Category Archives: #startups

We live in a post-excuses world

Probably the most disruptive thing the Internet has done, and is continuing to do is to obliterate the typical excuses that have prevented people from creating something.

It used to be if you wanted to build a product, write a book, build a company, make a movie, make a comedy series, etc you had several barriers that prevented you from making and selling your work. Gatekeepers keeping you from your potential audience.

Authors needed to find a publisher which involved finding an agent, movie authors needed equipment which required studio backing, if you wanted to build a product you’d need to dump millions of dollars in R&D and prototypes . . . roadblock after roadblock. It was amazing that anything was created at all!

That’s not the case anymore. Now the cost of creating something is trending towards zero, whether you use Garage Band or iMovie to create an album, video or podcast, MakerBot to R&D prototypes for physical products, or a wide variety of development frameworks and cheap hosting to great software products, the only cost to make something is time.

“Sure I’d do <blank> if I just had the time,” is the excuse you’ll hear from people who don’t create. The fact is, they do have the time, they’re just using the time excuse to hide their fear of failure. So they fill their time with other things, Facebook, Reddit, MasterChef. Are you honestly telling me watching a cooking competition show is more important than your dream?

BTW, the hilarious thing about MasterChef is that every competitor on the show probably spends at least 4 hours a day cooking, not watching other people cook on TV.

I know for a fact Christine doesn’t watch TV . . . btw how good was that season?

The world is different, there will be people who through some random dumb chance will get “discovered” and do the hard work of introducing them to the world. The rest of us however will have to learn how to discover an audience by building it for ourselves. Need proof? One word: Macklemore

The Heist is the debut studio album by American rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis. Independently produced, recorded and released by the duo, The Heist reached number 1 on iTunes within hours of being released on October 9, 2012 with no mainstream promotion or support.[1] The album was recorded in Seattle between 2009 and 2012 and was released on Macklemore LLC. A series of singles were released before the album release from 2010 onwards, with the fifth and final single “Thrift Shop” being the most commercially successful – peaking on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 1 and charted within the top 40 overseas, peaking at number 1 in New Zealand and Australia and the United Kingdom. The album’s third single “Can’t Hold Us” was also largely commercially successful – peaking at number 1 in the United States, Australia, and Sweden.

If you don’t understand the genius of “Thrift Shop” I can’t help you

It’s harder, we can’t tell ourselves comforting little lies anymore of why we didn’t make it (“because of the fat cats at big companies don’t get it”).

The tools and knowledge is out there, do you have the will to actually make your dream happen?

Or are you going to keep making excuses?

Iterating is a Life Skill

My wife and I are trying to sell our condo. It’s been on the market for three weeks and we’ve had three showings so far. On the first two showings we got the following (and only) feedback:

“Client wants something not facing a busy road”

Our condo is facing a fairly active road, it’s well traveled, but I would say it’s only really busy at rush hour and our condo sits far enough away we don’t pick up any significant road noise.

Also, a quick Google Map view of our address shows that we’re on the road, if that’s a problem, then why did we get the showings in the first place?

jackie-chan

The solution suddenly occurred to us while we were discussing the feedback

Have the potential buyers come in through the back of the condo rather than the front

It makes perfect sense, by having buyers come in through the front, the road and traffic noise was making the first impression, not our condo. Buyers were being assaulted with road noise before even setting foot inside!

For the third showing, we cleaned up the garage and cleared off the patio and had buyers come into the kitchen (which looks great). The feedback from the buyer didn’t mention the road noise at all.

The art of iterating: making a small change, testing that change, then gathering feedback, is a powerful tool for technical projects but I think that was the first time it really dawned on me how powerful it was for day-to-day life.

The tricky part is of course measuring and recording results from your iterations. This can be especially difficult for life projects, although with the power of mobile devices and better instruments we’re closing in on measuring all kinds of things, especially our own bodies. It’s like having Dr. McCoy’s medical scanner in Star Trek:

Not an expert on Klingons, but I think we know how he died…

I’m curious if anyone has any similar anecdotes of using iteration in your life. Let me know in the comments!