All the talk about data, analytics, lean startup, business model canvas, etc are all aimed at one thing, plugging the leaks and doing it fast. As a would be entreprenuer, I am just understanding what these things really mean, even though I have known about them for a while. The focus has been on writting apps, but most of the low hanging fruit is going slowly, but surely, for you to hit a bulls eye with what is left, you have to stop hemorrhaging value.
The mobile app craze hit us a bit late, and many were ill equipped to cash in on the global fad in its hay day, it is getting more cut throat than ever with each passing day. The global app love fest has hit a rocky path for would be entrepreneurs looking to all in with this strategy alone. Out of possibly millions of developers published in the app stores, only a few thousands are making the big bucks, after tax of course.
The tech based business on the other hand is where daring entrepreneurs can try their hands. Talk of app downloads gets replaced by daily active users, and you want to know what each user is costing you, and how much you are making off them. This is the long game and local is a big selling point in this game. No need for the high horse bullshit innovation talk, clones are allowed in this game. The saying, go hard or go home could not be more applicable than in this game. Customers are the holy grail and revenue is the only winner in this game.
Are you still playing the mobile app game or have transitioned to the tech based business? Stop hemorrhaging value and plug the leaks fast!
A phenomenon which I have encountered in the past few years riding danfo buses has been a bit mind boggling, and i am calling it, unintuitively, the danfo mentality. If you have ever been in a commercial bus in Nigeria, aside from the many wrongs that have become the norms with danfos, something really tops the madness. If you are unlucky enough to enter a half empty bus, you will notice the driver will stop at the drop of a dime just to pick up a new passenger with total disregard for vehicles and lorries coming behind! Unfortunately I see this every week. Something even more interesting is that the passengers that they endangered everyone’s life to pick up, once inside the bus, becomes a part of the next everyone that will be put at risk. By simple deduction, passengers become less valuable once they are in the vehicle and even disposable, almost, once money has changed hands. This is the danfo mentality.
What does this have to do with tech? It is the same dilema with old vs new business. New business is exciting, while old business has lost its lustre. You can probably give an arm and a leg to acquire new clients, but after the job is done, the danfo mentality may set in if we are not extra careful, and we end up being hypocritical, deriding the danfo drivers while we are practicing their dogma.
What is a remedy for this mentality? The Taxi mentality. A passenger negotiates with the taxi driver from the start, a price is agreed and you sit in the comfort of the taxi throughout the journey from end to end, the only thing is the price tag. In both scenarios, you are the driver, and the passengers are your clients. It is important to identify if you want to run a taxi service or a danfo and be cognizant of the pro’s and cons of both. Not knowing what kind of service you are runing from the jump could be a real killer. Dont charge taxi prices in a danfo, and dont give danfo service in a taxi.
This could be a hard lesson that you may have to learn by experience, but it is always better to avoid the pitfalls. So what kind of driver are you, danfo, taxi? There is always okada or my car, but thats a story for another day :).
"The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure." - John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
People are afraid of failing, it sucks. I don’t play chess because I am afraid of losing! I play other games, and yes of course I have lost my fare share of them, but the point is fear inhibits potential. How many people are being held back by the fear of not trying?
In our society, it is not ok to fail. Maybe we need to change this mentality to; it is ok to fail as long as you succeed in the end.
Typically I write blog posts and let them sit for weeks, even months at times, before pulling the trigger on them. Why is this? The fear of failure, this affects me at work also. If you only fought in battles you could win, then you would be a very local champion. I typically want conditions to be “perfect” before embarking on some things, but as we know, perfection never quite comes around. A nudge from someone is always useful in these situations to get you over the hump.
How is your fear of failure inhibiting your progress physically, mentally, professionally, and emotionally, etc? I can’t say that I cracked the fear code, but as is often said, knowing what the problem is means it is 50% solved. Let’s hope the remaining 50% doesn’t take forever to figure out.
In the words of JD Houston:
If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. - JD Houston
This is probably some of the most encouraging, but yet, unactionable advice you can get while starting up. It doesn’t tell you what you are doing right or wrong, except to just keep at it.
Those who have been successful know this is the secret to success, and that is why they dole it out in good measure. Frankly on the long hard road, you need every bit of encouragement you can scrape.
A sure path to failure is not keeping at it, and even if you eventually fail on the journey, you would have learned some valuable lessons along the way that you can apply to your next venture.
Someone categorized successful people as people who do what failures don’t like to do. So if failures read only when they feel like, then to be successful, you do both that and what they don’t like. This is a good way of describing going the extra mile. After some repetition, the extra mile becomes the norm and you include an additional extra mile.
It is important to evolve, in a fast paced world, standing still means you are going backwards. If you are on the long hard road to starting up, then just keep at it, because without that you can never know what lies at the end of the tunnel.
When you set goals and you hit them, there is a great feeling of euphoria, that eureka moment whereby you feel untouchable, like you can keep knocking them down. But we all know that usually is not the case. The next goal still goes through the ups and downs.
I want to suggest a strategy of riding on the euphoria from completing a goal. The momentum you get from that is enough to propel you into jump starting whatever significant/worthwhile goals you have unfinished. Hopefully you can link wins with wins and eventually eradicate coming up short.
I came across Parkinson’s Law:
“The amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.”
This was a profound revelation. If you can always do it tomorrow, it will always be done tomorrow, and if you feel like you have all the time in the world to get it done, you will use all the time in the world to get it done.
Most importantly, action is spurred by emotion, i.e. what drives you to action is emotional, which is why often times when you don’t feel like it you hardly get things done. With this knowledge, and the theory of riding the momentum of completion, I hope you can ignite action for your projects and create a winning culture.