Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Seven
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-seventh week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-seven:
- Focus – In my downtime, I’ve been learning about society’s inability to focus. I read about a new habit that helps with focus and other things. I tried it this week, and the early results are good. I plan to keep up this habit for a month before committing to it for longer.
- Packed schedule – This week was packed with meetings, including a half-day one. I was intentional about scheduling time to focus, which worked out well.
- Paying it forward – I spent half a day this week learning more about three early-stage businesses and providing feedback. These types of feedback sessions can be life changing for entrepreneurs, which is why I enjoy doing them. I remember this phase well and want to do for others what was done for me.
- Pitch – I’ve been honing my pitch with friendlies who are aware of the problem/industry. This week I pitched non-friendlies who don’t know the space. It went over well. Still some things to improve, but it’s getting better.
- Networks – This week was a reminder to share what you’re doing. You never know who knows whom.
- 2023 – I’m starting to think about next year and what habits I want to stop, start, or continue.
Week one hundred thirty-seven was a busy week. Looking forward to next week!
Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Six
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-sixth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-six:
- Deal negotiating – A deal is good when neither party gets exactly what they want but both parties are good with the end result. This week was a reminder that keeping the spirit of the relationship in mind is important when negotiating deals. If you want a long-term partnership, the deal should reflect that goal. If it’s a one-time transaction, not so much.
- Fundraising – I’ve talked with a few companies beginning their fundraising efforts now. The macro environment is tough, and the holidays are approaching fast. Fundraising is taking longer than these founders anticipated, and some are reducing round size and valuations to get the rounds done.
- Low meeting bar – This week I had a few meetings that were the result of setting my meeting bar low. They had some unexpected positive outcomes. I like the idea of keeping my meeting bar low when time allows. It keeps me closer to ground level and allows for serendipity.
Week one hundred thirty-six was productive. I made some great unexpected connections. Looking forward to next week!
Where Will You End Up?
A seasoned executive I respect emailed me a quote this week:
If you don't know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.
It’s a simple, powerful, and thought-provoking statement. And I agree with what Yogi said. Having a clear destination (or direction at least) helps me deal with all the uncertainty and noise in the world. It allows me to stay calm in stressful situations and make the right decision. I think about where I want to be and confidently evaluate decisions based on whether they get me closer to or further away from that destination. My decisions might be counter to what others would do in the short term, and I sometimes hear questions or criticisms from people who don’t understand one of my decisions. I’m able to confidently (and respectfully) tune that noise out, because the right decision is obvious to me, given my destination.
Yogi is right. If you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to go, you’ll definitely end up someplace else. So where do you want to go?
Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Five
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-fifth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-five:
- Sluggishness – I was under the weather this week, which wasn’t ideal. My productivity was noticeably affected. Feeling better now and looking forward to next week.
- Complex concepts – This week was a reminder of how important it is to communicate new or complex concepts using a simple visual image. A picture is worth a thousand words—but it can be hard to come up with the right one.
Week one hundred thirty-five was sluggish and only semi-productive. Looking forward to next week.
New Networks = New Ideas
I shared some views on the importance of networks with someone recently, including how being part of different networks helped me navigate my early founder journey.
One thing I didn’t realize back then was that being part of diverse networks was valuable because it exposed me to new ideas. I learned about all sorts of things I would have never known about. Some of those ideas became transformational for me, altering my trajectory. Exposure to new ideas is something I now seek out, because it helps elevate my awareness about the world and my thinking in general.
If you want exposure to new ideas, consider joining different networks.
Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Four
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-fourth week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-four:
- Venture Atlanta – This was a busy week in the Atlanta start-up ecosystem, with Venture Atlanta and a variety of other supporting events all week. I met some great people, many of whom were from out of town. Overall, it was a great week with great energy.
- You never know – I caught up with two out-of-town friends today. I shared an idea with them, and both offered to introduce me to people who could be helpful. I was surprised by these offers to make intros because I didn’t know these people were in their networks. Today was a reminder that you never know whom someone knows, so you should always keep people in the loop regarding what you’re working on and how they can help.
Week one hundred thirty-four was a long week of networking. Looking forward to next week.
Mentoring Is Available to All Founders
Mentoring is important to founders. Good mentors can help you get to your destination faster. They have experience, and they can share with you what they’ve learned from it—that’s a lot of the value of a mentor. You can incorporate their learnings into your decision-making and make better decisions without giving up the time it takes to live those experiences. It’s common for a founder’s trajectory to be changed forever by sitting down with an accomplished entrepreneur for thirty minutes.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the right network to get mentoring from an accomplished entrepreneur. The network distance is just too far. Founders shouldn’t let that stop them—learning from others can be accomplished in other ways. I think autobiographies and biographies are a great alternative. Many founders who’ve had a massive impact on society are the subjects of biographies or autobiographies, and their learnings are usually incorporated into these books. That wisdom won’t tell you how to build your business, make a specific decision, or be related to your industry. But these books will share the path these entrepreneurs took, what they learned along the way, and what allowed them to succeed.
If you’re a founder hoping to fill your experience gap through mentorship, consider picking up some books!
Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Three
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-third week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-three:
- Getting better – Last week, an idea I pitched got a warm reception during a few conversations. This week, people were interested in it. That’s better but still not great. I need to keep in mind that these are all friendlies. I’ll keep tightening it up and improving it.
- Network distance – The number of relationships through which a piece of information must travel to connect two individuals is network distance. It’s a real thing and can be a big hurdle for people. This week was a reminder that if you keep hustling, keep shaking trees, you’re more likely to close the gap and connect with the people you’re targeting.
- Change of scenery – I focused on things that required some creativity. At the suggestion of a buddy, I tried changing up my location. It worked. I got in the groove and came up with some great stuff because of that change. For me, the more natural light, the better.
Week one hundred thirty-three was a week of breakthroughs. Looking forward to next week.
Weekly Reflection: Week One Hundred Thirty-Two
Today marks the end of my one-hundred-thirty-second week of working from home (mostly). Here are my takeaways from week one hundred thirty-two:
- Still needs more work – Last week, an idea I pitched got a decent reception. This week, the reception was warm. I still need to refine the pitch and tighten it up to make it more succinct, but it’s moving in the right direction.
- Network – My conversations this week got me thinking more about networks and how to increase the value of a network to the people in it.
- Meetings – I traveled this week. It was great to get in-person time with people I haven’t seen in a while. In person, you can have conversations that are more productive than Zoom meetings, and you can strengthen relationships in ways you can’t over Zoom.
Week one hundred thirty-two was productive but tiring. Looking forward to next week.
To Recharge Your Brain, Set a Problem Aside
The last few weeks, I’ve been focused on solving a complex problem. It’s been iterative and hasn’t always moved as quickly as I’d like. I normally work on it on weekends too. But this weekend, I didn’t. Instead, I attended an event with extended family and friends. I gave myself permission to not think about the problem for a few days, and I’m glad I did.
It was great to be fully present to celebrate with people I care about. It was also nice to reset mentally. Today, when I began to work on the problem a bit more, I had renewed energy and some fresh ideas.
This weekend was a reminder that sometimes it’s best to put something away for a few days and then come back to it with a fresh mind and renewed energy.