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Os Talking Heads na sua melhor fase, um dos melhores concertos de sempre (ou 2 para quem for atento aos detalhes ;))
"This is, in no particular order, what I'd tell myself about startups if I could go back in time to when I first got involved. Which is probably the same as what I've learned. This is most definitely not advice, the "you" here is directed at me. So is "I". Grammar is hard.
You're definitely going to end up building too much and shipping too late. Be obsessive about avoiding this
Someone's always already working on the same idea and that's not a bad thing
Always refuse if someone asks you to sign an NDA before hearing their idea
Like it or not, most networking in London is focused around drinking. Find a way to deal with that without having a constant hangover
The people who are really getting somewhere aren't the people who are always out for drinks
Linear growth can be worse than no growth
Most people who talk about failing fast, aren't actually practicing this
It's really easy to kid yourself that you're "doing customer development" when actually you're finding ways to make what your customers are saying fit with what you want to build
Everyone has a hidden stash of domains they've never used
It's really easy to become hyper-critical and respond to every idea with "yeah but that won't work because of x". This is lazy, don't do it.
Be especially careful to avoid the above when talking to people who are new to the scene. Call out other people who do it
It's really hard to listen to someone pitching an idea you've seen fail several times already and focus on working out if there's something slightly different and interesting there
Someone being a technically competent developer does not mean they know how to ship things. I'd always rather work with someone who ships over someone who's technically brilliant
The programming language/ framework wars are great fun in the pub, but of limited value in real life
A good developer can pick up any language or platform in a few weeks
I still don't know any real investors
Constantly exaggerating how well you're doing can be very tiring. It makes it harder to publicly celebrate the real victories
It's really hard to build a product if you don't have a big personal investment in the problem it solves
Falling in love with a product (rather than the problem) is really dangerous
You can get away without knowing how a hash table works, but it's really satisfying when you eventually learn it
Same goes for Big O notation
Overnight success isn't a thing. The Social Network is still a great movie
I still don't understand PR
Most technical solutions are trivial compared to how you get the product into peoples hands
Make something people want is probably a less useful heuristic than make something you want
But you wanting it doesn't mean enough people want it for it to be a business
If you don't have first hand experience of an industry, you're probably wrong about how it works, what problems they have and so how they should be solved. Talk to people
"Ads" are where business models go to die
"We'll monetize the data" is the new "Ads"
The people you end up wanting to work with (and help) are the ones who always try and work out how they can help you. Be more like them
But get really good at asking for things. Most people will give you a discount for no reason other than you asked. If you see someone important and influential, introduce yourself
Get good at saying no to things, from people asking you for discounts to interesting projects you really don't have enough time for
Think hard about a pivot which makes good business sense but leads to a product you no longer care about
Writing (blogging, books, journaling) is a really positive experience
Don't pay too much attention to internet comments about something you've written, there's always someone who didn't like one particular sentence (see point about trolls below)
One troll can wipe out a hundred positive interactions, be ruthless in keeping them out of your communities
If you end up pitching to someone over coffee, ask to hear their pitch afterwards
Only say you're going to introduce someone or send them something if you're actually going to do it. People quickly get a reputation for never following through
Show don't tell. "I'm going to build this amazing thing" is a LOT less interesting than "I've built this slightly crappy thing that actually does something". EVERYONE is GOING to build something, most people never do
Building things is awesome, don't get too caught up with the whole "Lean Startup Landing Page" mindset
Lean Startup is awesome, but it's a pamphlet not a book, read the first few chapters and you'll get the idea. Four steps to the epiphany is more technical and probably a better book
Most startup advice is terrible and the good advice is usually obvious. Everyone will give different advice, trust your gut
Except when it comes to what your customers want, then ignore your gut and trust them
No-one has ever used a Bitcoin ATM for practical reasons
Do back of napkin financial forecasts for every potential business model you come up with, just to see if it's in the right ballpark to a couple of orders of magnitude
It's really easy to automatically dismiss everyone who starts a conversation with "I'm looking for a technical co-founder". Doing this means you miss talking to some interesting people. But be upfront that you're not that co-founder so no-one feels like their time is wasted
Trying to raise money and apply to accelerators is a full time job. You're probably either building or fund raising. Not both. If in doubt, choose building
The solution to many, many problems, is not technical. That won't stop people trying solve them with apps
Facebook is the Facebook for X
The idea you laughed at when you saw them pitch at a hackathon may well be the one that's still alive and kicking long after whatever you pitched fails
If there are people who genuinely like failing, I've never met them
That was not "your idea" unless you shipped something, otherwise I invented Facebook, Nest and Oculus Rift
People don't steal ideas. Tell as many people as possible. Never ask someone to sign an NDA before hearing your idea, you'll instantly lose all credibility
Being friends with somebody is not the same as being able to work well with them
Small teams can move VERY fast, be really careful getting extra people involved in any project where agility is important
Multi-tasking isn't a thing, switching costs are huge, do one thing at a time and do it really well. Find a way to block out interruptions
Read every essay Paul Graham has written
Tech news (and news is general) has a very low return on time invested. Prefer books and conversations
The logo doesn't matter at the start, find a simple text based logo you can re-use for different projects
If you possibly can, open source and write up any side project. Every now and then you'll meet somebody really interesting as a result
Regularly working 12 hour days is probably never a good idea. If this is happening a lot, find a way to optimise
Talk to everybody"
"It’s the million dollar question with a million possible answers; what’s the difference between leadership and management?
