February 17, 2009

Involving Others

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:37 pm

No man becomes great by himself. If you want to do something famous, then you will need to convince others. Some people might do this on the strength of their accomplishments.

Usually there is a system in place that helps you engage with others and get ahead. Universities, corporations, record companies, they will all help you develop a career, once you get in. But when you’re an entrepreneur, you have less guidance. You must often forge your own path.

Even so, in many businesses, there are established ways of going about things. If you can partner with a person who has experience doing things right in the business, then do it. Many new entrepreneurs are afraid to give up control and too much equity in their company. I did. But now I strongly believe that your first project should succeed. If it does, you’ll have a track record, and you can always own and control your second project. It’s important to be prudent, of course, but once you make a partnership — whether it’s with an investor, or someone who will handle another arm of your business — commit to it fully.

Some people are afraid that others will execute their idea without them. This is very unlikely. You are the person who is most passionate about the idea, and if you’re also an expert in the field, it’s much more likely that they’ll want to partner with you. Instead of focusing on fear, how about focusing on actually inspiring others to work with you and help you execute your ideas.

Many times we are afraid of asking too much of people. True, many people don’t have the time — and you should keep your requests small and reasonable — but there are those that do. Find those that do. If things go well, you will be developing a relationship with everyone who gets involved. Over time they will get involved more and more.

Make ideas that people can understand. I had this problem for a long time, and I’m still working on it. You think things through so much, that you tell people about your plan the long winded, enthusiastic way. With all the details. Enthusiasm is great, but spewing details is not the best way to get people interested. You are telling them about something new to them, so their first brush with it should answer questions such as — “what is it”, “why is it interesting”, “how can I get involved” and “what will I get out of it if I do”? Here is a good structure. I call it:

1) spark - spark their interest, for example with an interesting claim or hook

2) click - tell them about it, about you, find out about the, get on the same page

3) lead - tell them how they can help, tell them what you need, don’t feel shy about it … present an opportunity for them to join you.

What do you do? How can they get involved? Things work better when you give people roles they can understand. You are more likely to find someone if you can relate what you’re doing to a traditional business. Plus, you will find experts who can optimize things you’ve never even thought of.

Push things out early. The more people can SEE and TOUCH, the more they get excited about joining the existing opportunity. And the less they will ask in return for their commitment. So accomplish things, and release them.

The Minimum Curve:

Life is too short to do things alone. Doing the work yourself doesn’t scale. I used to have a productivity boosting guideline that went like this:

Accomplish at least one thing every day. It doesn’t have to be an ambitious plan that will leave you stressed and often disappointed because you are falling behind. It just has to be a minimum. If you miss a couple days, catch up later. But if you follow the minimum curve, you will steadily accomplish things and reach your goals.

To design your minimum curve, figure out the things you want to accomplish, and set your desired deadlines for them. Then push your deadlines 3x further out. It’s ok, you might accomplish these things slower than the deadlines you set, but you’ll accomplish them quicker than your lax deadlines, and there’s much more chance you’ll accomplish them.

I think this is a great guideline for accomplishing things alone. But now I’d like to propose an additional guideline:

Make at least three calls a day. With most people, you probably don’t want to be calling people too often, so you’ll necessarily have to call different people every day. This is your minimum social momentum. Some of those calls are just to keep up the contacts, but some of them will leave both of you with things to do. Put them on your task list and do them. Keep a calendar of who you are supposed to call, and when. Keep histories of how it goes with each person. Come to think of it, I should get software for this (or build it for the iPhone ;-). Make a plan at the end of each week to move things forward.

Whenever your calls result in responsibilities for both of you (whether it is a face-to-face meeting, or both of you have to do something), make sure you don’t do your part for nothing. Make sure you can re-use the results with another person, if the first person doesn’t come through. You might even get person A to do the counterpart work to person B, and wind up doing very little yourself. If you do this, though, and one of the people doesn’t come through, the other person might not be as patient as you would be, while you wait for someone else to do the work of the person who didn’t come through.

Next time I’ll talk about time management, outsourcing, and re-using things.

Watch this great video where Randy Pausch speaks about effective time management. This guy is awesome.

February 5, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:44 pm

I’d been going through my email and came upon this rap I had written 2 years ago. Seems like things are still much the same.

mm… gotta get a rhythm going…

Whoops! Sorry baby I think I made a blunder
I just tried callin Alex at a non workin number
For a second I felt like I was bout to go under
You have to understand that I’ve been torn asunder

But I’m doin fine now, thinking something about
Getting my point across now, never needing to shout
Been no stranger to misery, my life filled with doubt
Now I’m sustaining me raising me, nothing is fazing me,
In fact my life unknown and what it can be is amazing me
Knowing that dreams do come true and if they be with you
Been affecting me heavily and if I get on happily
I’ll be praising Him, Lord that’s sustaining me keeping me
Guiding me, lost in the wilderness, showing me
Life is so precious, blessings overflowing me

I’m learning to walk through doors
That I’ve been afraid of before
Finding reasons and living for
New reasons and many old reasons
And watching the seasons change
Going about my day, trying to find a way
To grow, improve, and change myself
Not into something else
More to remove than improve
Ridding my mind of the damaging stress
Finding a way to my happiness
While journeying finding the truths and divining the
Simple facts I’ve been blind to

Be happy with the journey not just the destination.