I received some requests from my loyal kind audience to talk about what it is like to work in a busy startup, live in NY, have a private life and combine them all together.
I though I’ll share my humble opinion.
Assumption #1: most people can excel
Going back a few steps, I don’t really believe in “stupid people” and I don’t really believe in people not being capable to succeed. On paper, I actually think most people can do really well, and very small amount of people can do remarkably well. In reality, the majority are doing ok and less.
The reason is because unfortunately I don’t think most companies set a high standard of what it takes to be ‘a star’, and most people don’t spend enough time thinking how to stand out. Taking both of those into consideration, most people can take advantage of that – and by definition excel.
It’s very similar to students that chose the courses where they know they can be #1 in the class and graduate Cum Laude. They are not really better on an absolute scale, but they are better at organizing how to shuffle things to make it look like it.
On paper – they are ‘geniuses’. They will be the ones with a good resume, the ones that can get an MBA (whatever that might mean), the ones that will get a meeting, and the ones that will potentially get a better starting point. However, they are not better than you; they just excel within the environment they reside.
Assumption #2: extreme acts drive extreme results (which we all need)
I believe in extreme things to achieve extreme results. I’m going to write up some tips:
1. Be busy. Whatever you do, you should be up and out around 8am, and be home not before 9/10pm. Whatever you do – you have no time, you’re out early, and you’re back late. You are busy. Now it’s a matter of how to fill your time. To the extreme, at first — do nothing, but do it out and do not be available.
2. For a few years, give up your social life. Remember that when you’re successful most people will “forgive you”, ladies will follow you, and guy-friends would love to hear your stories of how it was. This is really important. Your time is where your funnel begins, and you want to start by making it really available to fill with things that can break that glass ceiling you might be facing. Comparing this to online-websites, optimizing the homepage and increasing homepage CTRs can be really successful as usually 50% of the traffic starts there. So increasing 1% to 2% might increase your site traffic meaningfully even though it’s just one percent. If you have to meet people, do it really late, have people realize that while you really want to meet them, you can’t but you’re willing to make an effort around 11:30pm for a quick 45min while you are really tired. Why? Trust me.
3. Be provocative. Most people are very safe, hence don’t move the needle. We’re aiming at cracking the ice here so you can’t be always safe. Say what you think, write a blog about it, socialize about your provocative thoughts, and speak about them. It’s ok, assuming you are not 100% wrong, it’s better be remembered and get 2nd meeting than get a “who are you again”.
- 2Pac was young, early in the game in his music and told Biggie what he thought of his wife. It got him on national TV and made him mainstream.
- Dennis Rodman was a good basketball player; honestly he wasn’t the best, but he was rumored to have relationship with Madonna and when he guarded Shaq he always poked him which drove Shaq insane and got everybody hyped about Rodman.
- I was with Ran Harnevo, good friend of mine, on a panel last week at Bloomberg. Everybody were really smart but Ran was the one asking the audience if Hulu is not really a failure as he compared the cost of producing their content versus their half a billion in revenue. It cost much more to product so how good of a business is it really. True, or not – it’s the main question I remember from the panel.
4. When you’re having fun, have a lot of it. Every once in a while, you’ll do something you find fun. It might be drinking a glass of wine with your girlfriend, or catching up with your family, listen to a nice song on Pandora or even walking your dog. Whatever you do that in your world is considered fun, really enjoy it, stretch it, bring the volume up, dance to that song, be extreme, love it, love those moments. They will act as your battery for a longer term.
This is part1. Enjoy.