Understanding the job


Products vs. Jobs done. Hmm.

I would say it, without any necessary background or substance, that the probability of any software company to be successful is somewhere near 0(zero) if the concept was developed in a company that has decided what the customer wants.

And what happens then is that you develop a product and then you find that people don’t buy it. So then you have to hire(I don’t know if you ever heard of people like this), they’re called marketers. And the reason you have to have a marketer is that you’re trying to convince the customer that they need to buy the product, that you decided they need.

If instead you would’ve understand the job the customer’s trying to do, you actually wouldn’t need much marketing because customers will pull it into their lives. And almost always, those companies had somebody that was on the other side who knew the job. And it’s understanding the job that’s critical, in short supply. It’s not the ability to make products.

After Clayton M. Christensen

Being part of this new wave

Being part of this new wave

Bubble or not, it’s happening for a few years now. A new cycle of tech entrepreneurs is starting to emerge along with their companies.

As Chris Dixon put it here:

Most of the successful startups in the 90s built core infrastructure (e.g. optical switching) whereas most of the successful startups since then built applications on top of that infrastructure (e.g. search). The next phase should see startups higher in the stack. According to historical patterns, these would be ones that require deeper cultural change or deeper integration into existing industries.

That’s a hell of an opportunity. It’s happening right now and there’s no one else but us to take advantage. I’m pretty sure that every tech entrepreneur between 15 and 30(including myself) is or will be breathing it in the years to come.  We’re no longer similar to our peers that invest in us. What lies in front of ourselves, is way bigger. We’re living a time where people with the right attitude start innovating at levels that weren’t possible before.

I am proud to be part of this and you should be too. There’s a long road ahead and it’s more than exciting.

But being excited and part of the wave isn’t enough. Here’s two other things to consider, that have fundamentally changed:

1.  Difficulty level. It’s way harder to do it even though more and more people take their chances at it

 ”While it’s easier than ever to draw an idea on the back of the napkin, build a prototype or create a small business on the side, it’s still hard to quit your day job and commit “all in.”” via Steve Blank

You’re most likely today to build a company in an industry that’s being disrupted as we speak. Economy, our society and just about all our institutions are going through major structural changes. You see 1 man educating millions, a kid diagnosing cancer, devices studying our behavior, connected objects that help during everyday life, personalized data driven health and medicine, genomic sequencing that costs under $200. Chase it, but bear in mind that it won’t happen over night and it won’t be easy.

2.  Required skill set. It takes new skills and patience to “connect the dots”

Learning curves are also changing . Age, social status or background are no longer that relevant for you to be able to prove something. In many cases school is useless too. It’s easier than ever to acquire new technical skill sets. But, in this fast paced multitasking world, there are a harder to get, whole new set of qualities you need: emotional intelligence, the ability to listen or the ability to focus on only one thing for a long sustained period of time. For those who have them, the opportunities are endless. Only for those.

Don’t think that people succeed only because of luck :). It’s work, hustle and intuition that gets you “at the right place and at the right time”.

A matter of perspective

I’ve been watching Jason Silva’s YouTube series “Shots of Awe” where he explores various subjects in 2 minute videos narrated by him.  I though it’s worth sharing one of hist statements  about changing perspective and how everything can change when doing that. I completely agree with him.

As we tranquilize ourselves with trivialities we in fact are living in a different truth. Then when we step back, zoom out, take the long view, expand our minds and consciousness and perception and realize that we in fact came off a planet suspended in space, spinning around at very fast speeds at any given moment. So TEN TRILLION atoms self organized into a sentient mind that perceives itself as living off a planet that is hanging off of space…

I mean there is truth to every single thing I’ve said, every single perspective offers another angle, another reflection of the present situation. There are many truths, there are many realities, they coexist side by side. And I think our role as visionaries and artists and movers and doers, is to visit those realities, to transcend baseline ordinary consciousness, to change our perspectives and to bring back souvenirs for the rest of us to consume. That.. is our role.

It’s just a matter of perspective.


I found this on  Yaron Schoen’s website. It’s pointing to the “current environment in Silicon Valley and how ideas are formed to make money, not to push humanity forward. Which is a stark difference than the previous generation.”



The biggest mistake artists make

I know I’m in the technology field but I recently came across this guy. He’s a very respected actor coach in LA and NY, having coached dozens of well known actors around Hollywood. He makes a point around actors, but I think that his thoughts are equally valid for everyone involved in the “art” business. Either a painter, a singer, a writer, a indie developer or anyone trying to make a living off his art has to reflect on the same idea.

Here, some food for thought:

Really LinkedIn?

Add “lean startup” to your skills to generate more views :)

Get more profile views if you add a new skill to your profile? Do I have those skills? Doesn’t really matter, you’ll get more profile views.

Really LinkedIn?

Cristian Olarasu Linkedin Screenshot

Screenshot from the bottom of my LinkedIn stats page

Big ideas create tribes

What makes a good software product work is the ability to build a business around a compelling idea. And while this seems obvious in America and especially in Silicon Valley, in almost any other place, people say “Well if you wanna build a business, how are you going to make money tomorrow?”

In the Valley, businesses are built around an idea and then they’re figuring our how they’re going to make money. And this is really important, because if you want to make something work, something that’s really complicated, you cannot hire people that are motivated by a paycheck. They have to live it and breath it and they have to do it over a long period of time.

And it’s not a problem of venture capital. Risk capital exists everywhere. But the companies that have been the best at using that capital, exist in the Valley, and that’s about it. And it’s not because they’re smarter. It’s because they work better together. They’re more likely to be compelled by a big idea and put monetization second.

The overthinking pain


We’re constantly complicating every single part of our lives. And that reflects on the actions that we take on a daily basis.

