The Week in Review # 47: Unexpected Events

Every once in a while we get thrown a curve ball. It shakes our world. Makes us rethink and reconsider how we do or think about certain things. Some people unfortunately never recover from these unexpected events. They become definitive forks in the road where they can’t decide which way to move forward. This could be the loss of a loved one, failing at a business or being fired from the only job they knew how to do.

The only person who can help us get back up is ourselves. Blaming others or the world for treating us badly only digs us deeper into our hole.

I see these events as opportunity to learn more about ourselves. The one thing lacking in the world today is greater self awareness. We hardly get the time to think about who we are and what we hold important. Our days are filled with keeping up appearances based on what society thinks we should be doing and saying. After a while the lines blur and we find ourselves lost. Chasing goals and dreams that were forced upon us rather than the ones we truly want to pursue.

The start of the new year is a perfect time to reflect on our goals and aspirations. Ask ourselves whether we are truly motivated to keep going on the path we have chosen for ourselves. This year will bring with it a new set of opportunities and challenges. The only way for us to stand tall and weather the storms is to know who we are and what we value.

What I am reading and watching this week

Getting ahead vs. doing well Everyone is clamouring to get ahead of the next person. The methods used at times are questionable. In this post Seth Godin masterfully tackles this subject and gives us some much needed perspective.

The Tail End This is an old post which resurfaced on my feed this week. I would take the time to take 15 minutes out of your day and read this post. It talks about the bigger picture and gives us a much needed reality check. If you haven’t put the main rocks in your jar correctly, this will be an uncomfortable read.

Life is Short Paul Graham wrote a post on having children and the perspective it gave him on life. His closing quote sums up this piece “Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That’s what you do when life is short.”

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!


The Week in Review #37: Building Things

What do you do? A simple question that is asked of us regularly. Our answer to this question says a lot about who we are. Unfortunately, most answers are boring and have very little thought put into them. I am a programmer, a business owner or a doctor. Most people do not want to talk about their boring day jobs. The thing they solely do to pay the bills. Yet, we clock in day after day not thinking about the choices we are making. We convince ourselves with the excuse of being trapped. Dreaming of the day when we will be truly free to do what we really want to be doing.

Truth be told we do not need to be running the next big startup or creating documentaries in war torn areas to give an interesting answer to the question above. Each of us have things in our lives that we enjoy doing. Our day jobs are just part of what we do. I recently asked an acquaintance this question and he starting talking about the book he was writing. After a while he slipped in the fact that he also works as a marketing consultant at a large bank.

All of us have the ability to create the life that we want ourselves. By pigeon holing ourselves based solely on our day job we create a mental barrier within ourselves. A barrier which limits our ability to take control of our lives and pursue what we enjoy doing.

This week I came across several articles about people who built amazing things in their spare time. They were inspiring to read and showed that each of us have the ability to achieve whatever we want in life. The Ted video linked below provides us with a simple framework of how we can get started on making a positive change in our lives today.

The Craigslist Method: You Can Build Big Things In Your Spare Time This article provides the back story of Craigslist. It was started as a side project that grew into one of the internet’s most visited sites. The author also provides 5 simple steps to get starting on your own side project.

Launching a product, in just 3652 days Launching a side project is easy. Completing it and shipping it to the world is very hard. We procrastinate and give ourselves lots of excuses. This article takes you through a 10 year journey of a side project. The article shows the struggles we are most likely to encounter and how to overcome them.

Why you should choose an ambitious startup idea While most side projects start small, we should always be thinking big. Google was started as a product called backrub to search through scholarly articles, ebay to sell pez dispensers and Craigslist to keep track of events going on in town.

Don’t Build That Killer App JUST Yet With the rapid rise of mobile phones everyone seems to have an idea of the next big mobile application. This article provides a framework to evaluate your idea before you start building it.

