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Everything I’ve Learned About Entrepreneurship

Posted by in Essays, Letters and Writing


I’ve been building things on the Internet since I was 16. Some of them interesting, some failures, some of them really interesting failures. By luck and by skill and by bull-headed persistence I’ve managed to scratch out a pretty decent career doing this, and helping other people do this.

In that time, a handful of ideas crop up over and over again, ideas whose presence drives the successful projects and whose absence is at least partially responsible for the failures.

These are some of the best ones, in compact, highly tweetable form.

1. Test everything, embrace data, measure what you can and use those measurements to drive decisions.

2. Build coalition, recruit voices louder and larger than your own to spread your message.

3. Develop frameworks for getting things done, learn your limits and learn to work effectively within them.

4. Whatever you choose to do, do it consistently.

5. Outlast everyone, survive long enough to make the right mistakes.

6. Be radically flexible, understand that it’s OK to be wrong and the only good idea is the one that works.

7. Be polite but persistent, never be afraid to ask and ask again.

8. Don’t go it alone, find like-minded people to join you in the trenches.

9. Understand that people think differently than you do, and to work with them in any capacity you must respect that.

10. Work with people who are better than you at something, never be the smartest person in all of your rooms.

11. Be generous with your time, with your energy and with your expertise, graciousness is free and it often pays dividends.

12. Be broadly interested, learn something new about something new as often as you can.

13. Understand risk, respect risk, take large bets but never trivialize the odds.

14. Never sell yourself short, an expert is a novice who was courageous enough to look stupid and learn.

15. Do things, anything, everything, as many things as you can get away with, as many things as your life and situation allows.