The business solar system

Money or profit is the sun.

Mercury is sales. The closest to it, taking all the heat. The ones on the sun side are cold calling, direct sales. On the backside, in the hot dark, commercial contracts, deals, and new business.

Venus is marketing. Looking cool on the outside but a literal hell on the inside. The atmosphere is hyper toxic and the heat these folks take is more because of themselves rather than the sun.

Earth is the top-executives, higher management. On the best spot in the solar system. Close enough to enjoy the heat, far enough to be able to exploit it.

Mars is middle management, they were promised adventure and terraforming tech and all they got are eternal sand storms.

Jupiter is IT, always one step behind from becoming a second sun in the system, but never quite there. There is always a storm roaming around. Also doing the crap job of attracting all the wondering asteroids to protect Earth indirectly.

Saturn is the customer support. Everybody says it’s very important but it always ends up an oversized and weird place, with the debris of permanent restructuring orbiting the department.

Uranus is financial and accounting. A featureless disc in visible light becomes an interesting profit center if the spectrum is shifted a bit.

Neptune is the administrative and HR. Bigger than you thought. Glacial.

Pluto is auxiliary personnel, the first to be fired even though they’re the last row in hr expenditures sorted by total value.

What is work ethic?


You can’t teach someone work ethic. You can’t.

“Work ethic is a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and an inherent ability, virtue or value to strengthen character”, Wikipedia instructs.

In my past 18 years of professional interaction with people, I found that work ethic is a deeply personal experience which arises from internalizing a few basic perspectives on work.

If you have a big ass ego, like I do, you can attempt to make a list of these perspectives on work, a list of … prerequisite understanding required before one gets to work ethic; so here is my list.

1. Most of the work you do is for other people.

Your work is for other people, not for the money you are paid. And I don’t mean your boss. I mean all the other people who work alongside you.

People pay you so you provide your work for them. So you provide your work for them. That means people depend on your work to be done. They rarely also need your wit or your learned tricks of the trade. But they depend on your work.

When you work the main output of your effort is help. Each of these helping outputs make the push for the overall progress: of everyone else.

Nobody should ask you where you are at. Nobody should make you pay attention to slipping commitments.

Don’t commit if you don’t understand. Don’t commit if you can’t.

When you’re stuck don’t wait it out. It is a lot better to sound stupid than to let everyone down.

2. Work has one goal: to be done.

Started work has no value. Work in progress has no value. Work done has all the value. Almost done means not done.

The idea of “definition of done” should not exist. It exists because we run from the hardship of the finishing details. We all know that from 98% to 100% is where the bulk of the effort is, and, because we’re lazy monkeys, we want to avoid the effort. From zero to 98% we get away with creativity, skill, steal and tricked procrastination.

Done is 100%. It includes finishing touches, filling in the gaps, connecting to the other moving parts and answering your own questions.

Work’s scope, definition, break down structure, estimation, planning and systematization are all just a different types of work, one which also has value only when it’s done. That is why 98% management work brings projects to full stop.

Indifferent of scope, your main tasks are to pull for guidance and push for updates. That is the bulk of any timeline of any project, and “the zone” is not a shelter from doing your part of repeating glue activity.

3. It’s your job that your work works.

That is essentially what makes work, a job: responsibility. You will be dependable if your work is done, you will be appreciated of your work is beyond some mediocre output for cash, but you will be responsible only if you take care that your work works.

Sloppy testing and poor planning cannot be excused by neither lack of expertise nor lack of access. Sloppy testing is not caring about your work.

If you are stuck, than that is your most pressing and immediate problem.

If you realize you have uncovered a cave of unknown, than that is your most pressing and immediate problem.

If you discover your assumptions, or the whole team’s assumptions are off, or simply broken, than that is your most pressing and immediate problem.

In any case you should not defer testing responsibility to managers, QA or less senior peers. Mind that it’s not about the activity of testing, but the responsibility of it.

Yep. Pretty short list, shouldn’t be that hard. These items are far less abstract than work ethic. Thinking and acting upon these things will create you own personal flavor or work ethic, and in the most humanist way possible you will participate to the greater good.

When these perspectives on work are internalized work ethic arises and becomes a second nature, one that has very little to do with the other issues regarding work, which then become distinct items: payment, career, progress, profesional development, culture etc.