I have 30 years’ experience leading people so I’d like to think my thoughts aren’t redundant in the field however there are so many blogs surrounding these two concepts that it’s difficult take a fresh approach and write something impactful, but here goes…
Firstly, we have to question whether there really is a difference between being a manager and being a leader. Most people will say ‘yes of course there is’ but the difficulty lies in articulating these differences. To come to a conclusion, we need to establish what sets the two apart. What does a leader have that a manager doesn’t? What does a manager do differently to a leader?
I recently blogged about adopting leadership qualities and using them to your advantage. I believe everyone has the ability to be a leader but there’s no denying the existence of born leaders. Those people who have the ability to inspire a crowd, someone who has so much passion and belief in their chosen purpose that you yearn to follow them and become part of their journey.
Now that’s not to say you can’t be an inspiring manager but there are some prerequisites to consider.
For me, the difference between managers and leaders manifests in their actions. Managers administrate, leaders innovate. Manager’s delegate, leaders inspire and managers implement, whilst leaders direct.
To be a good manager, you need to motivate your staff and earn their respect but ultimately, you need to be able to get the best out of the people you manage and make sure they are doing the job to the best of their ability.
As a manager, you have learnt through experience and adopted a specific structure to get the answers you need in order to get the job done. You have set a goal and ask the how and when in order to accomplish that goal. I like to think of managers as the engine of the business; they keep the business moving whilst increasing profitability.
Leaders, on the other hand exude charisma and gravitas. They find a way of encouraging people to follow them by intrinsically changing their vision. They make people believe they can make a difference and following them will be the best decision they ever made. Just look at Martin Luther King or Winston Churchill – they are the epitome of great leaders! Their legacy continues to this day because their impact was felt worldwide.
Leaders are the type of people who are interested in the big picture. They’re focused on vision, not just keeping the cogs turning. I’ve met many leaders in my time and the one thing they all have in common is the ability to make you feel like you can take on the world and cross any hurdle along the way. They inspire you to be someone you really want to be.
There are many overlapping similarities between the role of a manager and that of a leader so the confusion surrounding this question is understandable. However the qualities I’ve mentioned above can help you decipher which end of the spectrum you fall under.
So, do you lead or do you manage?"
"O cheiro a hospital não é mais do que uma mistura de éter e ironia. Todos acabam na mesma posição. Comem da mesma comida aborrecida e vestem roupas de tamanho universal. Era separar as águas. Hospitais para quem merece salvação e hospitais para os que são para deixar morrer, pensou.
Há já algum tempo que estava acordado, mas Raquel resistia a olhá-lo. Durante horas observou o relvado lá em baixo e o deslizar dos eléctricos na rua em frente. Tomou coragem e abeirou-se da maca. Por detrás dos tubos e dos pensos já pouco restava do homem que tinha sido até ao dia anterior. Dificilmente o reconheceria se a visão da cara dele, transfigurada numa monstruosa agonia, não estivesse tão viva dentro dela.
Passou-lhe a mão pela testa, a única parte deixada a descoberto para além dos olhos. Foi justamente com os olhos que André gritou o nome dela. Tinha tanto para dizer e sobrava-lhe tão pouca força no olhar. Cansou-se e deixou cair as pálpebras como cortinas num palco.
Ainda lhe restavam pelo menos quarenta minutos de visita, mas Raquel saiu do quarto em direcção ao elevador e tocou descontroladamente no botão. 8, 7, 6. Parado no sexto andar, o do bloco operatório, onde André estivera horas antes. O sentimento do costume – a pressa, como secretamente lhe chamava –, começou a ganhar forma e decidiu-se pelas escadas.
Sentiu a falta dele, agora que estava fora do quarto. Não eram saudades, era um buraco negro crescente. Quis voltar para trás e destruir tudo o que a separava dele. Portas, paredes, janelas. Respirou fundo e continuou a subir, degrau após degrau, numa cadência cada vez mais acelerada.
