Date archives "April 2015"

The Week in Review #16: A Call to be Extraordinary

What does success mean to you? I remember being asked that question by an uncle when I was barely 12 years old. It seemed like a straight forward question at the time. The world we live in does a great job of projecting what comprises of a successful life. It has the staples of working at a large company, married with kids and living in a beautiful home. Having these basics meant you are were all set for life. Our schools and education system are geared towards preaching this way of life. Resulting in a large majority of people spending their entire lives working towards some else’s perception of success.

In recent years something interesting has started to happen. We have transcended the basic requirements outlined by Abraham Maslow, leading us to question this definition of success. Everyday people are choosing to take the path less traveled. The one where we give ourselves the highest probability of living a life of greater significance. Where we care about something that is larger just ourselves and our selfish pursuits. The highlighted article does a great job of breaking success down and allowing us to see it through a variety of lenses.

We are living in exciting times. Where technology and science has enabled a single person to alter the way the world works. With the growing pains of humanity, we owe it the world and ourselves to dare to be extraordinary.

The Economics of You: A Call to Be Extraordinary “Personal value is very much tethered to not only how we view ourselves as being successful, but how we actually feel when we experience some form of success.” This quote stood out for me when I was reading through this great article. This article is a fantastic read and forces us to think about the life we are living. I hope you will take the time out to give it a read.

30 Startup Lessons Another one of my favorite types posts, where the author has outlined 30 lessons from the trenches. “The best startup pieces of advice I’ve found are stories from other founders. Taking the best out of them and learning is a continuous challenge.” I completely agree with this lesson. I always have an eye out for such stories and have learnt the most from them.

How to Failure-proof your Business with Customer Development This article is part of the evergreen series that runs every week. I find these posts very informative as the authors spend a lot of time curating the best links regarding the topic. This week it is all about how to validate your business before you get started. This is a process that is part art and part science. Lots of great resources and links are shared. A post every entrepreneur should bookmark for future reference.

3 Better Questions to Ask in User Interview This post builds on the article mentioned above. Asking the right questions during customer development is key. The three questions mentioned in this post will make sure you get started in the right direction.

Top Selling Techniques from 6 Sales Masters Sales is the life blood of any startup. This is a skill which is not taught at universities or school. We can only acquire it by doing the work and going out there and selling ourselves. Learning from the best is often a great way how to avoid amateur mistakes and this post provides six great takeaways. For someone just getting started with sales this is a great resource.

Focus Your Startup Marketing on the Mind, not the Product The stories we share about our startup can make or break our company. This post talks in great detail how to position your startup and story. Many new startups often forget about the narrative and purely focus on the features and benefit. The author shares some great examples to get your creative juices flowing.

How to Impress an Interviewer There are a host of articles written on how to ace an interview. While we are busy figuring out how we will answer the latest brain teasers, we often overlook the bigger picture. The author talks in great detail about the importance of self awareness in this post. She mentions a great process on how we can improve our level of self awareness. Whether you are applying for a job or going to be starting your own company, this is key to your future success.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #15: Stacking Bricks

There are no overnight successes. When we dig a little deeper, we usually find years of hard work culminating at the one point which is visible. As humans we grossly overestimate our capabilities in the short term. What we miss out on, is how our success is made up of the small steps we take on a daily basis. Almost every habit we have is a result of the decisions we make everyday. We have to make a conscious effort to want to improve ourselves. This requires us to have patience to practice a few principles everyday.

The highlighted article this week outlines an entrepreneur who has done just that. By showing up and doing the work everyday, he has put himself in a position to become an overnight success.

Building an Empire with a Single Brick: Meet Patrick McKenzie Great article talking about how Patrick has built his business from the ground up. Lots of great insights on learnings he had along the way and how it resulted in his next big project.

Think big, start small, act fast Building on the theme above, this article has a great takeaway. A problem I have personally struggle with is the starting small part. Like most entrepreneurs I have the ability to think really big. It is taking that big idea and breaking it down into small steps which I find very challenging. This article provides a great framework and some clear examples of how to get started.

The 1000th Post On How To Find Your Passion In Life Finding your passion, is a topic which I frequently write and talk about. James Altucher does an amazing job of taking three models of potentially finding your passion and walking us through them. These along with Jim Collins golden circle are among my favorite exercises to discover your passion & purpose.

No, but really, how much should I charge for my work? This is a question that is brought up in hundreds of forum posts on the internet. How should I charge for the services I provide. The author breaks down the process is a very logical fashion and helps you arrive at a number which will enable you to answer this question correctly.

Get Out Of The Way Dave Morin is the founder of the mobile app called Path. In this post he talks about a struggle that most designer and product founders have, getting out of the way. Sometimes we have a disconnect between what we think the users want and what they actually need. This creates a disconnect in the relationship and ultimately strains it. He uses the example of his application and how getting out of the way helped him exponentially improve the business.

Characteristics of B2B unicorn ideas The world of enterprise software fascinates me. The industry is changing rapidly and legacy service providers are being disrupted everyday. This post breaks down the most disruptive companies in the space, outlining what makes them unique. This is a great for founders venturing into this vertical or even building their first product.

