I'm going to try building a product and hopefully a startup. I have no clue how I'm going to do it let alone what this "product" might be. I just know that I want to.
Exactly. I have no idea. The only "idea" I've had is to try journaling it from the very beginning to either success or failure. By beginning, I mean the absolute beginning - pre-idea, pre-revenue, pre-lean-startup-indoctrination, etc. And by journalilng, I mean transparent, matter-of-fact, truth.
I have a lot of personal reasons, but the ones that stand out to me are:
- It will keep me honest about progress.
- I'll have a bigger level of accountability (due to it being public).
- I wanted a place for me thoughts. Making it public will keep me from ignoring it.
...and most of all...
Because Advice from the Successful is Flawed.
Out of college, I spent most of my time following the advice from successful people. This means authors, big names, mentors, etc. Sure, some of it has worked... but I've found the majority of it is lacking honesty and context. Let me explain.
I don't mean the succesful are lying.
I'm saying that they aren't considering all of the small things which really make a difference. For example, one of my favorite things to ask founders and other successful people I've run into is with respect to work-life-balance. What do you think most of the top level advice is?
You need to keep a healthy balance for sure!
But double check. Ask them about how much they worked vs. "lived" when their startup was at its genesis. One of my favorite cases was going through Brad Feld's Startup Life book. The book is really transparent about the fact that Brad didn't really have a balance... but then proceeds to say that work-life-balance should be kept.
Let's look at something a bit more objective. In Talent is Overrated and Malcom Gladwell's Blink there's an example of how world class tennis players perform. When going to receive a serve, average players would "keep their eye on the ball." BUT. When researchers tracked world class players on video, they found that they would instead watch the opponent's hips, legs, arms, and shoulders to find where the ball was going. And yet... one of the key pieces of advice we here (even from world class players) is to keep our eyes on the ball.
So, by honesty, I mean that they just aren't aware of things that had become habitual and/or natural. Habits allow us to free up thought space in our brain for more complex thought. It's my conclusion that the "successful" encounter this same phenomenon when trying to give advice. And although you may have the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" down, it's very likely you're not where Stephen Covey is. If you are at that level of success, and do follow those 7 habits, I'd bet a very large sum of money those aren't the only things you practice.
Success, Like Great Design, is the Result of a Thousand Subtleties. Not Top 10 Lists.
Therefore, my idea for this journal is to try and document ALL THE THINGS (haha) as I go. I've never seen anything that attempts to do this. I want to try and capture what I'm doing right and wrong. And whether it fails or succeeds, it will help someone else...
Because I won't be giving hindsight. I'll be journaling my present experiences.
Hindsight is dangerous and misleading. And yet, that's exactly what advice is. We try to chalk our victories and defeats into a couple of bullet points. Not out of malice, but mainly unawareness. The problem is that it can highly damage those who follow it zealously.
What I'm Doing Here
The first few posts will begin with the basics of "Me" and my current situation. This is the result of one of my petpeeves when trying to gather advice from a person. When I see that "success story X" comes from a founder who was born into a wealthy family of harvard graduates, I stop reading right there. It has nothing to do with envy or disgust. It's just that since their situation is so radically different from my own, their advice is much more likely to be irrelevant.
After that, I'll be weaving in brainstorming and thought processing while I decide on some idea to execute. This will likely consist of me posting thoughts on a myriad of books and ideation sources I'll be drawing from. I've got some hunches here and there, so hopefully this won't be too long.
From there, I'll begin building. This will consist of updates of nuances along the way, and very likely programming and design tutorials. I've found that the best way to solidify knowledge is trying to explain it.
...And that's as far head as I've planned. This will be personal too, so while I have an "order" to it in mind, I can't promise it will be pristine. I'm sure that I'll weave tons of other random things in as well.
J Cole Morrisonhttp://start.jcolemorrison.com
Startup Engineering, former Techstars Hackstar, AWS Solutions Architect and Culture guy. Based out of Sacramento, California.