Also, other people’s bad work ethic is not an excuse for your bad work ethic. Oh, and one last thing: work ethic === ownership.

4 Steps I Always Take To Fail


Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

I’m a failed entrepreneur, which makes me a great employee. I’m a failed implementer, which makes me a great architect. I have a track record of unsuccesful projects, which makes me a great analyst. I failed at so many things I basically lost count.

They teach failure is not a great thing to showcase. Yet, for every big success there are countless small failures. I think we should talk to people about that which they didn’t achieve, with an equal interest as shown to that which they did achieve.

I like to call myself an “expert in failure”, as an euphemism for “hands on experience”.

Success is a bad teacher. You bask in the feeling of it and you rarely stop to consider how and why. Failure is interesting, if only because most things fail.

Other than hindsight, I found failure hard to track, before it occurs. Yet, one of the things I learned about failure is to spot this cycle in which once I stumble, I keep rolling downhill, and failure becomes the overarching story, one that I see unfolding only when it is too late.

The cycle of failure

Start.

  1. I am Underwhelming
  2. I am Overwhelming
  3. I am Disappointing
  4. It’s Useless

Failure.

The joke? Once you’re in the cycle of failure, you cannot fail fast, you just break things.

1. Underwhelming, aka too little too soon.

I was underwhelming, multiple times, and my mirror neurons picked up on the feelings of my audience and it was the worse kind of de-energizer ever.

After you were underwhelming, the project needs exponentially more energy to be a success.

For example, I learned that MVPs are not for everyone, now I select my audience. I realised not all people can grasp an MVP, instead of using the MVP, they start searching for missing features. But there are always missing features, even in old legacy products, in an MVP the search for features only deflates momentum.

Another example, Hi Fi mockups are only useful for the person(s) with the original vision, not a single other soul. I dropped the idea of HiFi mockups. Now I’m all from low fi straight to working demo. It’s the same problem, people see polished UIs and expect them to work.

Then, when you demo, rehearse for God’s sake and stick to the script. Losing the ideatic thread is completely underwhelming.

Presentations are like music, that’s what I learned.

You know how it sucks when someone stops a song you like in the middle? That’s how an audience feels when the presenter forgets the next step or humms and fiddles with memo cards.

Also,

If you cannot make an MVP that works, then you have a non viable idea, so kill the project.

Do not get too excited by what you are about to accomplish: measure your explanations.

Apple TV, Apple Watch … all of the Internet of Things industry, are examples of failure by underwhelming.

My advice: if it is too soon, only a select highly invested stakeholders can appreciate progress. If it’s too little hold back. Just don’t be underwhelming.

2. Overwhelming, aka too much too soon.

A lot of time I overwhelmed folks because I craved to compensate the initial shit demo.

But I’ve seen it’s not just me. I’ve seen teams demo the kitchen sink over and over again. Overload.

There is no joy in being overwhelming.

For me it felt like lack of appreciation. I knew it wasn’t, but when your stakeholders are overwhelmed that is how it feels. It feels you’re doing the best possible work and all these people are suddenly assholes.

Be smart. There is no spontaneous asshole. In order to avoid being overwhelming, manage your expectations.

In all phases except the measurement phase my expectations began to be of a minimal acknowledgement of progress. I think its great to move all the pressure of high expectations when measurement proves the worthiness.

Emotional rewards of incremental progress only dimminish the visceral reward of success.

Google Glass failed by being overwhelming. If they weren’t simply lying, I think Theranos and Magic Leap failed like this too.

My advice: if it’s too much, summarize. If it’s too soon, summarise more.

3. Disappointing, aka too little too late.

When you are late, the wait creates high expectations.

Yet, even on a romantic date, you may be a little late provided you’re a ravishing appearance. No, do not take this as advice, remember, I am an expert in failure.

Missed deadlines are the baking powder of disappointment, except when you are outstanding.

Personally, I think failure by being disappointing is the worst. It’s worse than losing other people’s money.

What I found is that whenever you try to:

  • fix everything
  • solve all problems
  • treat all edge cases
  • provide for all personas
  • work for 1% of users
  • tweak all the buttons
  • measure the roundness of corners

… while stakeholders expect something completed, you will end up disappointing.

I always failed by being disappointing when my projects suffered from the holy grail syndrome.

The holy grail syndrome is when everyone believes you’ll fix all their problems, but instead you fix your problems.