A Path for Entrepreneurs, When a Start-Up Is Not the Goal Most of us believe that becoming an entrepreneur requires us to start a business. However, another viable path is to purchase an existing business and grow it. This was an insightful read on an alternative that is often overlooked by many people looking to become an entrepreneur.

Ted Talk of the Week: How to find work you love This is an 18 minute motivational talk about pursuing the life that you want for yourself. The speaker talks about his own journey and the framework he used to think through his decisions.

Hope you have a great week ahead!


The Week in Review #32: The Cockroach Theory

It takes a minute to have our world turned upside down. Often, this will happen when we least expect it. Our ability or inability to deal with such events has a massive impact on our life. The easy way out would be blame the world for all our problems. We can put our head in the sand and hope for things to become better. Following this path will most likely result in making the situation worse. The better play will be to pro-actively respond to the new circumstances. This will require us to avoid knee jerk reactions and evaluate the best course of action. Easier said than done. Most of us are programmed to react rather than respond.

Responding requires us to maintain composure. Collect our thoughts and analyze our emotions. At this moment that will be the very last thing on your mind. Our lizard brain is going to be pushing us towards the fight or flight response. We will be afraid. Every worse case scenario will be playing out in our head. We will want to blame the world and our bad luck for all our problems. I know the feeling; having been in the same spot many times.

What I have learned over the years is that my response to these problems determines the final outcome. Fighting default reactions is difficult but not impossible. Each one of us has within us the ability to take control of our lives. Embracing failure and setbacks as roadblocks we all have to face. Some of us will have it rougher than other and that is just the way the dice rolls. Keeping your chin up, thinking clearly through your options and responding with the best course of action is the only way out.

Cockroach Theory This weeks featured article is a speech by the new CEO of Google. It uses a great example to help us visualize how a reaction is different from a response.

How I Learned to Get a Lot Done Without Being Busy As entrepreneurs it isn’t uncommon to being busy all the time. There is always something on our to do list. This article talks through the steps you can take to take control of your life back. There are several great pointers included. The one I liked the most was about being honest with yourself.

The future legends of esports Every week I read some piece of news regarding the growing e-sports industry. In prior issues we talked about professional teams and plays. This article talks about the growth of the industry as a whole and what we can expect as it matures even further.

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from David Einhorn About Investing This was my favorite read of the week. The highlighted investor in this post is someone whom I admire. He started his fund with $900k in 1996 and has generated a 20% annalized return for investors since. This post highlights key insights into his investing thesis and process.

Marc Andreessen on Big Breakthrough Ideas and Courageous Entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen is one of the top technology investors in the world. In this video he talks about his investment thesis and the type of entrepreneurs he looks to back.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!


The Week in Review #31: Playing to Win

We live in a society where conformity and staying within the lines is the norm. Anyone who ventures outside that circle is deemed a pariah; someone who has lost their way. The world does it’s best to bring you back within the fold. Family and friends will strongly urge you to take the tried and tested path. They will tell you it is for your own benefit. I can’t fault them, they are using their past as an indicator of what lies ahead. However, this is where the fork in the road comes into play. In life we have two options, we either play not lose or we play to win. Many of us do our best to hedge both sides of this coin. Unfortunately this third strategy almost guarantees us the worst outcome.

Playing to win doesn’t need us to do wild and crazy things as one would imagine. Everything starts with identifying what you want. That goal decides the tactics we need to use to win. Whether that be running a successful business or travelling the world. The important thing to remember is to pursue that goal aggressively. We will be required to make many difficult sacrifices. This is where most people hit a wall. The thought of giving up something in the present is painful. Losing feels far worse than winning. We do our best to hang on to everything as our ship is sinking.

The only way to get what you want, is to play to win. Embrace all the setbacks as lessons and keep moving closer. The worse thing you can do is lose sight of the goal. At times when we do win, we may have lost. This is when we chose to pursue the wrong goal. However that is life and the game we play. It is better to have played and won or lost, than never played at all.

