Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sourcing stories from Quora

As I’ve recently clarified what the mission should be for PreAcquaint, I began to ask myself what topics should the site really address.
This gave me an idea for a little hack.
It so happens that a lot of these questions are already answered on Quora, or if not, I can ask them there and someone will likely answer them.
And then I can post the answers on PreAcquaint.com, and doing so does not violate Quora’s terms of service, as long as attribution and a link are included in the story.
I even find that this does not create a conflict between the purpose of the two sites.
Quora is self-described as “a knowledge-sharing community that depends on everyone being able to pitch in when they know something”, while PreAcquaint.com’s purpose is to “share inspiring stories from real people which create empathy”. And the stated company mission is “to create empathy while acquainting the world”.
So in the process of building a repository of stories that create empathy and share what something is really like, this seems to me  like a perfectly acceptable, albeit temporary, hack.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Clarity

It’s really interesting.
On the one hand, as I’ve explained a few weeks back, I’ve had to jettison a lot of extraneous responsibilities so as to focus on what really matters.
On the other hand, I’ve nonetheless kept reading and studying, and it so happens that I’ve only recently finally *fully* grasped what the true motivation for wanting to do a startup should be, as well as understanding the full set of mechanics involved in doing one, with a sense of clarity that I didn’t have before.
As I have been somewhat detached from it all in the last few weeks, I have felt no pressure to make sure that the idea I've been working on was viable at this point in the context of my newly acquired knowledge.
I have let it all go.
But when I sit with a cup of tea at 6 o’clock in the morning when the apartment is quiet and it’s dark out, or as I lie in bed ready to fall asleep, when I wake up during the night or whenever I’m alone driving in the car, etc., I ponder the question of “What should really exist in the world that I can see that others can’t?”
The net result is that the purpose of why I wanted to start PreAcquaint in the first place is reemerging. And it stands before my mind’s eye in a purer form, for me to contemplate, whether I do something about it or not.
And this clarity of purpose in turn has led to a clarity of the mission.
The newly clarified mission statement for PreAcquaint.com is as follows:
“To create empathy (between people) while acquainting the world (to one another)”.
Whatever form this germ of a thought ultimately takes, or could potentially take, is something that definitely should exist in the world.
Whether in the end it does or not, won’t change the fact that it should.
It’s been said that there are a lot of big minds chasing small ideas in Silicon Valley.
I firmly believe there is still some room left for the big ideas.
Those are the ones that definitely need to exist in the world.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hindsight vs foresight

We’ve all heard that hindsight is 20 / 20.
It’s like being able to look back in the fog — (for some reason it’s always clearer than looking ahead).
However, there’s a skill related to hindsight that’s important, I think.
It’s the ability to interpret and give perspective to what has happened so as to provide enlightenment.
Foresight, obviously, is being able to tell what will happen. It requires insight.
It’s like turning on the fog lights and finally being able to see ahead.
A particular foresight can be shared, thereby providing others the ability to look ahead as well where they themselves lack the skill.
As a case in point of someone possessing both abilities, Fred Wilson has written two back-to-back blog posts this week, which together, exemplify this skill set; the first one constituting a looking back, and the second, a glancing ahead.
Myself, as someone personally obsessed with wanting to find out what various things are like in life, such as “Excuse me Sir, what is it like to…”, or “Excuse me Ma’am, what was it like to …”, I have so far “grammatically” given a lot of focus to the past and present tenses. That’s because I wanted to “dig in” on the concept of empathy.
Moving forward, I’m seriously considering giving it’s fair share of the focus to uncovering what it shall be like to… in various quarters.
When you think of it, foresight is an indispensable skill for repeated success in life, and particularly vital for a CEO, for example.
Having mastery at both is even better.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Stanford University's 'How to Start a Startup' Course

I’ve been trying to understand the most raw, basic, lowest common denominators about startups since January 2010.
I’ve done a lot of reading between then and now, I’ve learned a lot in the process and I keep learning every day.
But until now I have felt that some of the fundamentals were eluding me.
Those types of underpinning principles, that once understood, you can really start thinking on your two feet.
Well, it all came together nicely after I started the “How to Start a Startup Course”.
I was instinctively onto something, but it’s all much clearer now.
The best reason to start a startup is because you know the world needs what your service or product will deliver and therefore you can’t not do it.
Furthermore, you should be the best, most qualified person to do this ‘for the sake of the world’, otherwise you’d be better off leaving the right person to execute on the idea instead of you, even if it means for you not doing that particular startup altogether. If you outcompete the individuals who are better suited to the task, you are essentially shortchanging the world of the benefits it would receive from having that team who can best deliver.
The world will always need you, find where and follow that path.
Doing a startup is really hard and will require an unbalanced life while you build it. You will need drive, passion, obsession, tenacity and resilience in order to suffer through the process and assemble and lead the team that will execute at a high level and ultimately win against all odds. It will likely take 5 years out of your life if you fail, and more like 10 if you succeed.
So don’t get into a startup lightly.
Do it or stay away.
Employee #100 at Facebook has made $200,000,000 — more than 80% of startups founders have ever made at a successful exit.
So do a startup for the right reasons.
I strongly recommend doing this course.
It’s a real eye opener.
It’s free.
I’m doing it inside the iTunesU app, right on my iPad Mini.