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Weekly Reflection: Week Eighty

Today marks the end of my eightieth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week eighty:

  • Connecting – Had an opportunity to connect with folks in person this week. It was good, and it energized me. Zoom is time efficient, but face-to-face conversations can’t be replaced.
  • New beginnings – I spoke with a few people this week who are starting new chapters. It feels like lots of people are starting or getting ready to start new things. I’m excited to support them and can’t wait to see where they end up.
  • Feedback – I continued connecting with friends to get feedback on things I’m thinking about. I’m very thankful that I have people in my circle I can count on for great perspectives.  

Week eighty was an energizing week. The quarter is off to a good start. Looking forward to continuing the pace next week.

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You Have to Lose to Win

I listened to an early-stage founder, John, describe how he wanted to emulate a successful founder, Bob. John excitedly recapped Bob’s journey. John was planning to follow a similar path to success with his young company. But I noticed that John’s recap began where things had begun to go well for Bob. I know Bob’s story well. He endured years of painful failure. As I listened to John, I realized he didn’t know the full story. He’d only heard the happy parts.

I told John about Bob’s failures. He was surprised. He’d thought that an entrepreneurial journey that was only up and to the right—a string of successes—was conceivable.

Most successful people have failed miserably, but they kept at it. Failure is usually an important part of accomplishing anything great. What you learn from failure often creates the foundation needed for success. Put another way, you often must lose to win.

If you’re looking to do something great, prepare yourself for failure. Instead of letting it get you down, look at it as an education that took you one step closer to success.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Seventy-Nine

Today marks the end of my seventy-ninth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week seventy-nine:

  • Inbox zero – Another successful inbox-zero week with my main inbox. Still working on getting there with my secondary one. The goal is both inboxes at zero at the end of every day.  
  • Third quarter – Q3 was pretty busy. I noticed things picked up significantly in September. Overall, the quarter was productive. I think the beginning of Q4 will be a mad dash to get things done before the holidays.
  • Talking – Had some conversations with people close to me that were great in ways that I’d aimed for. I get a lot out of seeing things I’m thinking about through the eyes of people with different perspectives.

Week seventy-nine was very busy. So glad it’s over, and looking forward to unwinding this weekend.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Seventy-Eight

Today marks the end of my seventy-eighth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week seventy-eight:

  • Inbox zero – I’m more effective when I work through my inbox daily. I haven’t been doing as good a job with this as I’d like. This week, though, I was more consistent about checking something as done, delegating it, or deferring it to a later date (i.e., snoozing it to remove it from my inbox).  
  • Perspective – I focused on getting the perspective of credible people this week. Their feedback was insightful, and I’m glad I did this. Looking forward to continuing it.
  • Focused – I had clear written goals that I needed to accomplish by the end of the week. I made a point of revisiting that list every morning, which helped me focus on the activities that mattered most. The week ended up being productive in the ways that I’d aimed for.

Week seventy-eight was active. Lots of good things going on. I was more intentional and focused this week, which paid off.

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20-Year-Old Expert

Today I listed in on a conversation between two guys named Chris and Tom about a topic I’m interested in. The more I heard, the more amazed I was at how deep Chris’s knowledge is. Toward the end of the chat, I learned that Chris is a 20-year-old recent college dropout. He wasn’t satisfied with what he was learning in school. He felt his professors weren’t up-to-date on the latest trends and thinking. His education wasn’t equipping him to navigate what he was seeing in the real world every day. So, he dropped out and started educating himself by reading books and consuming online content from thought leaders. And he used his newly acquired knowledge to get a job in the field he wants to be in. Most likely he’s on his way to a lucrative career.

That may sound extreme, but stories like Chris’s will quickly become commonplace. More students will choose to bypass a traditional four-year education for a more customized path. They will go deeper into the topics that interest them much faster and begin to apply their new skills in the real world much faster than previous generations.

I suspect this dynamic will have a big impact on the workforce, as well as other parts of life. I’m not exactly sure how yet, but I’m curious to watch this play out.

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Knowledge Sharing

I had two unrelated conversations today in which the same issue was discussed: knowledge sharing. Both people I talked with believe that a knowledge-sharing deficit is having a negative impact in various areas. In some instances, it’s widening existing gaps; in others, it’s slowing the pace of progress.

When I started my company, my knowledge gaps around start-ups and technology were massive. I was lucky enough to be able to surround myself with other founders who were open to sharing their knowledge. I credit their willingness to share with accelerating the success of CCAW. Without them, I think it would have taken twice as long for us to reach $10 million in revenue—if we ever had.

Sharing knowledge can have a profound impact. My founder journey is a testament to that. For that reason, I try to share what I’ve learned (for whatever it’s worth) through daily posts and other means. I hope it’s helpful to some people and helps them get closer to achieving their goals.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Seventy-Seven

Today marks the end of my seventy-seventh week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week seventy-seven:

  • Resilience – I thought a lot about this and had some conversations about it. Life is full of ups and downs. Resilience helps people make it through the downs and is key to outsize success. It’s a big part of entrepreneurial success, for sure.
  • Atlanta – This week we saw another big win for Atlanta’s tech community with Mailchimp’s acquisition announcement. Excited to see the city getting some much-deserved acknowledgment.

Week seventy-seven was a busy, steady one. I made good progress in some important areas. Aiming to continue that momentum next week.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Seventy-Six

Today marks the end of my seventy-sixth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week seventy-six:

  • Patterns – I took some time to step back and look at things from a higher level this week. I recognized some patterns that I’ll use to make better decisions.  
  • Short week – I love holiday weeks, but the downside is a condensed workweek (the same amount of work, less time to do it). Still, wouldn’t trade my three-day weekends for anything.
  • Perspectives – I learn and grow the most when I’m around people who aren’t like me. Exposure to perspectives I either haven’t considered or haven’t understood is good for me. I want to look for more of these opportunities.    

Week seventy-six was a steady one. I’m ready to push through September for a strong end to the quarter.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Seventy-Five

Today marks the end of my seventy-fifth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week seventy-five:

  • Patience – Some situations take time to line up the way I want before I can execute or move forward. Patience is needed. Over the years, I’ve learned to not jump the gun. This week was a reminder of that.
  • Holiday – I didn’t realize Labor Day was next week until Wednesday. That was a nice midweek boost. I love three-day weekends and holidays, and I’m looking forward to enjoying this holiday.
  • August – The month went by quickly. We’re now in the last month of the third quarter. I spent time thinking about what I want to get done this quarter, and I need to push pretty hard this month to hit my goals.  

Week seventy-five was great. I’m looking forward to recharging over the holiday so I can finish out the third quarter strong.  

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Ideas Are Never Too Early for Feedback

I had a conversation with a buddy about a real estate solution this past week. I recognized a problem and called him to get his perspective because he has years of experienced in the space. He agreed the problem is real and the solution seems viable. However, he questioned whether using resources to execute the solution would be the best use of those resources. Based on his experience, he thinks the same resources could be used to implement four smaller solutions in roughly the same time or less. Those four solutions could create value for more people than the larger single solution would.

I’m so glad I asked my buddy for his thoughts. My early thoughts weren’t developed and structured. Even with the rough starting point, though, his experience allowed him to see things  I couldn’t. After hearing his perspective, I’m thinking about this solution differently.

This was a reminder for me that it’s never too early to begin talking with others about ideas. Those conversations can reveal gaps in my thinking and refine it.

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