1. Get rid of the marketing goons. All they will tell you is how to follow the crowd. Making your own path will be harder and slower to success, but eventually more valuable and rewarding.
2. Get out there and live. Dive into an area of expertise. Only once you have achieved genuine proficiency and a depth of specialized knowledge will you understand that part of the universe well enough to think of a truly great innovation.
3. Forget money. Make something that is great and useful to you. Eventually, the money will come. If it doesn’t, it means you weren’t lucky enough, and that’s life. You still made something great, and that’s better than wasting your life chasing money and fame by doing something stupid.
4. Start with the small problems and work your way up. Theranos failed because they tackled a huge problem (low volume blood analysis) before solving all the small problems along the way.
5. Try to do something useful. If you prioritize making money over making something worthwhile, you are just going to accelerate our destruction. Remember, a study recently showed 98% of bugs in a rain forest had gone. If that doesn’t sound like the end of days to you, you need to wake up. A dying planet doesn’t need another way to trade fucking derivatives. If you’re going to destroy the planet to do it, it better be worth it.
6. Remember the big ideas. Curing disease, reversing aging, understanding protein folding, and figuring out what the unknown 95% of the universe is made of. If you spend you life on these problems, it won’t be wasted, even if you are not particularly successful. And you don’t have to chase a big idea to notice clues along the way, or to make the tools that others can use to get further along a meaningful path.
Amen. This seems to be one of the primary problems with the tech industry today. Is building another convenience app for X really a good use of time for bright and talented individuals when there are so many pressing problems to solve? But I guess as long as the money is flowing there will be people willing to do these things.
I'd love to figure out how I can apply my software engineering skills toward something more "worthwhile", while also making decent money. It's hard when at this point many of the real pressing problems for humanity to me don't seem to really involve software as a primary component. I feel like we've reached diminishing returns with software. But maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.
> [..] A dying planet [..]
the planet isn't dying. Its gonna be fine after our extinction in a few years.
keep in mind that a lot of people don't have enough financial stability to actually do follow their dreams, or don't have any dreams to begin with.
Not everyone can nor should work on these topics. Its great if people feel empowered enough to actually look at these challenges, but most of us wouldn't be a good fit for such an environment.
Would you mind sharing about your experiences with some insights in how applying the above went for you?
Small problems absolutely lead to the big ones. Takes openness and humility to not marginalize an idea. Ie, it's good karma to help people with their excel sheet, often the sheets that are out of control are proving the need for software to be built.
Becoming good at things means adding and create real value. I consulted in tech focusing on B2B for a while, which naturally became what I do today. Expertise, experience and ability to apply tech to problems is a great way to be able to recognize and execute on opportunities. Serving problems (especially small ones with big impact) is an incredible idea generation factory of finding small, medium and large things that are needed and have a chance to work.
But the money thing.. Many (most) people have to pay their way in the world, instead of living and paying on sometimes dime. It's not about being wildly rich, but discounting and ignoring money altogether might be as disastrous down the road. Often, you have to build the small thing to prove demand for the big thing. Some focus on enough money is critical to bake into the bread.
To me, this is the most important advice. A lot of times you might be doing everything right and you aren't successful in terms of money. That's just the way it goes sometimes. Luck/serendipity is a big part of the formula.
Money isn't the only resource. Time, energy, attention, natural resources, and other finite things also exist.
If you aren't making something less resource intensive for somebody, it's just a fun hack. Which, maybe that's what you're shooting for, but it's also a local maximimum.
So who are you? Not to discredit your list, but I only listen to people who have walked the walk.
The most valuable articles to me always follow this concept:
"Hey, this is where we were at x time ago, and this is were we are now. We did the following things, including these stupid non-intuitive mistakes. These other things seemed to work for us"
The second step is to think outside the box. There are problems that cannot be solved, problems that can be solved in conventional ways and there are the ones in between. It is the ones in between that are ripe for innovation. We all have conceptual buckets, things like "AI" or "on demand software" but conceptual buckets are deadly to innovation. They become the reasons things can't be done or should be done in some conventional way. Certainly, being aware of AI is good, being aware of blockchains is good. Thinking they are the "answer" is not good. Remember the Zune!
Follow the path. Innovations have a logic and truth of their own. Airbnb started with the idea of air mattresses, but they adapted and followed the path inherent in their idea. Have the tenacity to follow where your innovation leads (but try not to be stupid about it).
Be lucky, as in make yourself some luck. Success happens when you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right innovation. (And being early can be as bad as being late). Success may not come the first time, or second or ..., but factoring in multiple attempts improves your chances and you gain experience to boot.
I very much doubt the tedious and meticulous process outlined by the author has ever led to success for anyone in the software field. In a fraction of the time that would probably take, you could write an MVP, throw it out there, and get far more valuable real-life feedback on what the market thinks.
As for a good read on the article's topic, the gold standard is still this in my opinion:
But really I think the main bottleneck keeping most devs from starting a business is just how time consuming sales is, and partnering up with a sales guy just isn't a good idea for a variety of reasons.
I'm not entirely sure what a solution would look like. A concierge-type service that connects entrepreneurs with marketing channels?
Can you elaborate please?
With one guy, we moved in together, I built out a basically-functional prototype and wanted to get market feedback. But he kept wanting to add features and just wasn't helpful at all in the making of the product. And he didn't seem to want to do what I saw as his job, selling the prototype. I felt like I was doing all the work and ended the endeavor. We remain friends and chat regularly, but I'm not jumping back into bed with him unless he can bring something real to the table.
If product direction issues don't sink you, personal differences don't, at the end of the day, working closely with another person with a different mindset is just really hard, and it can easily be harder than just doing it all yourself.