Golden medalists’ advice. You can often find past gold and silver medalist willing to answer your questions via Skype for 10$ to 50$. This could save you years of wasted effort.
I don’t know how I didn’t think about that myself. I’m creating an educational game for learning chemistry. I need feedback, ideas, insights and experiences from chemistry teachers. One of the first things I did was contacting local schools hoping to get chemistry teachers there. It worked, I got one. But. This is only one teachers and I surely need more information from others. After I read that idea [setting Skype meeting with professional and paying them] I contacted chemistry and teachers’ associations in Finland and USA to get a database of teachers I can talk to. This is really useful idea.
“If what I’m doing sounds reasonable to most people, then I’m not working in a space that is creative and innovative enough” – Jane McGonigal. Some time ago I understood how important it is to get feedback. I used to keep my ideas and thoughts as secrets, but now I tell about my ideas nearly everyone I meet. Why? To get feedback and new points of view. Receiving a positive feedback feels great, but I’m not sure it has a positive impact.
During last week I had situations when the innovative ideas I presented or suggested were rejected. Instead of thinking: “Oh, the idea isn’t good enough, I have to change it”, I was like: “You guys, didn’t get it. Cool. That means that this is crazy enough to be a potential innovation bomb I will drop.” It really helped me to stick to my idea. Working on the idea that no one gets is probably much harder, but I believe it’s much more fun and the reward will be much more bigger.
“What are you doing that the world doesn’t realize is a really big fucking deal?” – this is one of the questions asked Y-Combinator appliers. Answering it requires knowing what the world doesn’t’ realize and knowing that requires lots of rejection of an innovative idea.
Becoming extraordinary. Scott Adams said that there are two ways to become extraordinary. You can become the best at one specific thing (like NBA players) or become very good (top 25%) at two or more things. The first path is nearly impossible and the second one is fairly easy. Example of combining two different skills may be comedian that can draw. That allows to create funny cartoons which is a rare thing. Marc Andreessen said that “all successful CEOs are like this”. I don’t mean they create funny cartoons, I mean they combine two or more skills or degrees, like engineering + MBA.
The questions I asked myself were “what I want to do more effectively than 75% of the world?” and “which combination of skills and knowledge would help me reach my goal of building a billion dollar startup?”. After 40 minutes of thinking I decided that I want to concentrate on developing product management, project management and design skills plus communication skills aka charisma accompanies them as a meta-skill. Of course, there are more interesting things I want to learn such as physics (to understand technologies and innovations better) and game design (my current project is a VR game), but I have to concentrate on the most important things. I don’t see myself working in the physics lab or writing scripts for games in 5 years; I see myself leading those processes. Good quote to close that paragraph by Chase Jarvis is: “Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses.”
“The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people” – Peter Diamandis. I see two main points in that phrase. The first one is about the word “help”. Speaking about becoming a billionaire, shouldn’t we replace the word “help” with the “sell” because money is about selling? Here comes an interesting and fucking important thing I’ve realized. Helping is about focusing on other people’s need and problems while selling is about your own satisfaction and desire to get something. Helping is about others. Selling is about you. That single phrase helped me realized that creating value is really one the most important things in life. If something is not creating value for the planet, people or animals, why would it exist? Helping somebody doesn’t necessary mean that he would willing to give money. That’s why I think I have to concentrate on helping in so well organized way and with so important problem that people would be happy to pay.
The second point I see here is about thinking big which means creating huge value for huge amount of people. Cleaning retirees’ backyards is helping and creating value, but you can’t become billionaire doing that, because you can only help 3 men a day. So, thinking about business ideas and building billion dollar startups we should avoid asking “what should I sell to get one billion?”, and ask “what problem billion people face can I solve?” That phrase change my vector of thinking. I realized that despite all good I wanted to produce, I was money-focused. Now I care about creating value and for whatever reason, it feels better.
“Am I hunting antelope or field mice?” A lion is fully capable of hunting field mice, but that diet would slowly starve to death, because the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals and take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The point here is that you have to focus on the big things and let the little things slide. Ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?” Applying that idea to planning to-dos Tim Ferriss asks “which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant”.
My father is an entrepreneur. He has a small firm that builds tree houses. After more than 5+ years, he still does most of operational activities himself. He answers all the call from clients and visits a construction area daily to check if everything is ok. He spend most of his day doing little things that he can delegate in order to concentrate on bigger things like developing a strategy of getting more international clients. He is hunting field mice. I did the same when I started working on my VR game. It was very interesting for me to develop the game myself, but it was extremely slow, because I didn’t know how to do it. Getting the my game done requires raising money, finding investors, analyzing market, developing go-to market strategy and so on. I barely can delegate those things, but I can delegate development. I think in that project I should concentrate on making a pitch deck that will help me get money for developing and marketing the game. That’s my antelope and I’m hungry.