Hey, I could call this “the spring announcement for fall launches of products that you may buy next summer” syndrome, or even better the “failed Kickstarter” syndrome.

My advice: if it’s too late focus on the stakeholders, not on your backlog.

4. Useless, aka too much too late.

I realized, “too late” is not measured in number of days since I started execution, but in “events” that happen, or were always incoming, events which stack up, and in time bury my project.

When enough events cover your project no one will see it.

I also found that “too much” does not describe features.

“Too much” always means “too much to let go”.

Features, stakeholders, people invested, team members, money spent, months passed, friends made, promises to be kept they’re all like dragging the project into the ground but you can’t dispose of any.

I have failed by allowing debt to fuel faltering projects. I have failed by being blind to events that made the project irrelevant. I failed by trying to eclipse irrelevance with bloat.

There are countless ways to be useless and I came to think, probably as a form of psychological shield, that one can’t be an emotionally accomplished manager without at least on fully working useless project delivered too late.

So many Microsoft Research Projects, and all the Nokias and Yahoos of the world failed like this, repeatedly.

My advice: always be pivoting.


As final word of advice: failure comes upon a project in very different ways and I think one good strategy is to make a dream catcher out of milestones.


Milestones are the detectors of incoming failure.

A project without milestones is blind to dysfunctional behaviour. Agile is a very tricky methodology from this perspective. Plowing ahead in constant change, missing retrospectives, failing to set milestones ahead of time will make any project vulnerable to the whirlpool of failure.

Trust me, for I learned that:

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory

As he defeated — dying –
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!

Thanks Emily.


Opportunity Is What Happens When Luck Meets Preparation


Take the other pill:

Yet, who am I to argue with Seneca?

I think, all opportunity is based on a weird arrangement of the universe, on a specific moment. I think, there is no opportunity without luck.

This might well be the reason for ninety-nine in one hundred startups failing. And, it is a soothing fact for all this stressed out generation that worries, day in day out, about everything that could be done. It doesn’t matter that much what could be done; it matters a lot what is done.

The first dream job I had, I saw the advert upside down on the subway, in the newspaper that the person seating in front of me was reading. Had I not sat right there, it could very well mean no advertising career for me. Mind you I had applied to numerous positions before, to ads I have searched for, with no success, but with a lot of preparation.

We should not confuse preparation with work:

  • True preparation starts only when one hopes for luck.
  • True work is when the right people do the right thing in the right place. Everything else is either salary, survival, hobby or passion.

Luck is random concurrence that produces added value.

When you think about how globalisation and capitalism work, it stands out how the extraction of value from society dries up thriving environments. Without an environment where one can thrive, life is a deserted place, where it is just a matter of pure luck to get a flimsy stream of water and attempt to blossom.

At least in today’s world, the ancient personal development motto of luck being what happens when opportunity meets preparation, is nothing more than cold kool aid thrown around to keep everyone’s hope high, or, more precisely, high on hope.


What is the probability of success?

Well, take everything into account: the new found geographical significance of places, your heritage, racial, ethnic or national, your natural personality and the amount it fits on the asshole stereotype of the yes man, and you’ll end up with a number which is so small that only sheer luck will put you near it.

As people start to think of “solutions” for problems that can be entirely avoided, such as basic income for all the people who will not create wealth due to robots, it becomes so obvious that the probability of succeeding financially shrinks by the day.

In a highly industrialized and globalized market normality becomes luxury, and every single one of us is dwelling on the “first” layer of our social pyramid. But, behold! There is no ladder to climb, nor steps to ascend upon. Just as wind and sand erode the tip of a real pyramid, so do recession, war and trickle down economics, erode our social pyramid. We are on our way to be a large sheet of citizeltons.

Citizeltons: a silent, warm and fed combination of citizen and simpleton.


People don’t like to call luck, luck.

It makes them feel less valuable.

It wasn’t always the case though. Traditionally people valued the lucky ones. Sure, lacking all the maths we use today to calculate the odds of being the one in one hundred success stories at YCombinator, they also saw luck as a helping hand from the gods, therefore the lucky one was a kind of “chosen”. And because being chosen still is, even today, a status to die for, back in the day, lucky people stood by their luck, and did not attempt to swipe serendipity under the rug.

