Make it all about the product.
Every single day, we hear about a new startup / product launch. To many in the scene, being initiated on Techcrunch or Front Page Hacker News is a sign that the startup has made it.
This is misguided, because nothing has been proven at this stage.
The startup has appeared to succeed purely because of the press-generated hype.
You see it happening all the time. Startups launch. They receive a ton of press coverage. Soon, you never hear about them again.
Concentrating on the hype is a mistake even big companies make when they launch. This was articulated nicely by Jordan Crook in his article “There is no such thing as a great launch”. The recent Samsung Galaxy S4 was 80 percent hype and 20 percent product; compared to the iPhone launch which was 10 percent hype, 10 percent Steve Jobs and 80 percent [great] product. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was just a standard spec bump and / or intense software upgrade.
The key question is whether the product is something people want, beyond the hype and all the signalling?
Making a product people want and love doesn’t come easily. It’s a process of hard work, thoughtful design and constant iteration.
In the end, it should all boil back down to the product.
Make it that way.
JFDIN - We Made it onto HN Frontpage #1
(Read it all at the famous DCHUA blog)
Startups, when trying to be productive, don’t forget to work on the product.
Coding teaches you how to think.
I always like observing what people prioritize to put on their smartphone’s home screen. For example, if their messages app is still on the top left corner, the tell is that chances are the person isn’t tech savvy or/and unorganized. Here are some of the apps I have on my front screen now (I revise them rather frequently). Currently, some of my most used apps are:
1. Week Cal - most practical calendar interface, especially for week views.
2. Google maps - this was a very welcomed (back) app when it launched for iOS 6.
3. Notes - having gone through a series of note taking apps (Evernote, fetchnote, simplenote, etc.), I still find the native app the most reliable.
4. Captio - the best way to send todos / notes to your gmail; this works amazingly well if you’re a gmail power user and use it as a todo list.
5. Über - for us in Singapore, we are enjoying the $30 credit that is coming with new sign ups.
6. Whatsapp - self explanatory.
7. Vine - a designer friend introduce me to this ‘Instagram killer’, and I’ve got to concur this app provides a way more better and interactive way to share experiences.
8. Kindle - prefer this to the kindle tablet cause I do way more reading on the phone because it makes so much sense squeezing in reading time transitioning (walking, waiting, eating, etc.).
9. Sleep cycle - curious to see how well and how much I sleep
10. Gmail - was hesitant in the beginning but after using this I find it more effective and reliable when it comes to push email, threading and mail searches.
What apps do you use?
People who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds.Jeff Bezos
Sweet spot for startups
Excerpt from PG’s recent blogpost:
“That’s made harder by the fact that the best startup ideas seem at first like bad ideas. I’ve written about this before: if a good idea were obviously good, someone else would already have done it. So the most successful founders tend to work on ideas that few beside them realize are good. Which is not that far from a description of insanity, till you reach the point where you see results.
The first time Peter Thiel spoke at YC he drew a Venn diagram that illustrates the situation perfectly. He drew two intersecting circles, one labelled “seems like a bad idea” and the other “is a good idea.” The intersection is the sweet spot for startups.
This concept is a simple one and yet seeing it as a Venn diagram is illuminating. It reminds you that there is an intersection—that there are good ideas that seem bad. It also reminds you that the vast majority of ideas that seem bad are bad.”
Things just get in the way sometimes.
You know those days when you find yourself halfway into the day and you’re wondering how did you just spend your whole morning?
I’m going to start a new workflow process today:
1. Visualize my day - Like how a professional athlete visualizes every stroke right before a race, I’m going to start treating each day like a race and mentally prepare myself for it from the moment I wake up.
2. Check email 3 times a day - I’ll commit to checking my email only after breakfast, lunch and before I go to bed.
3. No more multi-tasking - Using Pomodoro to help me start and finish tasks systematically according to its priority in Asana.
4. Get exercise out of the way early in the day - As a health freak, I follow a strict workout program. What happens is I actually dread working out and I tend to push it to the very end of the day - but the nagging feeling remains. I’m going to start working out right before lunch time to break the day into two managable halves.
5. Hide my bookmark bar - This might sound silly but I find myself getting distracted by my bookmark bar often. Two weeks ago, I started hiding my bookmark bar and took the top two distractions off the bookmark bar - Facebook and YouTube - and I’ve already started wasting less time clicking about aimlessly already.
6. Begin with the end in mind - A friend called me a project junkie yesterday and I had some time to reflect on it. I really am. But that’s not the point. That can be solved with personal project management. I’ve always felt held back by development in my projects (I understand code but not to a level I can hack something up myself), and recently I realize I’ve spent more time finding/researching/reading up on non-technical builders, e.g. Unbounce, Squarespace, Shopify, etc. than actually getting down and dirty with code. I’ve neglected my Zero to Coder blog more than once. No more, I’m going to finish what I started and furnish myself with the technical skills I need to build a successful business with One Cent Movement and FitFuel.
Note: Not because I believe in running a one-man business, but so that I have a level of ability and understanding to appreciate and manage teams.
7. Put first things first - Focusing on doing what is important, not necessarily what is urgent. The two are definitely not the same. In other words, doing things that matter to the end output and can be measured.
Make good art
“Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. I.R.S. on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil, or it’s all been done before? Make good art.”
- Author Neil Gaiman at 2012 University of the Arts Commencement -
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution
I’ve been going around in my good old brown Ecco (shoes) for a while now. For as long as I can remember, the insoles slip out every time I walk in them. On average, I stop to adjust my insoles back in position 7-10 times each outing. It’s really irritating and I’ve tried everything from tightening my laces to using super glue. Today. I got so fed up I stopped, took out my insoles and threw them away. The feeling after that was amazing. I never thought of that? Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.