The secretary problem

Making decisions is hard, especially when forced to choose between people/paths/things in which you have no experience. The “secretary problem” refers to a low-risk method for making decisions, using the example of hiring a secretary. Interview 37 candidates and reject them all. Make notes of their quality Then keep interviewing and hire the first candidate…

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Sturgeons Law: 90% of books are shit

Ted Sturgeon made this rule, and it applies to everything. Don’t take everything offered you. Don’t try every gadget. Don’t read every book. Most of it is BS. Few things are worth your time and attention. Don’t feel guilty about ignoring the rest. Get good at recognizing BS for being BS If you’re not sure…

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Forget about winning arguments

As an entrepreneur, your mission is not to win arguments. Your mission is to win. Don’t waste time debating with fools. Either you’re right or you’re wrong. The proof is in whether you make money. Less arguing, more doing.

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Course correction is more important than setup

If you’re going on a sailing trip, how you adjust for changing weather is more important than in which direction you start. When you’re driving a car, you don’t take your hands off the wheel. You constantly make small adjustments to keep your wheels on the road. Same applies to business. Get out the blocks…

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If you don’t come to work on Saturday, don’t bother on to come on Sunday

You’re starting a startup. You don’t have an established business. You don’t have customers. You don’t have cashflow. The odds are stacked against you. So, don’t be surprised that if you adopt Mon-Fri, 8-5, working hours, you’ll fail. The one factor in startup life that is within your control is how hard you work. Startup…

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Evolution safer than revolution

When you’re young and dumb, the thought of revolution is appealing. Fast change. Radical change. Speed speed speed. That’s why reading history is important. In the history of the world, revolution has always ended in bloodshed and chaos. French revolution. Haiti revolution. Russian revolution. Not fun. Much safer is evolution. Instead of taking your business…

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The best ideas come whilst you’re DOING, not whilst you’re thinking

Some people think that thinking leads to creativity. This is the introspection illusion. It is the mistaken notion that contemplation by itself leads to ideas. These folks are wrong. The best ideas come whilst you’re DOING, not whilst you’re thinking. No amount of MBA programmes, books and conversations can substitute for the power of action….

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Be careful which mountain you choose to climb

Some people spend their careers climbing a mountain, only to reach the summit and have no time to enjoy before worrying about climbing back down again. Your startup is the mountain you’ve chosen to climb. Be sure to enjoy the climb. Be sure that when you reach the top you have time to sit back…

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Beware moving buttons around

When your product is not attracting users, it’s easy to focus on user experience. Move buttons around. Change colours. Tweak the font. Most times, that won’t work. If your product is great, it doesn’t matter where the buttons are. If your product is not great, it doesn’t matter where the buttons are. Stop moving buttons…

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Appeal to the seven deadly sins

Reid Hoffman (google him) says you should start a business that appeals to one or more of the seven deadly sins. Greed, lust, pride, sloth, gluttony, anger, envy. They’re addictive. You want addicted customers, so appeal to addictive traits.

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Your staff create your brand equity

Most startups don’t have a marketing budget. So you can’t rely on advertising to create brand equity. All you can rely on is word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth = product + customer service. You must have great product, that’s a given. So you need to pay attention to customer service. Staff = customer service. Staff = brand equity….

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Mental substraction makes you happy

Feeling a bit sad? Depressed? That’s not good for business. No one likes dealing with grumpy folk. There’s a simple mental trick for feeling happier. Imagine you didn’t have an arm. Just a stump. Or imagine you’re blind. Or imagine you don’t have kids. Or imagine you don’t have one of the hundreds of things…

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