Já na fila da cafetaria, passou o olhar impaciente por todos os bolos, doces, salgados e sanduíches expostos. Pediu uma sandes mista com pouca manteiga, dois croquetes, um duchesse e um pastel de nata. Por favor e sem um pingo de indecisão na voz.
Quem a visse passar, mulher pequena e enfezada de tabuleiro na mão, diria que se preparava para matar a fome de uma vida. Assim foi. Sentada na mesa mais escondida da cafetaria, de ombros contraídos e olhar desligado, Raquel abocanhou primeiro a sandes, intervalou os croquetes com o duchesse e rematou com o pastel de nata. Sem respirar nem limpar a boca entre cada dentada.
Observou os pratos vazios. Havia migalhas por toda a parte: no tabuleiro, na mesa, na roupa dela e no chão. Sentiu-se cheia de nada e correu para a casa de banho. Todas as cabines tinham as portas abertas e entrou na primeira à direita. Ajoelhou-se e levou os dedos à garganta.
Raquel vivia numa corrente de precisar e não precisar, de querer e não querer. As necessidades impunham-se, atropelavam-se, substituíam-se. Galopavam dentro dela e levavam tudo à frente. Ninguém estranharia se a visse ali, prostrada ao lado da sanita. Bem vistas as coisas, estava na casa-de-banho de um hospital, o sítio de maior degradação humana por metro quadrado.
Não desviou os olhos do fundo da sanita quando puxou o autoclismo. Era isto que a fascinava: confirmar que conseguia dominar algo que lhe era exterior e, ao mesmo tempo, estava dentro de si. Por breves instantes tinha a capacidade de conduzir a ordem das coisas. Lembrou-se da noite anterior.
Ao regressar a casa tinha sempre a sensação de estar a nadar contra a corrente de um rio – a vontade de estar com ele fazia atrito contra a necessidade de estar sozinha. Nessa noite, sem saber bem porquê, a urgência de estar sozinha tinha levado a melhor. Raquel fez peso morto e deixou-se levar pela corrente.
André esperava-a sentado no sofá, com uma garrafa de Super Bock na mão e umas quantas, já vazias, espalhadas pela mesa de apoio. Estes eram sempre os piores dias, aqueles em que ela queria isolar-se e em que, por coincidência, ele voltava a beber.
Foi até ela aos tropeções e tentou agarrá-la. Sabes que não gosto que me abraces quando cheiras a cerveja. Disse-o tão baixinho que foi como se lhe desse carta branca para insistir. Sentiu o hálito dele por toda a parte. No pescoço, na bochecha, no peito. Empurrou-o, embora sem sucesso. André possuía a capacidade de a absorver e de lhe sugar todas as forças. Amava-o e era isso que mais a assustava.
Voltou a empurrá-lo, desta vez mais convicta do que fazia. Seguiu-se um braço de ferro interminável. André agarrou-lhe os pulsos e lançou-lhe um sorriso paternalista. Vá lá, princesa, deixa-te de coisas. Raquel respondeu-lhe aos pontapés, enquanto gritava descontroladamente. Odeio-te, odeio-te, odeio-te.
O amor que sentia por André era tão reconfortante quanto tóxico. Era mais forte do que o choro compulsivo e mais urgente que o riso provocado pelo toque leve de uma pena na pele. A pressa era sempre maior quando estava com ele. Como se a vida passasse por cima dela e a consumisse para além dos limites do controlo.
Naquele momento, contudo, a necessidade de o expulsar era maior do que a de continuar a amá-lo. Mas deixou-o dominar. Sem resistir, deixou-o atirá-la para o sofá. Deixou-o até entrar dentro dela. Deixou-o acelerar até não conseguir mais e manteve-se muito quieta. Linda menina, ouviu-o dizer no fim.
A pressa de Raquel apareceu sabe-se lá de onde e segredou-lhe ao ouvido que devia pegar na garrafa de cerveja tombada junto ao sofá, que devia acabar com aquilo de uma vez por todas, que talvez não fosse má ideia dar com ela na cabeça de André. Raquel dificilmente conseguia contrariá-la.
Como se estivesse fora de si, viu sangue, estilhaços de vidro pelo ar e André meio atordoado, mas ainda de pé. Raquel investiu novamente, desta vez com o gargalo, a única parte da garrafa que ainda tinha na mão. Só parou quando, no meio de todo aquele sangue, já não conseguiu distinguir-lhe as feições.
A água do autoclismo deixou de correr. Raquel apoiou-se na sanita, levantou-se do chão e foi até ao espelho para ver se tinha a boca suja. Olhou o relógio e, com prazer, verificou que ainda tinha dez minutos de visita. Precisava urgentemente de o abraçar."