Let me get this out of the way first: Lean startup machine 3 day workshop with its validation framework, its support network is the best event any ambitious, curious entrepreneur/wantrepreneur should attend.
Now I want to list everything things I did wrong, so you can do it better if you plan on attending.
1. Avoid going into the workshop with the primary purpose to validate your existing startup that does not seem to have the traction.
I didn’t realize what I was missing until after seeing presentations from all the teams involved. I was too emotionally attached to the ideas and products I have been working for a year. It prevented me from focusing on the learning part. As the results, I, as the team leader, steered the entire team to focus on pivot after pivot just to validate that my old idea can somehow still work, which is not the purpose, and also unfair to my team. There are so many things to learn: how to interview, how to make assumption, what is riskest assumption, what method to use to validate/invalidate, how to concierge etc.
2. Idea doesn’t matter (in this workshop). And don’t laugh at ideas that sounds too naive, or being done 100 times already.
It’s not the goal of the LSM workshop to make a specific idea work. LSM’s goal is to teach the methodology so participants will become a LSM practitioner to get ready for any adventure ahead of us. It’s really an “unfair advantage” for those who truly learnt in those 3 days.
I did my best to pitch my “brilliant” idea on the stage and actually got the most votes, and I admit I was laughing (not literally) at those other ideas. But because I was too hang up to my idea and didn’t focus on learning, I let my team down: other teams did a 100 times than us because they used the logic, rational, material taught at LSM.
3. Its ok not to pitch.
Again, I pitched and I got the most votes, it meant nothing! Because the goal is to learn and practice in the future, not pitching and no chance to be the team leader will force you to be more open to the ideas you are really interested in, and pick the team you like to work with. Most importantly, you learn without any baggage.
4. Come prepared.
I did everything wrong: I signed up the last minutes, not only it’s a lot more expensive ($250 vs. $125), I also didn’t get chance to prepare for the LSM methodology ahead of the time, which is highly recommended. Try use any opportunity to learn about LSM, sign up on validationboard.com (LSM’s tool site) using your workshop email and start using it right away, don’t wait till the workshop. Do a few tests, understand the material.
5. Listen and interact with mentors.
There is a reason they become mentors at LSM. From my limited experiences interacting with them, they know LSM inside out, they mostly have been successfully adopted the LSM methodology to their career. They are level headed and think sharp and express them extremely well. They helped me extract myself out of the “idea attachment mud” and become completely free, free from being attached to any ideas.
6. Most importantly, be open minded: you will be rewarded.
My biggest reward from this workshop, other than, getting started with LSM framework, is detached from an idea that I have worked for a year that does not work. It’s been emotionally difficult to change, but LSM helped me did just that. I have never felt fresher, ready to be open to any ideas, hands down, head up, validate the market, get that first sales first, before making any assumption.
7. Get in touch with contacts, friends you make over the weekend.
sign up for the additional event LSM will throw at you once the weekend is over, plug in its network, heck, go organize local LSM meetup, embrace this movement. Learn and relearn the LSM fundamentals, it will help us better use the system.
Honestly, as a picky, self-claimed “smart ass”, I have never really embraced any man made framework outside of proven science, and I’m very passionate about LSM movement, wholeheartedly embracing it. For those of you who are curious, unsure, but ambitious, give LSM a try and you will be handsomely rewarded.
Tim O’reilly recently tweeted an article by the ubiquitous Maria Popova (surprisingly young, 27/28 at the time of this writing), called “Virginia Woolf on How to Read a Book”, I know right away I’m already in love with this article before even reading it, hence Maria’s blog brainpickings.org.
Have you had this experience: you retweet some link before even reading it and knowing what it is? I have. In fact, I keep thinking about it: what percentage of retweets of some links are actually thoughtful ones after someone read it through? The real question is: is it necessary for someone to retweet, hence, like something before knowing it well?
Welcome to human intuition.
So, what DO most people like, not niches, but things every human being is programmed to like? Lets give it a try
reading Good books
watching Good movies
appreciating Good arts
listening to good music
getting lost in the live music
appreciating well designed stuff (apple, hint hint)
eating delicious food
seeing new places
meeting interesting people
a good bubble bath
a good massage
a good conversation
a good laugh
Its actually not that complicated. Everything else that people “grow” to like are secondary to the very core “likings” of us.
So, is it possible to make something that will speak to these “core likings”? Products, places, people that can do it successfully are quite successful, see below: (i purposefully left out what they do)
If you don’t have any fear for anything, such as hunger, homelessness, what would you like to do?
I was thinking: a professional reader of books would be pretty nice.
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In other words, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.”
I have to admit: I am a hot headed person. I either like something, someone or don’t. When I don’t and that person stays in my way (even by imagination), I just get angry.
Over the years, I have gotten pretty good controlling my temper, most of friends, even close friends or girl friends don’t even realize that I have a bad temper. I don’t take myself too seriously so coworkers often think I’m good sport. Yes, I also actually love sports, my 40 yard dashing speed is still at 4.3 seconds at this age. And I can jump vertically much higher than most people. I’m saying all these not to show off, but rather to go behind the scene to find the root cause of having bad temper. I would guess most physical men have that, they are physical as much as artists visual. The blood goes around our body faster, rush into our head quicker. Hence the anger, excitement, emotion.
