You Always Need Luck (the lesson of JK Rowling & Robert Galbraith)

Harry Potter author JK Rowling provided an excellent illustration of why you always need luck with her most recent book, “The Cuckoo’s Calling.”  Here’s a succinct Bloomberg article by Duncan Watts that explains the tale:http://bloom.bg/15XEAab After finishing with the Potterverse, Rowling turned to adult fiction with her first non-Potter book, “The Casual Vacancy,” which met … Continue reading You Always Need Luck (the lesson of JK Rowling & Robert Galbraith)

Success isn’t about Money, it’s about Time

Dave Winer is a true technology legend.  He founded his first company in 1981, and became a high-tech millionaire in 1987 when he sold it to Symantec…and that was all before he created blogging, RSS, OPML, and podcasting.  He’s uniquely positioned to comment on the impact of monetary “success” in Silicon Valley: http://bit.ly/12ABJmx “A few … Continue reading Success isn’t about Money, it’s about Time

Memory matters more than ever

There’s a brand of technology enthusiasts who hail the power of “external memory.”  According to these true believers, you don’t need to bother remembering things; simply put it into Evernote, find it on Facebook/LinkedIn, or if all else fails, Google it. This external memory is phenomenally powerful, and I rely on it constantly when I’m … Continue reading Memory matters more than ever

Build Great Products That Solve Important Problems

If I had to boil down my best startup advice into a single sentence, I’d tell people: “Build great products that solve important problems.” If you solve an important problem, people will try and pay for your product.  Getting someone to pay for your product is the surest path to revenues. Yet simply solving an … Continue reading Build Great Products That Solve Important Problems

Warren Buffett and the Circle of Competence

Continuing my Sunday afternoon Buffettology, I want to highlight one of Warren Buffett’s key principles, “The Circle of Competence”. http://bit.ly/19LxN7p What Buffett means is that the size of the circle and the area it encloses is less important to success than understanding the clear boundaries of that circle.  As long as you know the area … Continue reading Warren Buffett and the Circle of Competence

Warren Buffett’s Secret of Success

Warren Buffett’s biography, “The Snowball“, is a remarkable book that covers both his incredible career as an investor and businessman, as well as the details of his unusual personal life.  Buffett gave his biographer Alice Schroeder full access, with the proviso that she not be afraid to be hard on him.  Her portrait of Buffett … Continue reading Warren Buffett’s Secret of Success

You can be a warrior without being a diva

In America, we seem to believe that to be a great success, you need to be a bit of a jerk.  The classic example is basketball star Michael Jordan (and his intentional clone Kobe Bryant).  As a player, he was fiercely competitive to the point of getting into fistfights with his teammates during practice.  He … Continue reading You can be a warrior without being a diva

Get the big rocks rolling

You’ve probably heard the parable of “put the big rocks first”: http://bit.ly/17RwBxG The point of “big rocks” is that you need to fit the stones and pebbles in your life around the big rocks, rather than vice versa. I’d like to propose a corollary of “put the big rocks first.”  I call it, “Get the … Continue reading Get the big rocks rolling

Do something every day towards your three big priorities

Focus, focus, focus. Focus is the key to startup success.  You have fewer resources than established companies.  Your only path to success is to focus those limited resources in a tightly-defined problem space, so that your concentrated effort burns the hapless ant of success. Easier said than done, right?  I have a very simple system … Continue reading Do something every day towards your three big priorities

To succeed, focus on something other than “rightness”

This Facebook post by Facebook developer Ryan Patterson got a lot of attention; as of the writing of this post, it had 734 Likes (thanks to an appearance on the front page of Hacker News): http://on.fb.me/ZBOV8W It is a sincere and well-written post.  But I want to address what I perceive could be a dangerous … Continue reading To succeed, focus on something other than “rightness”