The oldest file on my computer is called “Shit_To_Remember.txt.” This file is over 15 years old and even survived my move from PC to Mac in 2008. Over the years, as I learned from my experiences building a business or a product, I’d add a simple note to remind myself of it later.
Here are ten of the “truths” that I’ve learned over the years that I think are might be relevant today:
- No job is beneath you. Clean the bathroom, handle support issues. Some of the best ideas good leaders have come from “doing the work,” and rarely come during expensive retreats.
- Build a business that lasts. Stop glorifying serial entrepreneurs; they are tourists.
- Humility is a skill. You have to develop it through constant practice.
- Stop calling your customers “users.” It dehumanizes people and makes it easy to abuse them.
- Bootstrap your ideas. Worthwhile ideas don’t require a VC’s money.
- Growth hackers and salespeople do not dictate product decisions.
- Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick…
- The best people on your team will almost always fail whiteboard coding tests and almost certainly won’t look like you.
- Say “no” more, sometimes, even when you aren’t sure why.
- Go home at the end of the day. Not only physically, but also with your mind and spirit. You will destroy everything you care about if you don’t.
Years later I still struggle with these at different times, but I’ve found that in most sticky situations, one of these will provide a clear answer.