Here’s a story that I heard:
A bright young man is on the edge of adulthood. At home, he has been encouraged to do the right things. Study hard and get a good profession and high status in the community. Instead of going to study medicine or engineering he has chosen to become a musician. He is faced by his grandmother:
Grandma: What is the benefit of that way of life?
The man: Grandma, what is benefit?
That is a really simple and extremely relevant question but good answers to it are difficult to find. Perhaps it would be easier to argue what benefit isn’t.
The word benefit has its origin in latin, good (bene) and help/service (facio). In our current society the word benefit has been almost exclusively reserved for money. And as we know, money is almost exclusively used in the service of good.
Money is never good only by itself. And although it is said that money doesn’t bring happiness, we could argue that money is good when it actually does bring happiness. That gets us to my favorite definition of benefit: “Whatever promotes personal happiness”.
It has been about 100 days since I first introduced the list of good ideas. Having the list has been an enormous asset. But it doesn’t work all the time.
Have you ever had the weird feeling of not understanding your own notes?
This is probably quite common when revisiting bad notes. My problem is that I think I only make notes that are relevant. The question is:
What on earth did I mean with these notes?
- “remember what Wili said“. Must have been something really important. Asking Wili himself what he might have said would be a bit awkward. If you recall something worth remembering he has told you, please let me know – it just might be it.
- “my ff is happy you“. I remember writing this down one evening as it was the clearest note ever. The following morning, I had absolutely no idea what ff meant. I’m quite sure it is something related to FinderBase or this blog or just generally a brilliant idea that needs to be implemented. Please help me out here. What could it be?
Which way is it?
Are the best ideas forgotten or are they best forgotten?
Under the weekend I met with a group of interesting people, including my three brothers. They have a habit of steering the discussion to the philosophical level. Here are two highlights that I’d like to mention.
Any argument is a reflection of a person’s own thoughts.
All people are irritated by something. Expressing one’s irritation is often an unsolved personal issue that has the habit of appearing ridiculous when explored a bit deeper.
Still, almost all people leave these issues unsolved. This leads to embittered behaviour that becomes increasingly difficult to solve.
A healthy environment of reflection and analysis from the peers is helpful to handle these issues. The more open the discussion, the better the expected result. This leads us to the second point.
How do you want to spend your time?
Every moment is unique. Everyone has the chance to cherish each moment of their lives if they want to. Doing this even for a few seconds per day would have a huge impact in the long run.
To me the best part of the weekend was when I was mocked about my table manners. Such argument can be quite beneficial to the whole dinner party.
So which one is it?
Negative feelings about this blog entry? What can you learn about yourself?
Positive feelings about this blog entry? Keep that thought and try to copy it to something else you do today.
While developing FinderBase.com, we’ve stumbled upon the notion of greater good. This theory comes from the utilitarian philosophy but I’m going to be practical here.
Some people don’t want to understand the greater good.
Our company has taken an approach to try to do its best to benefit the greater good. We believe that we can actually and positively contribute to the solution of a societal problem. We believe we can help the society to help its members unite with their lost belongings.
Now, most people we’ve met have instantly deemed our efforts futile. There are two objections that try to disregard the greater good:
- This will never become viable business. True enough, most businesses sell minor goods and some even average sized goods. But who sells a greater good and what would it cost to buy one?
- The openness will support criminal activity. This question is really relevant in today’s society. How many are really afraid enough of suicide bombers to limit bringing all liquids on board airplanes? Is the greater good of getting belongings back to their owners big enough compared to the risk of something ending up in the wrong hands?
What is your reason?
Can you see the greater good in FinderBase.com?
Today I had a good chat with a bunch of great guys working in the fields of Test-driven and Agile development.
Software development is a risky business.
Developing good quality software is a double-edged sword. Firstly, a software always seems to grow by time. Secondly, only a small software can be maintained free of defects. This being the case, it’s a miracle there is any decent software out there in the first place.
How does one get good quality then?
Here’s a short story about quality. Someone can probably point out the original source but this is the version that I heard:
American company buying Japanese components sometime back in the old days.
Americans: Our absolute quality measurement is six defective units per million.
Time passes and the products are delivered.
Japanese: Here are the million units that you ordered. We wondered why you wanted the six defective ones but we packed them here separately.
The lesson here is that quality is a function of the people who do their job. You can try to demand good quality but it’s difficult to enforce.
Luckily, there is a great measurement for quality.
No matter what you do, products, services, software or something else, this method applies. Just ask the customer of your product one question:
Would you recommend our product to your friends?
This was presented to me as the Harley-Davidson measurement. Their customers apparently answer “yes” 97 times of a hundred.
I spent the afternoon today attending the kick-off session for the Aalto ES Boot Camp. Big thanks go to Petteri Koponen and Taneli Tikka for the inspiring keynote speeches.
But what were you doing there?
I was asked this question a couple of times. Someone might consider it a bit awkward to attend an event that not only were you uninvited but your were especially rejected from the list of participants. Well, it wasn’t quite that bad but I still was the only rogue attendee.
This first event of the boot camp was about the essence of entrepreneurship. One recurring theme in all the keynotes was the persistence of the entrepreneurs – you have to persist through failure. You have to pitch your idea a 1000 times to get good at it.
The program itself presented the justification for my stay.
In the end of the day, it all came down to a one-minute pitch by each team. I wasn’t especially invited to pitch but I asked for a permission to do so. Hard to say to no to that.
The end result was that three people came personally to thank me for an excellent pitch and considered it to be the most memorable of all the 14 pitches. They could even be right. The whole situation was on my side:
- My presence there showed true entrepreneurial spirit.
- I was instantly different from everyone else.
- Being different means being more memorable.
- Since I was rejected, my idea wasn’t expected to be any good.
- I had absolutely no pressure to pitch well.
So, whatever you do, find a way to stand out in a positive way. Sometimes it’s good to be bad.
Speaker and author Richard St. John presented his eight secrets of success at the 2005 TED conference. This three-minute presentation is fascinating in its simplicity. I really recommend you to watch it.
Although I learned about Richard’s list only recently, these eight secrets have been the foundation of my project for the last 39 days.
- Passion. I’m thrilled about the things that we do. But what is even more important are the people who can share this passion.
- Work. Making a million in 139 days requires a great deal of work. I’m willing to push myself to the limit. But work doesn’t feel like work when you’re working with people and things that you really like.
- Good. I’m not good at everything. That is why I work with people who are good in what they do. Passionate hard work for anything makes you good at it. I going to be good at turning ideas into reality.
- Focus. The goal of this project has been clear from the start. The means to get there are a work-in-progress but we’re not far from founding a company that does one single thing, and does it well.
- Push. Working hard requires pushing yourself. Not everything is 100 % fun all the time. Writing one blog post per day needs some pushing.
- Serve. Serving other’s is the single most important factor of what I do. Firstly, I want to serve my team in giving them tasks that they love. Secondly, I want our team to be honestly willing to help others through what we’re going to accomplish.
- Ideas. I have a lot more ideas than is even required to make a million. One good idea is enough. But people keep sharing me their own ideas which is fantastic. We can change the world one good idea at a time.
- Persist. Richard put it well. Persist through CRAP. Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure. I get all of that and I’ve learned to like it.
The last thing that I would like to add to the list is Openness. Openly sharing your motives and intentions will help the team dynamics. At the point when we’re addressing our future customers, we will show how openness can be a critical success factor even in business life.
Posted in Daily entries
Tagged focus, good, ideas, openness, passion, persist, push, secret, serve, success, work