The Prioritization Paradox This article gels well with this week’s theme. Prioritizing what you need to do on a daily basis is of critical importance. Getting it right can greatly accelerate the rate at which you reach your goals.

23 super-successful people share the best advice they ever received I always enjoy reading posts like these. The major themes are listening better, surrounding yourself with the right people and focusing on what you want to win at.

Wasting Time With The Joneses This is a great essay on the fundamentals of raising capital. It talks about when to raise it and what sort of businesses are the most suited for it.

Uber’s Secret Weapon This article talks about the road Ryan Graves took to become an early employee of Uber. It is a story about hustling, knowing what you want and going for it.

Don’t Ask For Permission. Ask For Forgiveness Great article by James Altucher. I enjoy reading his posts and his style of writing. My favorite line from the post is “Our life worth is not our net worth but the impact we have on others.”

Shark Tank Investment Data I am a big Shark Tank fan. It is an entertaining watch and educational at the same time. The program gives us insight into how to pitch and what investors are looking for in a business. This is a spreadsheet which contains all the deals that have been done in the tank. If you are looking for new business ideas this is a great spreadsheet to study.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #8: Secret Core of Every Business

This week’s top article was a series I came across on medium where the author does a great job of collecting a host of the best links about a certain topic and then puts together a thorough article. Highly recommend checking out the other articles he has written in the past as well.

The Secret Core of Every Successful Business: Distribution Many businesses end up building a product or successfully setting up the ability to provide a service. However the reason the vast majority of them fail is their inability to find and reach customers efficiently. This article provides a wealth of information on how to create distribution channels and reach your customers.

Leading without Coding In an era where software is eating the world, non-technical founders have to step up their game. This article written by a successful startup founder provides 6 great insights of how a non-technical founder can lead a technology company. From learning the lingo to ensuring that key hiring and management processes are put into place.

The Three Dimensions Of Content Marketing Strategy For Startups When we think of a companies content strategy, one may limit it to blogging or the creation of marketing material. This processes breaks it down into 3 core dimensions that every company needs to focus on. These include being sensitive to different target segments, looking through all your content touch points as well determining the lifecycle stage of the customer.

The False Market Fit It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what a customer wants, without validating the idea with them first. I have made that mistake before and it is definitely a very painful one. Customer validation is by far one of the most important aspects of starting a business. By making something that people want we are giving ourselves a better shot of building a business with legs. It sounds simple, yet day in and day out businesses all over the world are started on invalid assumptions.

The Chaos Theory Of Startups Running a startup requires an individual to be able to handle a high degree of chaos. If you are solely focused on outcomes and not the process, you are setting yourself up for a high probability of failure. Only through a purpose are we able to cut through all the noise and make decisions that will enable us to make sense of it all.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital (Presentation) This is a great presentation on Software as a Service startups and the process of how to successfully raise money for them.

4 Entrepreneurial Strategies For Getting The Most Out of a New City With startup hubs sprouting up all over the world, many people are relocating to these cities to have the opportunity to join or start one. The process of building your network in a new city and especially getting connected to the startup ecosystem requires a considerable amount of work. This article points out 4 methods that you can use to get connected much faster.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Our Dreams

Dreams. Dreams are aspirations in the form of guides that push our imagination. Nothing is out of our grasp. When we close our eyes, we can be anyone or anywhere we choose to be. As we keep moving forward in life, our dreams keep evolving. They are reflections of our subconscious, our hopes and our deepest fears and desires.

Translating these dreams is what separates the dreamers from the doers. Taking action goes hand in hand with the ability to close your eyes and imagine what it should be. It is too easy to blame circumstances. Nothing worth fighting for comes easily. Throwing in the towel when the going gets tough is the easy way out. Getting up after falling repeatedly, is what makes us stronger and our journey definitive.

In the end, it all comes down to taking responsibility for your dreams. Matching the ambition to the effort is essential to help make your dreams come true. When taking and making these hard decisions and sacrifices, you need to…

“Look in the mirror and ask, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

Steve Jobs