Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"If you are not ashamed of your product when you launch it, you launched too late.”

I keep playing this Reid Hoffman quote in my head.

As an entrepreneur, I've always found it really hard to balance my perfectionistic tendencies (for which I blame my German and Swiss upbringing) with my impatience (for which I have only myself to blame). I feel like so far I've followed Reid's advice to the letter.

On the other hand, I find it extremely hard to point to a single entrepreneur who's happy with the product in its current state. The product you have comes from the ideas two weeks ago that you implemented last week. Your thinking is always ahead of reality.

Here's my method to avoid being torn apart by the dichotomy of perfectionism vs. impatience: First, you cut features until it hurts. Then out of the remaining features you choose one or two that deserve your perfectionism. The rest can be good enough.

Fewer features, few of them great, most of them just OK.

Avicii on how to Become Successful

I was driving down the freeway listening to a dance music radio station, and an interview with Avicii aka Tim Berg came on. The interviewer asked him what his advice would be for amateur DJs making music in their bedrooms in America.

Avicii's advice was to work really hard. Before he became famous, he would spend many hours a day just creating and fine-tuning his music. Working hard enabled him to find his own style that he was comfortable with. He reached out to bloggers, they featured his music on their blog, his manager found him, and got him signed to do remixes and later solo stuff. His breakthrough track "Levels" came a bit later.

His advice could be right out of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Find something you're passionate about, put your 10000 hours in, and luck will find you.

The music and tech industries both have outcomes with exponential distributions. I'm happy that even in the field of electronic music, the major factor in getting to the top is the amount of work you put into your product - not how much time you spend networking, or what school you graduated from, or what your father does for a living.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dating Advice for a Newly Single Friend

"Trying to find a guy who is both ambitious and attentive is like trying to find a great shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one. It's not going to be a great shampoo. It's not going to be a great conditioner. Here as always, the price of stability is mediocrity."

-- me in response to her complaining about the lack of guys who are both ambitious and attentive

Friday, August 24, 2012

Big Company vs. Small Startup

If you work at a big tech company, then on any given day there's nothing you can do that will move the stock price.

If you work at a small tech startup, then on any given day there's nothing you can do that won't move the stock price.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Magic of Cities


"The thing that attracts us to the city is the chance encounter. It's the knowledge that you'll be able to start here, end up there, go back there. But that something unexpected will happen, that you'll make a discovery. That, in a way, is the magic of cities."

-- Sir Norman Foster in Urbanized

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

That feeling

That feeling when your product hits a million users.
That feeling when you get the first rave review.
That feeling when you meet someone at a bar and they've used it.
That feeling when you see it on a stranger's laptop screen in an airport.
That feeling when you think that all those late nights have paid off.
That feeling when you know you've made people's lives better.
That feeling when you became one of the people that have built the world around us.

That feeling is the feeling of startup success.

It is the most addictive, most exciting thing you will ever feel, and you will do anything, everything to get it back.