Yes I have gone much better on controlling myself. My contemplate, read a lot and like to consider myself half intellect. Because I’m getting better I don’t get angry at average people, I’m very sympathetic to people in need. The people I can’t hide my anger toward, even at this day, are usually quite annoying in general. But still, calling out their names on the soccer field isn’t necessary what a gentleman should do. But I actually lost it today: I play soccer, I know what I’m doing and extremely confident. But I felt bad and think I went overboard when I asked this older annoying guy to “get the f*** back to the defense line and useless” in multiple occasions completely out of blue, I knew at that time that I was wrong and should not do it, but we were losing the game in a big way that was so frustrating at the moment, I took my anger out on this poor guy.
He is annoying, no questions about it. Everyone knows about it. But still I should not have done that.
Noah said the best therapy often time is just to write it out loud. I have started intentionally to be a better person, to live my life with more “plan” and “to do” because I need a bit more structure. So here I am, apologize to the vacum of internet air and hope the super power could hear me.
I must become a better person and be kind to EVERYONE, no matter who they are and how they behave.
I’ve seen this info-graphic a few times before seeing it again on Amber Rae’s blog. But this time I took it to my heart.
I realized that I have not been that successful person on the left hand side, wanting to be successful and working on your startup don’t mean you are successful. Becoming successful is a journey that demands openness. I realized I watched too much TV, even it’s good ones like No reservation, National Geographic, read too little lately. I realized that I can be jealous of other’s success but I’m working on it and I’m becoming much better at appreciating others, wishing their success.
I think to be successful requires one to love your life, your work. Many entrepreneurs are on a path of doing something they don’t fully understand and appreciate, me included, which could lead to unhappiness which in turn generates vehement toward everything else.
WE MUST FIND OUR PASSION.
To give you a little detail: I’m actually taking a 3 months coaching course with AppSumo founder Noah Kegan who was running around bugging many wantreprenuers including me 6 years ago to join his “startup conference thing”, back then he was just a kid fired by “the man” at Facebook (trust me, it’s not such a bad thing when you are fired as the 30th employee at facebook). In this 6 years he has started two companies, most recent one is AppSumo and he is now worth north of some crazy amount of many gazillion dollars:) Being a man sometime means to realize our own limitation. So I went to him this time around to get advice. Guess what, the first thing chief Sumo asked me is: send an email like the following script and ask your 5 good friends for $1 before we do anything else: I was like? You want me do what?…
Long story short: I did send to 5 good friends. And I want to take this to another level so I’m posting this thing here on my own blog, and it will probably get some retweet, sharing what not. If you don’t know me, but want to invest $1, please do tell me your name, a little bit about you. I will make sure list you as the investor on this blog and tell Noah about it. Seriously.
The following is the email script:
So I am starting a business and need $1 from you.
Why would you do this (invest $1 in me)?
Your investment will give me some serious confidence to kick some ass and start a business I have always wanted to. I am reaching out to you because you have supported me before, and I could definitely use the small support again. After all, it’s only $1 dollar.
If you’re cool with that, then please PayPal it to grantkuo at gmail.com.
Thanks for everything.
This is definitely not spam, and I am definitely not crazy. To prove that, this is my Chinese name: 郭健
Before you know, it’s the last hour of 2012 in San Francisco. I’m at exactly same location as I was 12 months ago: my sofa, hanging out with my buddy. I remember a year ago I was thinking: I’ll make it to times square on the NYE of 2013.
Did not happen.
When was the last time that you wanted to do something in the future, and you think you will be able to do it when the time comes? Quite often.
Why not, instead of imagining what would happen on the NYE of 2014, do something interesting tonight, NYE 2013?
I’m heading out to golden gate bridge for a cross bridge run to celebrate 2013′s arrival. I heard it has the best view of the midnight fireworks.
I’ve been reluctant to watch this interview, simply because I thought Brian Wong is just a smart kid who got lucky. After watching the conversation midway, I realized this Kid wanting to be someone was a lot like me when I was a kid wanting to get in Stanford, his tactic for reaching out to influential people was pretty amazing. And it’s all driven by his burning desire and curage, and strength.
Finding Derek Sivers (and other super people Seth Godin, Steve Pavlina, Cory booker, Leo Barbauta etc.)Posted: August 14, 2012 | Author: grantgrant | Filed under: Opinions | Tags: cory booker, derek sivers, high sierra, leo barbauta, seth godin, tim ferries, yosemite | Leave a comment »
I didn’t purposefully look for Derek Sivers, nor did I know who he is. I simply followed a tweet from Tim Ferris to his article.
Derek’s site is clean, content rich, full of readers’ comment, ads free, huge traffic, spending a few minutes reading it reminded me Steve Pavlina, and his infamous “how to be a man”.
Both Derek Sivers and Steve Pavlina are true mavericks: they quitted the society norm long ago, and relentlessly chase their own ideology of life. In the process, they create their own utopia, hence followers follow and be inspired.
I ask myself: who else would not like a life path set by oneself? No one! But How many people can achieve not only that, ie. complete financial freedom, but land of Zen-ideology: to look at the world peacefully, and give, not ask things for return? Too few.
Why? I think it’s the “power”:Desire for power and materials drive most people to keep climbing societal ladder after achieving financial freedom.
If there is anything we can all learn from Derek and Steve, and other super people like them, such as Seth Gordin, Leo Barbauta, it’s the another kind of desire: desire to constantly learn new things, constantly create new things, never stop giving. Nework Mayor Cory Booker’s epic “conspiracy of love” speech at 2012 Stanford commencement (see below) is not an coincidence. Its purposeful seeking the true meaning one believes.
Finally, I am putting up this photo I took recently from 11000 feet at High Sierra for us to remember where we are all from, and will undoubtedly return to.