Even small successes, like one of my most recommended posts here is sheer luck. That article was up and visible for a lot of days with no visibility, no recommends, when, one late evening, I had a last minute check of my Medium feed and saw another writer suggesting repost as a way to bring back up good old stories. Had I gone to bed, I wouldn’t have had an over 100 recommends article on my profile now.

Today though, we need “underground thinkers” to point out the obvious, for example, the fact that no real success whatsoever is single handedly grabbed right from the sky. There is no self made mane, you need to stand on many shoulders “make it”.

Sure, should you have a good balance and determination it is even better, but all the balance and determination in the world won’t make one fly. People brag and claim they’re superior because they are valued one hundred million dollars, as if that is something which human qualities alone can get.


Preparation is a constant hustle.

Caught in the sticky social sheet of the low born, staying prepared sucks. It is a lot like swimming against the current. Take property for example.

I feel like very soon I’ll need a subscription for breathing. Subscriptions are great, like constant updates, but they give you no timeout. “You stop the cycle, we cut your juice.” But the cycle keeps you embedded in the sheet. Trying to get above the social sheet and keep the cycle rolling at the same time, takes a heavy toll on you, and burnouts happen.

It’s worth noting, again, that there is no opportunity without preparation. From cheating on a spouse, to a good sell of stock, there is preparation which allowed luck to transform ordinary into extraordinary.

In 2007, when the real estate market was starting to crumble, I foresaw the trend and went on to sell my apartment, because I knew it was worth a historical high; not because I am a real estate genius, but because a sidebar-suggested article from The Financial Times had some economist telling everyone to borrow as much as they can. I didn’t sell it, because I was not prepared, so luck hit me, but no opportunity ever rose because of my lack of preparation.


Opportunity cost lies in missed preparation, not in missed opportunities.

All skill, beauty, talent and aptitude decay. When you hang around in a situation that generates an opportunity cost (relationships, jobs, places to live in etc.) always assess how much are you willing to loose by not attending to your skills, beauty, talents and aptitudes.

Opportunity management means: how prepared are we to sense opportunity.

That means you may be lucky and prepared, and yet let opportunity pass you by because, just as we have ferrite in our noses to sense the North, the same way we have an opportunity sensor somewhere.

The hard truth is, there is no such thing as sacrifice, because we humans cannot resist opportunity.

We are hard wired for immediate satisfaction, and should we sense opportunity there is nothing to stop us from taking advantage of it.

Those bragging about how they’ve let “opportunities” pass them by, because they sacrificed themselves for family or whatever, are in fact suffering from hindsight regret.

They see the opportunities now that they are in the future, but in fact they did not sense the opportunities then, when they had the chance of luck in their life. Had they sensed them, no way they’d let them pass.

Opportunities cannot be passed, yet they can be missed and the result is an excruciating regret. That is why genuine sacrifice hurts like hell.


If you loved it, heart it :)

​It’s laws that are made to be broken, not rules!

Rules should be challenged. Laws should be broken.

Both laws and rules are conventions we choose to respect so that we are allowed by other humans to thrive on our own.

Yet laws are far more complex than rules. Rules should be simple. Laws should be complex.

Complex rules and complicated laws are nothing but inflicted control.

Following fair rules is not obedience. Following fair rules is a form of mutual respect. Following unfair rules is servitude.

Following unfair laws is obedience. Following fair laws is sanity.

Breaking the law is a sickness of the society. Challenging rules is growth pains of the society.

The difference between challenging and breaking is process. Challenging assumes valid alternatives and formal updates. Breaking means complete banishing or structural updates.

There is always a measure of law breaking beyond the obvious. What we fail to notice is that in general laws are not made for general benefit, because they do not empower, mostly they constrain. Simple rules on the other hand empower by offering guidelines for success.

That is why I hate bully drivers. They believe that by driving drunk, above speed limits, on the wrong way of one way streets, without proper safety for the other traffic folk, by doing this and more they believe they’re breaking the law. But traffic rules are not laws, they’re rules. By breaking traffic rules you are cramping everyone else, exclusively for personal gain. They’re not outlaws, just assholes.

There is always a measure of law breaking beyond the obvious.

Most law breaking goes unreported in all societies, because accurate law breaking description would show weakness of the societal apparatus, but worse, it would inspire challenging the law. We only see the morally clear law breaking reported, usually all the basic law breaking that more or less break the golden rule, hence murderers, thieves, embezzlers, are assholes not outlaws.

