Startup Pregnancy

The rallying cry that I hear too often is that essentially the future is built by innovators and entrepreneurs and that at this very moment a new venture could be formed that could change the very foundation of how we work, live, and engage with each other and our world.

The “next” Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Ebay, Facebook ad. nauseum is thrown around in an attempt to excite and incite others to action. “Now is the time!” is implicitly or explicitly expressed and opportunity is going to pass you buy if you don’t go for it.

To be fair, all these things are true and I’m not trying to be overly critical of the good intent that sits behind these proclamations.

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App Grief

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Yesterday I turned off the availability of an app that I had closed down and I realize that I’m am walking through a period of grief. In other words, I am literally grieving the passing (or I should just go ahead and say it… death) of this app.

And I shouldn’t be surprised. It was the center of my world for more than 2 years and I spent thousands upon thousands of hours on it. My entire life, my kids, and my spouse of 9 years circled this app from sunup to sundown. And they experienced all the ups and downs with me, viscerally so.

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Vocation: Where Joy Meets Need

Eric Greitens, a navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar, addressed Tufts University for their 2012 commencement address and shared some counter-cultural words of wisdom to the graduating group that year:

The more I thought about myself, the weaker I became. The more I recognized that I was serving a purpose larger than myself, the stronger I became.

The best definition I have ever heard of a vocation is that it’s the place where your great joy meets the world’s great need.

We need all of you to find your vocation. To develop your joys, your passions, and to match them to the world’s great needs.

In a world where we laud the individual and we forever-endorse the individual’s personal achievements into self-obsession, Greitens’ words are a breath of fresh air. Continue reading

CodeSpells

Clearly this is something amazing. You should support the CodeSpells Project! It’s going to be great!

The Right and Wrong Customers for Your App

The customer is not always right. The truth is you have to sort out who’s right and who’s wrong for your app.

If you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone.

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I’ve been thinking about this almost daily for the past year as I’ve gotten closer to the launch of Desk and how it’s simply impossible to design a product that’s going to be perfect for everyone.

The thing is, though, that I’ve known this guiding principle in product development for quite a while but I catch myself increasing the scope of my apps all the time, almost without thinking.

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A Letter to My 22 Year Old Self on Entrepreneurship

In a few months from now I’ll be 32 and at that point I’ll feel well on my way to the big Four-Oh. At this point in time I feel like I have had the amazing blessing of experiencing so much and yet, at the very same time, I feel ill-equipped for most everything.

It’s as if the first 30 years have been generally inadequate at preparing me for the next 30. I think I could argue pretty substantially about why but I’ll save that for another post.

But as I look back on the last decade I can see a few things that I have picked up specifically as it relates to entrepreneurship and startups. In many ways there is very little preparation that anyone can do to prepare oneself for such a lifestyle (although I’ve attempted to jot a few things down here) and I’m going to try again to provide some helpful thoughts to a younger version of myself.

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