Lessons from a failed pitch with Paul Graham Another great recap post on lessons learned. This one is especially interesting as the author walks us through his experience of pitching to one of the world’s best angel investors. Once you have read the article, I would encourage you to watch the video of his pitch as well. This helps to bridge the concepts discussed.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #14: The Power of Authenticity

Imagine being able to live everyday, doing what you love. The one thing that not only brings you joy, it helps those around you.

Being true to who we are, is a rare gift. We are constantly putting on a slew of masks in our attempt to fit in. Changing our habits and interests based on those around us. This blocks our ability to live a fulfilled and meaningful life. The day we unshackle ourselves from the imaginary chains that society holds us by, we are able to truly live a life worth living. The highlighted article of this week is about a company called Lynda. A business which was started to help people equip themselves with the skills they need to succeed. The founders have a truly aspirational story. and the Power of Authenticity The big news this week was the acquisition of by Linkedin. This article provides a good overview of what made stand out and the secret’s to their success. There is also a great short video embedded about the power of design and problem solving by the founder.

What I’d tell myself about startups if I could go back 5 years. Recap posts are among my favorite type of blog posts. These are the posts where we get to learn directly from people as to what worked and what didn’t. With over 63 bit sized pieces of advice, this article doesn’t disappoint.

Consistency and discipline over motivation Procrastination can be a real threat to our productivity. This article talks about the times when we lack the motivation to get something done. I am sure this is a feeling everyone of us has experienced at some point. The author talks about how to remove the need of motivation and replace it with discipline. When we are able to make the shift, there is a dramatic increase in our productivity. Having personally practiced this, I can attest to the fact that it works.

The Simple Numbers That Could Change How You Hire Most recruiting articles follow an archaic process of listing down how you should hire. This article takes a different approach by breaking it into 4 parts supported by numbers. It walks you through sequentially on all the major stages and what you should be looking out. Lots of great insights to be gleaned and highly recommended for those hiring.

The best single lesson Bill Gates gave every startup & product manager Short blog post on the best advice Bill Gates gave every startup. In a nutshell it is, do not let perfection get in the way of success. This is something that I personally struggle with and am working to get over. The article mentions some interesting products that achieved greatness following this advice.

Why Startups Fail and How to Build Up Interest Before the Launch Building traction for a new business is always challenging. How do you go about getting ready to launch and build up an early following. This article goes through the process with some great insights and takeaways.

6 Reasons why a startup should invest in a brand strategy at the very beginningBranding is a topic that gets discussed rarely in the startup world. However businesses like Warby Parker have clearly shown us that it can be a central component of your success. This article discusses why branding is critical to your success and how to get started with it.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #13: The Passion Recipe

Purpose and passion are two concepts I spend a substantial amount of time thinking about. Passion is the popular concept of the two. It is easier to wrap our head around. We are passionate about the things which bring us joy and happiness. Our passions change as we grow and evolve. When someone asks what we are passionate about, we usually can come up with answer. Alternatively if someone asks us about our purpose, it’s like being a deer caught in the headlights. The simple reason is that most of us do not know our purpose.

Finding your purpose begins with discovering your passions and personal strengths. These two leave clues for us. The first step in finding your purpose is becoming aware of these clues. The next involves challenging the status quo and thinking about matters larger than ourselves. The highlighted article this weeks helps you to start uncovering those clues.

The Passion Recipe: Four Steps To Total Fulfillment Steven Kotler co-authored the book, Bold. I highly recommend it as it forces us to look at the bigger picture. This article walks readers through the process of thinking through how to discover their passions and use them ultimately to find your purpose.

Elon Musk Chose Himself: Here’s How James Altucher wrote this article based on quotes by Elon Musk. We get to hear about the key decisions in his career. Topics range from his largest mistakes to what he hopes to acheive before he dies. The reader is left inspired and motivated to think bigger than they ever have.

My Startup Failed Starting a new business is very challenging. Chances are that you are going to fail. What matters is how you learn from the experience, pick yourself up and give it another go. This article talks about the entire journey of a first time entrepreneur. Lots of great insights and how he is moving forward with what he learned.

The Ultimate Guide To Price Strategy Pricing your product or service well is critical to the success of your business. The most common strategy is to pull a number out of the air or a percentage on top of our costs. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the various strategies that you could potentially use. A must read guide for entrepreneurs just starting out and unsure about their pricing strategy.

How to Master The Discipline of Product Management A business is built around a product or service. If the product isn’t great, chances of long term success are slim. The question to ask is, how do we build a great product? This articles walks you through the basic steps around good product development and management. Starting with clearly identifying the customer need. There are also great links that provide greater granularity to the subject.

Being Inspired: The Jedi Way How do you get unstuck after hitting a brick wall? That question comes to the mind of everyone who needs to be creative on a daily basis. This article uses quotes from Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi to help you fight through the resistance.

NO DICKHEADS!: A Guide To Building Happy, Healthy, and Creative Teams.Culture develops, regardless of whether it is worked upon or not. Every decision from the moment you step into the office to how you make a client feel, contributes to your companies culture. This article walks us through a comprehensive guide on steps you can take to create a great company culture.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!