Something that’s crossed my path a handful of times in the past few months is this idea that I keep seeing passed around: The Fear of Missing Out, or #FOMO as many people have affectionately labeled it.
As far as I can tell Caterina Fake really propelled the idea into the mainstream more than 3 years ago and there have been many blog posts and talks about how our fear of missing out on whatever it is can be incredibly damaging to our own psyche and mental / physical health. Heck, it even has a wikipedia page.
Just think on it for a moment and you’ve probably experienced this fear as well as I have – it’s crazy the moment you name it and say it aloud, right?
I didn’t grow up wanting to be an entrepreneur. I, like most children, wanted to be a pro athlete and other such things. I can remember distinctly wanted to be a car mechanic at some point as well as someone who built bridges.
None of those things ever came to pass (at least not yet).
I’m iterating on Leonardo da Vinci’s very famous quote about art:
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
And I believe the application (pun intended) for software makes a lot of sense. I have been thinking about this non-stop since I released publicly my small indie app for desktop publishing and blogging, Desk.
I told a friend last night how it’s been humbling me something fierce with this particular app because I have a lot of blogging and writing friends who are using it and for whom I want it to work flawlessly.
A long-time friend and mentor of mine once gave me an interesting equation to consider when he was helping me with my next move. I had just gotten my ass kicked as a first-time executive in a Fortune 50 company and was looking to land on my next gig with the assurance that it wouldn’t be like the last time.
My friend, being an experienced executive recruiter with decades of experience under his belt, gave me the following equation to level-set my expectations:
When I first started blogging over 13 years ago I had very little intent and couldn’t possibly imagine that it would be something that would “stick” with me for years. I started small and there wasn’t any method or “strategy” or science to it in any way, shape, or form.
It was raw, unedited, and brutally honest. Over the years I lost some of that honesty as I started trying to be a “real” writer, a “real” blogger if you will, and I got lost in the mix of what I would suppose were attempts at becoming more “legit.”
I downloaded every widget, gadget, tool, app, and devoured “tips and tricks” from the real “pros” – I lost the love for the art and it became what we all dread will happen with the things that we love; it became work.
Do you want your app, your organization to thrive? Especially as a startup it is almost required that you become an outlier of sorts. But being an outlier can be lonely business as, per the definition, there just aren’t that many out there.
I love how Seth Godin puts this:
The easiest way to thrive as an outlier is to avoid being one.
He goes on to share succinctly that you must find the “treasured” few that will not only toe the line with you but walk with you on the very narrow path that you’ve decided to embark on:
I love this from Chris Dixon:
When you start a company, the most important consideration should be working on a product you love (a startup can be a 5+ year endeavor so if you don’t love it you probably won’t be able to endure the ups and downs).
A secondary consideration should be matching the skills of the founders to the market.
Mine for gold or sell pickaxes? Why not both? I think so.