Tag: advice

Deciding what to do next

This post by Daniel Gross, partner in a well-known startup accelerator is written for an audience of people in tech looking to build their next company. However, I think there’s more widely-applicable takeaways from it.

Gross mentions the following:

  1. If you want to make something grand, don’t start with grand ambitions
  2. Focus on the repeat offenders
  3. Tell your friends what you’re doing
  4. Make sure you enjoy thinking about it
  5. Get in the habit of simplifying
  6. Validate your market
  7. Launch uncomfortably quickly

To explain and unpack, point two is getting at those things that you think about every so often, those things you’re curious about. Points six and seven are, of course, focused on putting products in a marketplace, but I think there’s a way to think about this from a different perspective.

Take someone who’s looking for the next thing to do. Perhaps they’re dissatisfied with their current line of work, and so want to pursue opportunities in a different sector. It’s useful for them to look at what’s ‘normal’ (for example, teachers and lawyers work long hours). Once you’ve done your due diligence, it’s worth just getting started. Go and do something to set yourself on the road.

If there’s anything you remember from the post, let it be these two words: perpetual motion. Just Do It. Make little steps every day. One day that’ll add up to the next Google, Apple or Facebook.

…or, indeed, a role that you much prefer to the one you’re performing now!

Source: Daniel Gross

Some advice for a happy family life

Last weekend, and on the day before The Guardian changed to a new, smaller format, Tim Lott, one of my favourite columnists, wrote his last article.

It contains “a few principles worth thinking about if you hope for a functional family life”. There’s some gems in the short article.

Be kind. If there is a simple secret to relationships, it is probably this. However, not too kind. You can do as much damage by being overindulgent as by being neglectful. Your children are your children, not your friends. Their positive judgment of you is good to have, but it is not a necessity.

Given our recurring conversations about whether or not to move to a bigger house, I found this reassuring:

Maintain intimacy. There are a number of practical methods for doing this. Don’t buy a big house. People are always trying to extend the size of their living spaces, but smaller spaces bring people together.

And then, as a parent of two strong-minded, wilful, but ultimately pleasant children, this also reassured me:

Finally, and perhaps most importantly – you’re not as powerful as you think. And you are going to fail as a parent – everyone does – but less than you imagine. Children are independent beings and make their own choices and interpretations. There’s culture, there’s nature, there’s nurture and there’s how each individual child chooses to interpret what’s coming at them. That last part, you have no control over. So don’t beat yourself up too much – or pat yourself on the back too much, either. You’re a fragile link in a long chain of causality.

Source: The Guardian

How to get people to pay you what you’re worth

Good advice in this article for people who (like me) are asked regularly whether someone can ‘pick your brain’.

If you decide you do want to give advice, do it on your terms. If they ask to meet for coffee and you don’t have time, send an email instead. If they ask a question that requires a novel-length answer, address one part of it, or send them some helpful links. Don’t fear being explicit that you didn’t have time to answer in full by saying something like: “Thank you for reaching out. Your question requires an answer that I unfortunately do not have time to fully address due to my work. However, you might find the following books/links/thinkers/YouTube videos helpful.”

Given I live in the back of beyond, most of my initial meetings are online, which makes life easier. I give people 30 minutes for free, and then that sometimes leads to them asking me to put together a proposal for them.

What I particularly like about this article is that it encourages readers to find ways to give back to their sector / profession:

Once you’ve created boundaries around when and where you’ll provide help on demand, you can begin looking for other, more expansive avenues for giving back. This can include devoting your time speaking on panels, at schools/universities, on podcasts, or at workshops for free if it’s a cause or audience that would benefit from your knowledge. Though beware of the requests that can often follow on from such engagements, and refer to the third step when answering them.

One thing that’s not mentioned in this article that I’ve found can work is if you offer a ‘critical friend’ service. This is basically billing them for a day’s work at your regular rate, from which they can draw down time for advice when they need it.

Source: Quartz at Work