There is nothing glorious in breaking the rules, there is only wasted potential in the cramping of everyone else’s existence.

True law breaking is made by revolutionaries, which in fact challenge established moral rules: marriage, access to wealth, access to health, segregation, access to opportunity, inequality all these things are currently law all over the planet, and they trickled down into law from moral rules as moral imperatives. What this law serves, the fairness and clarity of these laws is what law breaking should be used for.

Be Better: Don’t Be Hooked ™


“all humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek hope and avoid fear, and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.” 
Nir Eyal, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

First, ignore pleasure

Pleasure is temporary.

Pleasure comes to you without your effort of seeking it out. The only thing you have to do is simply to be present.

There is pleasure in the simple fact that you are alive and breathing. There is pleasure in the world around you, from the perfect rhythm of the rain, to the mesmerizing dance of suns rays on the fresh dew that lays with mornings on unsuspecting grass.

You can safely ignore pleasure, because the more you ignore it, the better it will feel. The more you will look away, the harder it will strive to be noticed.

Pleasure needs you to assert its existence.

Beauty and visceral pleasing sensations, warm fuzzy feelings and the satisfaction of the thirst inside, all will flow right through your disinterested self.

Don’t seek pleasure. Seeking pleasure makes you numb and only conditions you to seek more pleasure.

Second, embrace pain

Pain is a mystery. We don’t understand really why must we be subject to it, and why can’t we turn it off. But times and times again it has been shown that the best antidote to it is to embrace it. To let it grow into overflow. It is a special kind of liquid, pain, a magic water that once it overflows, it entirely leaves its receptacle.

Embrace pain like you cling to the friend who opened roads and inspired your life long search. Embrace pain as your own personal knight, fighting with you against death and decay.

Pain is not disease. By all means, treat sickness and disease. Do everything you can to end pain. But the while it is with you, and when it is not with you, do not work so hard to avoid pain.

Avoiding pain is the basic ingredient of worry.

Release yourself from the chains of worry, open up to the experience of your life, expect some pain as an assuring but rough pat on the back from a knight in heavy armor.

Then, ignore hope

Hope is the worst joke played on humanity. Hope is the single biggest generator of disillusions. This is the only thing hope does right, weaving intricate and thick illusions. We hope with our entire hearts, but reality is that every single hope turns a piece of our hearts into an illusion, which, like smoke, vanishes into thin air, making our hearts smaller every time.

They say that hope dies last. It is true, but only because all humans in its companionship die before it, all stretched out with their gazes set upon the salvation that hope promised.

Ignore hope and have dignity instead of hope. Cultivate, as best as you can, open horizons, a lucid mind and clarity in knowing what happens to you. Do that and you can safely ignore hope, without the dark specter of suffering making endless threats every night before you fall asleep.

Don’t seek hope. Seeking hope is the drug of existence itself, existing only for the next fix of hope, and the hangover of crashed illusions.

Also, embrace fear

Fear is normal. Embrace fear. You are, after all, a consciousness that gets information through unreliable sensors, you live inside a severely limited attention span and focus power. You have a very limited time to work on problems. You are stuck inside boundaries, which may very well fall on you at any moment.

Fear is asking you constantly for only one thing: consideration. Consideration means assessing the worthiness of your decisions, before you act upon them.

Avoiding fear has the immediate consequence of being inconsiderate. Don’t avoid fear, embrace it, because consideration is far less expensive than being sorry.

Not last, ignore social acceptance

Hell is out there, in the other people, haven’t you heard? Ignore social acceptance, if you want to have the slightest chance at being yourself.

Social acceptance is a frame you are squeezed into. You will never get the frame to change into a new mold. Thousands die and the millennial frame doesn’t bat an eye.

Social acceptance is the most toxic reward for good behavior and it will promote the cancer of your soul, a cancer that will not kill you but turn you into some one else.

Ignore social acceptance at all costs, even if it means fighting off armies of zombies and automatons angered because your skin doesn’t burn, when the light of truth shines down upon you.

Seeking social acceptance, seeking acceptance in general, is a lifelong effort which will be forced upon you time and time again, with every single glimmering thought and bright idea your spirit will produce, from inception to deception. Just ignore it.

