On Listening Well

Mark Zuckerberg presented a different perspective at Startup School a few years ago where he mentioned that at Facebook they listened to their users both quantitatively and qualitatively.

This is very different from the more Jobs-ian perspective of building what the company believes their users want and not listening as much to the noise from the masses.

I love these varying thoughts and different points of view as I think it’s healthy to consider all points and perspectives; although you shouldn’t do it too frequently, just enough to remember that you don’t hold the golden truth nugget of customer engagement, product development, or business creation.

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Ask for Help

I’ve written about the 5 characteristics I look for in new hires as well as how I think someone can prepare oneself for working in a fast-paced, intense, and super-fun startup and I realize that all those things can really apply to any business, regardless of size.

But one of foundational elements that I’ve been meditating about recently in not just hires but people that I want to work with and for is their propensity to ask for help.

The fact is that most people do not ask for help nearly as often as they should as they have determined, for whatever reason, that it is a sign of apparent weakness. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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On Courage

I was once told that courage can be learned; I’m still waiting on the scale to tip in my favor though as I still haven’t learned it well enough.

How does one define courage? I think it is most simply this: Courage is not giving up in the face of adversity. I was going to add “great” before the word adversity but that kind of goes without saying as trivial adversity is not writing home about.

Have you exemplified courageous behavior lately? Have you ever really faced true adversity? Many of us have lived a life so sheltered that we have fabricated stories that seem to highlight acts of courage when all we’ve faced in reality is which path we should choose so that we might succeed a little bit more.

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There’s something powerful about analog. I love hearing this from the acclaimed musical composer and producer Hans Zimmer and how he helped create the Dark Knight series.

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Meeting Participation

One of the nice things about the culture that I get to experience (and build) have is that I will never have to ask any of my team to participate more in the very few meetings that we already have (not a super-fan of meetings) – it’s just not a likely request.

You see, there’s no cultural pressure to say anything if you don’t have anything to contribute… although that’s never happened either; every team member has something to contribute and offers it freely.

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I had a moment to visit my sister who’s currently bartending @ Gourmands Pub in Austin, TX. There was a moment while I was in college where I though that being a bartender would have been a pretty cool gig although now I’m sure I wouldn’t have been a very good one!

It’s a fascinating activity to revisit some of the thoughts that I once had about what I wanted to do with myself professionally – there are some pretty off-the-wall ideas (as I’m sure you’ve had a few yourself).

Most of them were bad ideas while there are a handful that could have panned out quite nicely. No regrets, of course.

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Checking LinkedIn Monthly



My LinkedIn strategy is quite simple… it’s essentially just ignoring it almost entirely.

So what I do is I calendar in a monthly (yes, monthly) moment to login and review pending connections and any random spam messages that might creep into the system (and man, there are a ton of those).

As I’ve liberally shared over the years I’m simply not a fan of this social network for a variety of reasons but I understand how many people find value in it. The thing is that it’s just not for me.

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