I am becoming a more and more experienced writer. Not a good writer. The point is that i was a very bad writer five years ago. I was the kind of writer that thinks he could eventually write good stuff but ends up spending hours and hours in front of a two paragraph blog post or e-mail, only to eventually discover that is too late to send or publish. :) It’s funny, i know. And why? Because I was constantly thinking it was not good enough. Of course, that happened without any input or feedback from none of my recipients. I had this constant thought that what I say/write/express could be done better. I was challenging every part of my writings to become “perfect”. So every time I had to write something the message I wanted to deliver lost its essence for the simple fact that too much thought was being put inside of it. And that made me a bad writer.

Then, when I started to build products and to design processes, I noticed that the same problem appeared. And that freaked me out. I knew I was probably smart enough not to under-think stuff, so the issue was that I involuntarily over-”thought” them. And it’s a big pain. However, as any major self induced bad habit, it could be solved if you started pushing yourself. And that’s what i did. It’s like waking up in the morning. Initially it’s a pain, but when you start analyzing it and push yourself every day, a new habit emerges and waking up in the morning becomes a delight.

Anyway, that freaked me out. And the more freaked out I became, the more I started to realize that it’s a huge connection between the product development process and the way I was deeply analyzing everything I had to do in my daily routine work. That had to stop. So I started to push myself.

So life became much better. No more over thinking meant releasing more often, meant that people stopped waiting and that feedback came quickly than ever. I started to just send that email. Just publish that article/paper/post. Just launch that product. Just cut-down that feature, that feature list, that process. Just do things the way you naturally tend to do them and then see what happens or be concerned about the results. Then improve. And if you do it enough times, you’ll automatically start getting things right and a new habit will emerge. It’s a great way to become better so that you can reach that level of self satisfaction you’re instinctively trying to reach.

So if any of you guys is like me, stop over-thinking stuff. It only helps you on loosing more time and people won’t notice it. Frustration will occur and deadlines will be lost.

Stop deciding what people want


Google’s the perfect example of a company that has a great ability to make meaningful products, but, like never before, they produce concepts that force non-existing behaviors into people’s lives.

It was funny to read Michael Arrington’s  post this morning and I remembered this idea that Professor Clayton Christensen expressed during his “Jobs to be done” talk , that companies shouldn’t decide what people want, but fulfill existing needs.

“I would say, without any background or substance, that the probability of any software company to be successful is somewhere near 0(zero) if the concept was developed in a company that has decided what the customer wants. And you develop a product and then you find that people don’t buy it so then you have to hire, I don’t know if you ever heard of people like this, they’re called marketers :). And the reason you have to have a marketer is you’re trying to convince the customer that they need to buy the product that you decided they need. If instead you understand the job the customer’s trying to do, you actually don’t need much marketing because customers will pull it into their lives. And almost always, those companies had somebody that was on the other side who knew the job. And it’s understanding the job that’s critical, in short supply. It’s not the ability to make products.”

I don’t think it’s about Facebook finally treating it’s users as customers. It’s about Google that’s developing ideas that are intended to shape user’s needs, as opposed to fulfilling them.


ADHD explained


If your friends ever say they have ADHD, just show them this

ADHD is about having broken filters on your perception.

Normal people have a sort of mental secretary that takes the 99% of irrelevant crap that crosses their mind, and simply deletes it before they become consciously aware of it. As such, their mental workspace is like a huge clean whiteboard, ready to hold and organize useful information.

ADHD people… have no such luxury. Every single thing that comes in the front door gets written directly on the whiteboard in bold, underlined red letters, no matter what it is, and no matter what has to be erased in order for it to fit.

As such, if we’re in the middle of some particularly important mental task, and our eye should happen to light upon… a doorknob, for instance, it’s like someone burst into the room, clad in pink feathers and heralded by trumpets, screaming:


It’s like living in a soft rain of post-it notes.

This happens every single waking moment, and we have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was we were thinking before it came along, if not. Most often we forget, and if we aren’t caught up in the intricacies of doorknob engineering, we cast wildly about for context, trying to guess what the hell we were up to from the clues available.

On the other hand, we’re extremely good at working out the context of random remarks, as we’re effectively doing that all the time anyway.

We rely heavily on routine, and 90% of the time get by on autopilot. You can’t get distracted from a sufficiently ingrained habit, no matter what useless crap is going on inside your head… unless someone goes and actually disrupts your routine. I’ve actually been distracted out of taking my lunch to work, on several occasions, by my wife reminding me to take my lunch to work. What the? Who? Oh, yeah, will do. Where was I? um… briefcase! Got it. Now keys.. okay, see you honey!

Also, there’s a diminishing-returns thing going on when trying to concentrate on what you might call a non-interactive task. Entering a big block of numbers into a spreadsheet, for instance. Keeping focused on the task takes exponentially more effort each minute, for less and less result. If you’ve ever held a brick out at arm’s length for an extended period, you’ll know the feeling. That’s why the internet, for instance, is like crack to us – it’s a non-stop influx of constantly-new things, so we can flick from one to the next after only seconds. Its better/worse than pistachios.

The exception to this is a thing we get called hyperfocus. Occasionally, when something just clicks with us, we can get ridiculously deeply drawn into it, and NOTHING can distract us. We’ve locked our metaphorical office door, and we’re not coming out for anything short of a tornado.

“Ok Brian, draw a straight line on the wall!”

Medication takes the edge off. It reduces the input, it tones down the fluster, it makes it easier to ignore trivial stuff, and it increases the maximum focus-time. Imagine steadicam for your skull. It also happens to make my vision go a little weird and loomy occasionally, and can reduce appetite a bit. Hope this helps and please do share this so that more people can learn what its really like to have ADHD.

This was originally posted on Tickld. You can view the original version here .