Finally, embrace rejection

Rejection is nothing but one failed attempt.

Rejection means one of three things: that you are not solving anyone’s problems, that you’re solving the wrong problem for the right people or that you solve the right problem for the wrong people. It is either you, them or the problem that causes rejection.

Embrace rejection as a means of learning.

Rejection is the engine of the next attempt. It is fuelled by determination and ignited by persistence.

Avoiding rejection makes you potty. Potty in unskilled hands makes bad pottery. Avoiding rejection waters down your self, or makes you copy what you don’t approve of, or, even worse, makes you copy what you don’t understand for what it really is.


Be motivated to ignore pleasure, embrace pain, ignore hope, embrace fear, ignore acceptance and embrace rejection, so that you won’t be hooked by the poisoned hook in the senseless existence of a placid waiting for death.

My 2 cents.

I hate team buildings and after hours parties. I do. They suck.


The old joke “mandatory fun” is true 100%.

Why should anyone care to spend even more time in the same social setting after throwing the bulk of their week at it?

I mean, if you can’t be friends, nice, helpful, human, with the people that help you feed your children, during at least forty hours a week, how will a drunk night at some bogus retreat help?

Why do companies need invented problems. Beats me. Why would simulating a crisis, in a crappy group game, work better than learning from the shit that hit the fan last week, or the disaster we avoided last month?

Who benefits from all those weekend training sessions where some flaky communicators try to force a group to actually engage, and why is this any more useful than actually engaging in the real deal, you know, the effing work the team does for, well, at least forty hours a week?

Beats me.

It is so common to have a team building or office after party or whatnot that people have them just to have them. And the worst? These events are not either paid or required, but God forbid you skip them.

I was reading recently this well intended thing:

Don’t work for a startup if you want to keep the personal and professional completely separate. You can get away with it in corporate, keeping it “Strictly Professional.” But in startups, your team are the people you spend most of your waking hours with. Not only that, they’ve made you laugh, seen you cry, and supported you as you were challenged beyond what you thought were your limits. These people aren’t just co-workers; they’re your friends, and some of them, probably for life.

Excuse me? Why? Actually, what? In all that we humans call “work” your colleagues are the people you spend most of the waking hours with, that is not a startup thing, it is an “I am employed” thing. What if I already have some friends? Or what rule of living is that … oh, whatever.

It is simply a silly attempt to fix problems as kids, problems that should be fixed as grownups. If I can’t be friends and/or human with you while doing the work we’re supposed to do together, then it is clear that climbing plastic trees and joining a forced play pretend won’t work either.

I think that teams should be awarded with time together either by arranging fun during work time or by simply allowing people to figure out by themselves, if they want to, ways to engage outside of work, because they want to.

My 2 cents and my general attitude. I have been fired for not participating at team retreats in the past, I have had blue shirted managers, the kind schooled exclusively in management, look down upon me, with frowned eyes questioning my motives for missing out on all that fun, I still do it.

I think that if people do have a distinctly separate personal life outside of work, they should be encouraged to have it. I do encourage everyone to build their “personal and professional” as separate things. They will mix, but they must mix in your terms, not in the terms of some corporate philosophy.

The 5 stages of entrepreneurship



Stage One: Drive

What most people lack, and the reason we’re divided as a society between go getters and settlers, is drive.

When you are driven, you suddenly have time.

Why? Because you somehow make that time.

When you are driven, you suddenly can .

Why? Because you jump in.

When you are driven, you suddenly find that you’re doing it.

Why? Because you actually do it.

DO IT!

However, drive is like a drug, one we get used to, and we require more and more of it each day, just to make the initial growth into happening.

The farther up that false growth curve you go, the more drive you require to keep climbing the steep way ahead. The minute you slow down, you feel like you’re missing out, like your time is passing, like you are wasting your moment, like you fall back.

Unfortunately, at any point in time, for any person on Earth, drive will dry out. It’s the effect of the more you know the less you know.

As the fast initial progress reaches the plateau phase, people quit because they basically don’t believe there is a top to that mountain. So that is wave one quitters.

Quitters are awesome because at least they started.


Stage Two: Persistence

From the driven starters, some insist that there must be a top of the mountain they climb, and they start to hustle.

They run out of drive, but somehow find inside them the other rarest of things among human personalities: persistence.

