Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

steve jobs

i remind myself of this every day.

(via heyamberrae)


Reblogged from Amber Rae
First, get down and do the work. There will be a lot of sceptics, but if you believe in it, go for it. “Second, be sensible about economics. If you write a forecast, you have to accept that it will not work out. I’ve never seen a single one that worked out. Be realistic about your burn rate. Concentrate on keeping your costs low and working out which information to pay attention to. “Third, listen to smart people. With Twitter and other social networking tools, you can get a lot of advice from great people. I learn more from Twitter than any survey or discussion with a big company. Put your consumers in focus, and listen to what they’re actually saying, not what they tell you. Look behind the feedback into the stats and see how people are actually using the product.
Understand the market
Entrepreneurs should be clear about the market space they are entering. Define the size of the market, the current competitors and any barriers to entry. Market sizing is often a difficult step in new industries as it can be hard to determine a figure that clearly states the size of the market. Entrepreneurs should build a “top down” as well as “bottoms up” model to understand the scale of the opportunity. A top down model estimates the overall size of the existing industry and then tries to estimate the portions of that market that can be served by the new offering. A bottoms up model, starts from the actual service offering and tries to estimate the number of consumers that will adopt the new service and therefore the revenues that will be generated. As you assess the market potential be sure to determine the competitive points of differentiation and articulate the clear benefits to the consumer. Try to identify technology based competitive differentiators. Build your team around the consumer pain points Clearly articulate the pain points. Entrepreneurs should be intimately familiar with the drivers in the industry, the consumer pain points and the trends that are influencing change within the sector. In order to thoroughly understand the sector, entrepreneurs should actively speak to people who work in the industry and perform a limited test with consumers to elicit their feedback. As you begin to understand the consumer value, use this data to build the product or service proposition. Ensure that you build the knowledge and expertise in your team to effectively address the consumer pain. Vision without execution is worthless Execution is key. While you may be able to size a market, articulate a vision and rally a team around an idea, day-to-day execution is what creates value. This is not a small or easy task and can often be an entrepreneur’s biggest test of courage, commitment and conviction. Starting a business is not for the faint at heart. Entrepreneurs must define early and often the reasons why they believe they will be successful and continue to organize their team around the execution needs. That alone will help them attain their goals. As you go through these early stages of building the business obsess about the customer and ensure that your first customers are happy, and become strong word of mouth advocates of your proposition - it is always more expensive to try to win over a lost customer than it is to retain a customer.
Solve your own problem The best solutions will come when you are working to solve a problem that is deeply impacting you. Avoid solutions in search of a problem. Russell adds: The idea for AdMob came when Omar found it very hard to market a mobile service that he’d launched. If you’re interested about what that was, I wrote about it back in 2005. In retrospect, I am very pleased that I liked his original concept, otherwise things might have worked out very differently for me and AdMob! The first idea is probably the most important Many great businesses were built on the back of one fundamental insight. Much of the rest is just execution. You shouldn’t have to push You want an idea that gains traction and accelerates on its own after you give it the first push. If you have to continuously infuse energy to help it grow, you should probably go back to the drawing board. Pay no attention to common knowledge Too many people claim to know too much. The largest opportunities are found in ideas that go against the grain. Try often, fail fast What you are doing is wrong most of the time. Don’t spend too long examining every rock. If it’s really a diamond you’ll know. Businesses make money Think about the business model from the start. Russell adds: This is a school of thought and one that’s very popular in times of recession. For an alternative view, see Linked In’s Reid Hoffman, who says it’s all about users and you’ll figure a way to make money later. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, all have enjoyed very high valuations, but the jury is still out as to how/if they’ll ever generate significant revenues. Break the speed breakers Whatever is slowing you down isn’t helping. If you KNOW the launch will do damage, then investigate. If you don’t know what it will do, then go faster so you can find out. If something ALWAYS slows you down, get rid of it.
Your idea probably sucks, and it doesn’t matter because your business will probably turn out to be something completely different.