Here’s the gist:
- Disruptive web innovation comes from changes in interface.
- Interfaces, which make information easier to understand by mainstream users, create world-changing companies.
- The next stage of the web is the Curated Web, which like the stages before, will create massive opportunities for entrepreneurs who see the trend.
Is this it? Really? Facebook wins, cashes in its chips, and we all go home?
Of course, there is more to come and it’s a future filled with sheer awesomeness. Within the next few years, technology will improve your life in ways you can scarcely imagine. But if you’re looking for where we’re headed, it’s useful to know where we’ve been and most importantly, we should know the catalyst driving us from one phase to the next.
Though tech types tend to focus myopically on the laws of hardware innovation, including those written by Moore, Metcalfe and Kryder, these principles focus on infrastructure, which is only the first phase of a rising technology wave. After infrastructure, technology waves enter a platform and finally an application phase. It is during the platform phases in particular that entrepreneurs build world-changing companies without much initial capital, a la Gates and Zuckerburg. How do companies change user behavior so profoundly and produce massive growth, seemingly overnight?
Lately, I’ve noticed a startling paradox in Silicon Valley. I see shitty companies hiring more engineers than they know what to do with, while other, much better companies struggle to fill open roles. Now my definition of “shitty” is completely subjective, but I bet you too can name some ridiculous start-ups that no sane engineer should work for. Meanwhile, companies catering to huge markets, logical business models, amazing user growth, and cash in the bank from top investors, are having a hard time hiring tech talent. What gives?
I call this phenomenon the developer divide. It occurs after a company has cracked a user need and is gaining traction, the VCs have started piling on the cash and the servers are melting from all the users. But there’s one big problem. The company is having trouble hiring engineers to keep up with the torrid pace of growth.
Take Pinterest, the latest toast of Silicon Valley. The company is growing faster than Facebook when it was of equivalent size. Andreessen Horowitz, some of the smartest money on Sand Hill Road in my opinion, just invested in a $27 million dollar round only 5 months after the company closed its series A. The company has umpteen different ways to monetize and few serious competitors. Of course, the company is no sure thing and has plenty of risks ahead, but any investor could make a case for why this company is a good bet. But despite the opportunity, a LinkedIn search reveals the company still employs only 15 people.
This post is part 3 of a 3-part series. See part 1 here and part 2 here. (Photo credits)
When we look at successful entrepreneurs, it may appear that they spend their lives relentlessly driving towards a singular goal. We assume the path to success was a straight shot, lined with mile markers throughout. In fact, it wasn’t. Entrepreneurs make it up as they go. The nature and uncertainty of entrepreneurship favors those who can quickly find the most efficient path, regardless of where the crowd may be headed.
Finding the optimal path, that is, doing only the stuff that matters most and quitting the rest, is paramount to an entrepreneur’s success. In this final post in my three-part series on the lessons and parallels of running a business and running as an athlete, I’ll be taking a look at why quitting is as important as commitment.
Lesson 3: Quit to win
Every week, I meet with entrepreneurs who are lit up with passion for their business. Typically, when I am asked to advise someone, I will ask what the top issue is that I could help him or her with. True to form, they begin to describe their social media plan, followed by a description of the slides in the investor presentation they will inevitably make. They would be hard-pressed to omit the amazing code they are in the process of building and the great feedback received from a PR agency they met with, and on and on. Invariably, and quite clearly, there is a lot on their mind.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
- Warren Buffet
If you’re like most people, you have a New Year’s resolution in place and you may have even stuck to it so far this year. Good for you! Realistically though, you’re going to fail. How long have you said you really should get in shape, or lamented the need for more quality time with family and friends? The fact is, despite the most earnest commitment, resolutions just don’t work.
We make well-intentioned goals, with the false belief that we just lack commitment and motivation; that all we need is a good kick in the ass to get us going. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, so please stop being so hard on yourself. There are better ways to achieve your full potential, with minimal headache.
First, realize that the key to success at pretty much everything comes down to creating productive habits. A habit is defined as a behavior that happens almost involuntarily. I define a“productive habit” as a behavior that gets you what you want in life automatically, without you really trying.
But productive habits don’t just appear out of thin air. They are created by assembling a chain of individual behaviors, like a string of pearls. These individual behaviors, over time,change our daily actions and in turn, our lives. Productive habits move us to our full potential, morph us into the people we want to become, and ultimately give us the life we want.
A few weeks ago, I presented to the California Nutrition Education Program, a great group of educators working to help Californians lead healthier lives. My presentation was about how to use the Fogg Behavior Model along with some of my own techniques to design healthful habits in oneself and others.
The presentation is below. Please excuse the unpolished speaker notes.
This post is part 2 of a 3-part series. See part 1 here and part 3 here. (Photo credits)
What if I told you I know of a guaranteed, foolproof way to get in the best physical shape of your life without strenuous workouts? How would you like to achieve success at work, without grueling hours at the office? It sounds too good to be true and of course there is a catch, but my claims are real. I’ve learned that athletic and business successes rely on similar principles. There is a reason why jocks become Fortune 500 CEOs. But you don’t need a varsity jacket to apply these lessons to your own life. In fact, I’m a born nerd who until recently hated athleticism.
I’ve always been better at business than sports and am fortunate to have sold two companies over the past eight years. But recently, I’ve found a love for exercise and in my early thirties, I became an avid barefoot runner. I run barefoot for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I run unshod because I like it. It just feels good. I once exercised to keep my weight under control, to get healthy,or because that’s what we’re all “supposed to do”. But that’s no longer why I run. It is precisely because I run for pure pleasure that I plan on running for a long, long time.