Persistence is painful because it is a sobering up process from the high drive caused.

The persistent ones keep plowing at it, with no drive in their veins, but a bitter combination of pride and ambition, sweetened only by vague hope.

The persistent people are awesome because they suffer those last miles.


Stage Three: Quitting

Right after persistence wears out, one finds itself at the top!

But behold, no breathtaking scenery, no peak to stick your flag into, no selfie to take from the top of the world. Not even above the clouds. Just an endless field of boredom stretching on and on into the horizon.

This is the walk of quitting. It is like a walk of shame, only that you throw tomatoes at yourself:

“What was I thinking?”

The walk of quitting is so long and boring, that most people simply stop there and camp out for the rest of their lives. Then they come up with personal development theories that teach success is not everything in life. Bullshit.

Those who keep going, at some point, fall into the dip.

The dip is the final test of the quit zone.

The dip is when the boredom of nothing happening pushes you over the cliff with bad news, when the cloud fails your user database, when your partner quits, when your market gets a behemoth player, when it’s not enough that no weight went away for four months in a row, now you got gastritis and must eat more often.

Those who stand the quitting zone are so awesome for having strength of character.


Stage Four: Vision

The quitting zone is followed by the vision zone, when the true growth starts.

The problem is that the vision zone comes right after the dip.

People are beat up, tired, bored, with zero faith, and suddenly they must climb again. Only the few talented, free and/or lucky, have the vision of what is happening.

Most will see the climb after the dip as another dip, only some see it as the inflection point.

They know they are back on the way up.

Only those, therefore, have the vision, which in fact they had from the very beginning, which in fact to them was their drive in the first place, instead of desire or curiosity.

You could see as a fine observer right at the beginning who has vision powered drive and who simply burns calories and ideas (and dollars). That’s what makes a good early investor.

People with vision are awesome because they are the ones who prove that “anything is possible”.


Stage Five: Mission

The mission zone is when those who had the vision of their growth understand the unique opportunity to actually put meaning into the world.

A true mission has exponential potential.

Those who find their mission are the rare people that take it upon themselves to change something, or make something last.

They become personally invested, not in short term objectives or shallow whims, but large, long term, deep and meaningful promises, which they make, openly or not, to the world itself.

Most people stop at having vision.

Vision and growth bring a lot of comfort. Money flows, wealth builds, success is present, there is very little incentive to assume a mission. A mission can take a serious hit at the “winning” that vision brings.

Missions are the things which bring sudden deaths to promising mavericks, who fall from the sky, like shot down ducks.

However, a successful mission is the true exponential growth ingredient. Nothing booms like a supersonic engine without a mission powering it.

So, are you an entrepreneur? What stage are you in?


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Inspiration is a myth


The thing about inspiration is: it doesn’t exist on its own!

It all starts with wishful thinking:

Hope and action together result in Wishful Thinking

All inspirational messages are wishful thinking made of hope and action.

“Everything happens for a reason!”,

… means: let’s hope there is a reason that will justify our self indulging actions.

“Life is an adventure!”,

… means: hopefully I am in some adventure and so something interesting will come out of my boring, routine actions.

“Love solves everything!”,

… means: I hope love is the answer, because all my actions seem futile.

“Happiness is a choice!”, OMG the worst of the pack,

… means: I hope that I can choose to be happy, instead of actually doing something about it.

The thing is all inspirational messages give birth to shame.

I suck, stuff happens to me for no reason! I am awful, love didn’t solve everything! My live is so not an adventure, I must be horrible. What the fuck is wrong with me, I cannot choose to be happy!

Shame of being human always comes from wishful thinking.

However, there is a right place for wishful thinking.

There is no shame involved when you are actually set on the path for achieving your goals.

You can afford to be as human as possible when you are “having a strong feeling that you’re going to do something and that you will not allow anyone or anything to stop you”.

A dictionary defines this as determination.

Determination transforms the intersection of Hope and Action into Inspiration

There is no such thing as inspiration to be found.

Inspiration appears at the intersection of hope and action in the presence of determination.

Determination is a global state in one’s life. It wraps all endeavors, all the little things one defines herself by. Determination acts in a way like a photo filter.

Look at this sentence:

“Life is an adventure!”

… through the lens of a determined person.

