We make comparisons between business and sports all the time. We talk about hitting a home run, taking more shots, playing defense. But one of the challenges of business, compared to sports, is the rarity of the unadulterated victory. Whether it’s a friendly pick up game to a state title to the Olympics, winning a competition offers something pure and simple. A true win. Yes, the victory may be temporary – next round, next game, next season – but it’s still very real, very tangible. Continue reading…
Have you ever looked at someone who was really good at what they did and felt a little daunted?
Maybe it’s how they seem to easily make connections with new people, or design an amazing-looking web page over a weekend, or how they casually mention the 6 miles they ran before breakfast today.
It’s natural to feel intimidated by someone who’s really good at what they do and get a little insecure about yourself. It happens to me on occasion. But whenever I find myself falling into that trap, I remember something I learned from 16 years of gymnastics: Continue reading…
In the past three years, I’ve put countless hours into The Art of Ass-Kicking. It’s been a lot of work, but also tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally. More than a hobby, this blog has become an integral part of my life. I write to internalize what I’ve learned, and to share with with you, my readers.
In the early spring of 2013, I was thinking about where I could take the blog next, and after a conversation with Kai Davis, decided to publish a book that represented by best ideas, stories and strategies.
Over the course of many months, I put together a book that spans three major themes: focusing our Minds, strengthening our Bodies, and increasing the impact of our Work. I edited and rewrote thirty-one essays (representing over 50k words), designed a cover and three pieces of original quote typography, recruited Sebastian Marshall to write a foreword, and navigated the Amazon Kindle Publishing program.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that my book is now available for download on Amazon as a Kindle ebook.
My book is currently being edited for a V2 release
Note: through October 22nd, there’s also a special giveaway related to the book launch. Scroll down to learn more. Continue reading…
< Most people do the bare minimum and no more. The term paper requires 5 pages. The new job requires you to be in at 8am. The exercise routine calls for three rounds of 12 reps. Why do more? Save your energy, save your time, save your money. The problem is, if you apply this approach to everything, you'll only ever get opportunities that are "the bare minimum". To land that amazing new position working on special projects that just opened up, or that spacious, below-market room in a great neighborhood, or that smart, funny and gorgeous guy/gal, you've got to be willing to go above and beyond. Investing an unusual amount of creativity, dedication, spunk or just plain hustle can often pay huge dividends.
But if that’s too hard, you could always just do the bare minimum and hope for the best…
I’ve been speaking with some Y Combinator hopefuls as they prepare to interview for this coming batch. As usual, there are some really enthusiastic and super smart folks working to solve really interesting and important problems.
I love taking these meetings because I get to get back to the community that has supported me plus I learn a ton in the process. For instance, it was from all these meetings last time around where I wrote my most popular post of 2012: 11 compelling startup pitch archetypes.
This post addresses a very specific piece of the startup pitch: selling the dream.
The Final 10%
The vast majority of your pitch should be around the mechanics of your business: your customers, your product, your team, your distribution strategy. This is what’s going to make you successful: competent people who really understand the needs of their users and who have the ability to create the right product to address those needs and get it into the hands of their users.
But, there is a final 10% of your pitch which should be more aspirational. It’s about the vision, the dream, the magic. It’s the answer to the question “How is this going to be a billion-dollar business?” 
Two of the companies that I’ve spoken to were missing that part of their pitch. They had identified a market segment which had a burning problem, and their products all that problem, and they had good specific strategies to acquire those customers. This is a great start. 
But they were missing that aspirational story.