What to work on
Vol 7. of Growing With a Startup
It's great to be back — I've been silent for a couple of months.
Work has been a little hectic, with Aula's CEO getting hit by a car while our commercial leader was on parental leave. I got to wear 3 hats for a period. But Anders is recovering fast and Rachael is back, so I'm back to writing.
I'm just back from 5 weeks of working from Kenya, exploring nomadic life for the first time in my 5 years of working remotely.
It was pretty fun to visit giraffes in the morning and do board meetings in the afternoon:
This week we're looking at perhaps the most important part of being an entrepreneur: What to work on.
As ever, hit reply with ideas, comments, suggestions.
All the best,
Hard Startups Are Easy: 3 billionaires' advice on what to work on
A few of my friends are in transitions, asking themselves: "What should I work on?"
I looked at 3 billionaires' advice for what to work on.
1) The market beats the entrepreneur (essay)
Jeff Bezos didn't start Amazon because he loved books. He started Amazon because saw the Internet was growing at 2,300 % per year. The Internet was in a 'critical category formation time'.
Packy McCormick's piece on what Jeff Bezos might choose today is fantastic.
Implication: Pick a fast-growing market, and ride a wave.
2) Hard starts are easy, easy startups are hard (essay)
The most counterintuitive secret about startups is that it’s often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one. SpaceX might be easier to pull off than Instagram.
Talent attraction decides startup success. Talented is attracted by doing something significant. Similarly for capital.
Implication: Start something that will be significant if successful.
Note: Altman and Musk's first businesses were less audacious than saving humanity with Artificial Intelligence. Altman built a location sharing tool; Musk an online payments service.
3) Be Obsessed Like A Bus Ticket Collector (essay)
Great work requires an obsessive interest in the topic. The merely ambitious will not make it.
New ideas tend to look unpromising at first. The road is long and full of rejections. You have to be willing to waste your time, willing to endure pain others are not.
Pain tolerance will only get you so far. Having an obsessive interest makes it less painful.
Implication: go and explore something you're interested in for its own sake.