard, weighing up one decision over the next, but with little sign of progress being made. Tough decisions take time. But if every single decision

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Before You Launch A Startup, Learn This

Nathan Kontny: My 2011 startup with Y Combinator imploded, largely because we couldn’t get enough traction. What was I going to do next? And more importantly, how was I going to avoid repeating my mistakes? [..] It’s happened for me. I went from that miserable failure of a startup to realizing I needed to get better at audience building before my next venture. And so I practiced my craft of writing and storytelling on my blog. One article a week. Tell a good story. Me or someone else figuring out some problem through some conflict. My audience grew. Source: https://m.signalvnoise.com/my-2011-startup-with-y-combinator-imploded-largely-because-we-couldnt-get-enough-traction-d900976d7bbc

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How To Build A More Candid Think Tank Culture At Work

When was the last time you got completely unfiltered feedback? Do you dread presenting your big projects to your team because you fear their harsh critique? With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to play it safe rather than to take a risk. The problem is, playing it safe leads to work that’s average at best. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Research into feedback abounds, and countless companies are stepping forward to share what works for them. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and the author of Creativity, Inc., introduced the concept

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Einstein’s Advice On How To Be Happy

As an entrepreneur, I know you are not in business just to make money. You’re also in business because you think it will make you happier. With this in mind, you may be interested in the following true story. Albert Einstein is known as one of the smartest guys in history. And one of the wisest. (They don’t always go together) In fact still today, decades after his death, his brilliant quotes about life appear worldwide. Source: http://siimonreynolds.com/einsteins-advice-happy/

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The right way to respond to feature requests

Even the best products with the most passionate users will have these “success gaps” – a disparity between your product and the user’s desired outcome. It’s easy to respond to these feature requests with a generic “Keep an eye on Twitter for updates” response or a pre-canned “We’ll pass your feedback onto the product team” message, but we’ve found that it’s valuable to mine these feature requests for deeper information so that you fully understand what the customer is trying to achieve. That way, you’ll be able to strike a balance between keeping customers happy and collecting valuable information that

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Excuses, excuses

Claire Lew: I was on the phone with a CEO the other week. He wanted my advice for how he could cultivate a more open, transparent company culture for his team. This CEO seemed to be already doing a lot of the right things. He held monthly all-hands meetings to get everyone on the same page. He also regularly asked questions to his employees about what could be better in the company. However, when I recommended one question that he ask his employees, he was a bit taken aback. “You want me to ask my team: ‘Are there any benefits

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Cracking the Code on Startup Product Pricing Strategies

If idea validation is about taking your business idea for a test-drive, then pricing your product is where the rubber really hits the road. This is it. You’re done piloting. You’re done validating. You’re really done living on Ramen in an apartment you share with five roommates. You’re ready to come out and tell the world: “I have a product or service that provides value – and this is how much my product is worth.” Needless to say, product pricing strategy is an essential piece of the startup puzzle – and it’s a notoriously tricky piece to get right. There

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Write like you talk

Nathan Kontny: A handful of years ago I was volunteering for an organization here in Chicago where we helped high school kids prepare for their college applications. These kids were the first in their families, often underprivileged, to be applying to college. One Saturday I met a student who wanted help editing his application essay. We went over to the computer lab and he pulled up a draft he’s been struggling with. The essay was fine. It read grammatically well. But it was terrible. It was dry and uninteresting. Artificial intelligence could have probably auto-generated it from a history of

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