You’ll see a different picture:

“I want to go from Europe to Silicon Valley and fund my startup and there is nothing else I can think of doing with my life, and I am not afraid because I feel life is an adventure worth having.”

Determination is a big deal.

Unless one has the “hipster” problem, when determination is just not enough and determined action is too little:

The half assed approach is does not inspire

One last thing, unless determination is all encompassing, you will get bored.

Boredom

Oh, and a note on being human: being human does not justify being moody, especially since everything is temporary.

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It is Not OK to be a content consultant, an online content marketer, a personal development…


As any of the above you have a direct vested interest in people quitting their jobs, following their dreams, starting up companies, as many as possible, loosing sight of the immediate to focus on some hazy future success, feel under appreciated, feel like they’re lost, feel like a failure, feel bad in general, or mediocre.

As any of the above you will want people to risk, to fall and then lick their wounds in one day only to restart, to stay free of strings attached and any dependencies, to hustle, to be more like you, to confirm your social position, to confirm your world view, to see things as you do, to ease your entry into the world of living, business, success and networking.

As any of the above you will dispense advice exactly as your situation is, advice as copywriting, advice as pub philosophy, advice as listicle, advice as pretentious universal truths, advice as pink paint painted over the grey of reality, advice as you’ve just bred the first unicorn to be seen in the last hundred thousand years. You didn’t. You don’t even have a damn horse.

As any of the above you will be able to offer advice about your humanity as everyone else, about the days of your life, about your personal stories, about the things you have learned, but not about careers, entrepreneurship and money. Don’t do it, it’s not ok. You’re cheating your audience.

There are many others than what I’ve listed above because anyone can title themselves anything when no track record is required, and as far as Internet publishing goes none is.

As any of the above please consider dispensing advice without hijacking someone else who has actually lived to tell the story. That means no name dropping. None.

You should stop daring to sell dreams.

Dreams should not be sold.

Dreams should be free.

And individual.

What do you mean nobody should work for a salary? What do you mean we should all be founders and entrepreneurs? What do you mean I should read a book a week? What do you mean I should do all these lists of random things to be happy and successful?

All these articles written like Hollywood choses to portray any physical work, with uplifting music, bright colours and wide smiles. What do you mean? What do all these scenes of people building houses in thirty seconds of clear weather, make up on, hair perfect dances with tools mean?

Companies are shit. Entrepreneurship is shit. Most chances are you will fail. They will fail. All these people you sell the dreams to will fail. They will fail at doing your 100 item daily checklist for success. They will fail to pay the money they owe because of the great idea they founded on their own. They will fail because you sold them a bad product.

Stop. You should stop. You should be kinder to people.

Start suggesting. Stop being so fucking decisive. No, salaries will not die, success does not come from hustle, there is no success without hustle, there is no recipe for building the next unicorn. Etcetera.

Start mentioning luck folks. Call luck what it is. Pull the luck stick and point it at all those people you’re quoting.

Stop encouraging people to quit, as if impulsive quitting by itself will solve anything, ever. It doesn’t, it just makes quitting at the right time imposible.

Dreams are a bad product to sell.

Dreams are intoxicating if they’re someone else’s.

Dreams hurt worse if they fail and they’re not your own.

Careers, entrepreneurship and money are things for which advice should be taken with a sack of salt, not a mere grain.

You know why? Because once they go wrong they take half your life to be put back on track.

Self esteem advice by personal example is atrocious. You are not really helping anyone, except those people who inflate your ego by congratulating you and who don’t really require any help anyway, either because of their narcissistic shields or because they don’t really want any help, they just had some endorphin ride and feel good.

Stop building business by selling dreams. Sell products.

What am I saying, I’m an advertiser. Once an advertiser, always an advertiser. I know all products are dreams. But some dreams are not products.

Dreams about career, entrepreneurship and money are not products. They are personal lifelong investments into an idea. All hype infests ideas with false hope and bitter disillusionment.

It is like the priests who never had sex but lecture people about sex.

It is like the spiritual gurus who never had anyone depend on them but lecture about detachment.

It is like the serial monogamists who lecture about marriage.

It is like the eternally single who lecture about polyamory.

It is like all these people who have no depth. Stop being one of them.

You are a good communicator. Use that. Do it better than me, better than anyone else, even better than you at some point in time. Look back and be happy you’ve sold people things they could use and some used them to follow their dreams.

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