Monthly Archives: September 2014

Week 40

One day goes after the next, and skipping on updates is not a good form, so here are some thoughts for this week related to Moonpunch, however small they might be…

Building a house in the neighbourhood in Taipei
Laying foundations of a house in the neighbourhood. Let’s make it a metaphor

This week’s notes

The Startup Class has started last week with their first videos, it was very highly anticipated by a lot of people. It’s focusing on creating hypergrowth Internet businesses, and it is not directly applicable to other styles (e.g. hardware startups), but there are some nuggets that I took home from the first two class:

  • The CEO’s number 1 job to manage their own psychology
  • Best predictor of success: every time the team has some progress to share
  • Vision/mission oriented ideas are the best ones: easier to rally around for the team and outsiders too, keeps people more on the path and going
  • Start at a very small segment and take all of it, grow from that – make something a small number of people love instead of something a lot of people like.
  • Sales fixes everything – when things are bad, making deals happen is the best way to turn things around, for the team as well

There are other series with such online videos/talks/interviews with inspiring people: Foundation is similar to the Startup Class in its selection, while I really appreciate Khan Academy’s Interviews with Entrepreneurs because it gives space for lot of other people, from the CEO of a large fashion brand to a founder of a small business focusing on university chemistry sets. These videos give an amazingly wide range of inspiration and examples of dealing with “situations” in business.

Also, I find myself having more hardware related discussions, and having more opportunities. Whether it is people coming to me as a (somewhat connected) member of the Taiwanese hardware scene, or one who at least took some steps towards making hardware (even if not enough steps yet), or as a commentator on hardware, it feels interesting, though not yet deserved. I don’t mind the opening of doors which it means, though, and hope to make the most of them in the way they fit the vision.

And yes, all of these does not matter at all. :) It’s so easy to lose focus with shiny objects like these above, while the only thing I need to figure out how to make a darn 4-layer PCB in KiCAD that I can send to be printed…

Horrible Clarity: Week 38

If there was a theme for this week, it would be that one cannot have a breakthrough every week, got to make do with some learning. On the other hand, the lack of breakthroughs more often is a sign of not breaking enough things, and thus a symptom than a must.

This week’s update just follows the Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival) last week in Taiwan, when people get together for a BBQ and spend some time with friends and family. That’s the moon festival in a nutshell and in practice. Of course I like this festival for multiple reasons.

Moon Festival BBQ at the Taipei Hackerspace
Moon Festival BBQ at the Taipei Hackerspace

This week

Probably the most amazing thing for me is realizing how much didn’t get done since the last update. On the PCIeDuino project I did the electronic schematics, the part that I actually knew how to do, but so far didn’t even start on the next step (the PCB layout) that I have almost no knowledge about. The enthusiasm took me all the way to the wall, and then dropped me off. I didn’t even realize that 3 weeks has passed… Indeed, enthusiasm is not enough, grit is the only currency here.

Been reading some articles about entrepreneurship porn – in a way this pieces can be part of it as well on the reader’s side. Just reading about things without actually taking any steps. They can be dangerous because they fire up the enthusiasm, but barely do anything for grit (which is pretty bad, see the previous point). That is, reading is dangerous, on the other hand, I believe writing it and having it read is part of the grit and progress and accountability. Two sides of the coin, the writer get more out of it than the reader. This is something to keep in mind!

Having said that, there are always pieces that are exceptions to the rule and add something unique to me even as a reader. James Altucher, for example, is probably responsible for a big part of the little grit I have built up so far. And he keeps adding to it. For others there are other muses.

From another reading this week a quote remained: “Don’t start a company with friends, but with people who you can become friends with.” This also reminds me that it might be a big folly trying to do it on my own and would need a trusted partner. Being very picky about it I haven’t found anyone and no-one found me yet. This might become important sooner rather than later.

My take was that writing a blog is very important (either for personal projects, or for a startup, for a company). Now I’ve re-evaluated that a bit, and would say instead: it’s important to write about the things that are important for you. The rest is probably better unwritten and spend the time on something else. In my experience the writings that convey the most interest and importance are the ones that will attract the opportunities. These are absolutely necessary. People will find you for things written weeks and months ago, and open up new doors. The things you’ve written just to have words down on the page and more content for a better Google ranking – that will just drown out the signal. (I know, I’ve been there).

And a reminder on the 1000th time: quite often there are microtasks that are very tempting to do instead of the important things (before sitting down writing this weekly report I for example finetuned the server’s PHP installation…). This is very hard habit to shed, but need to be mindful of it. That way they might be kept at bay.

For this week

I feel the most important is getting on with the hardware design, but this might be a folly as well. That’s the startup game, one can never be too sure whether he or she is on the right path, without feedback. Get that feedback, adjust, and carry on.

Contain entrepreneurship porn, startup events, accelerators, news, other distractions.

There are a couple of very useful opportunities pending (and I’m the bottleneck for a change), follow up on them and decide what to do. Either do or drop, but decide on it.