So today I had to provide guidelines for the redesign of our Ideas2life website. The question was “what are the key associations we want the Ideas2life brand to stand for”
Simultaneously I heard three voices in my head say
Given the confusion, the third voice humbly realized that it was wrong (it was indeed non-obvious) so it shut up, grabbed a large bag of popcorn and sat back to enjoy the ride.
When I am confused I try to find clarity using bullet points – three usually.
So what are the key associations we want the Ideas2life brand to stand for? Here is my first list:
Ahh. Transparent & Honest feels right. The others are “right” as well but Transparent & Honest feels ahhhhh right! (Bliss as Athina would say)
So why is friendly the first one? Well… we are friendly, so it’s an accurate reflection of who we are and what we do.
But then why does Transparent & Honest feels “more right”.
Note to self: I sense that this question will bug me till I get it right.
I dont know I am stuck. I guess I ll have a look at our team values to feel unstuck.
Start with a smile… yeah ok friendly related.
Whatever works… hmm. This is probably our most well known value but meh
Always use the 80-20 rule… again. Usually speak about this. And meh
When things go wrong you can either learn or assign blame – as soon as I read this I felt a tingling feeling inside. Yeah… Ideas2life is all about the learning. Relentless learning.
Side story that popped in my head
Yesterday in the afternoon I was having a conversation with our CTO about one member of the dev team and he told me “We know that he is willing to hit delete on thousands of line of code in one minute if proven wrong” and that was the highest compliment
/Side story ends
So learning. Relentless learning.
Wait is this the second time I used the world Relentless? And it’s not a word I usually use.
Learning at speed means that you `ll very often have opinions that you are proud of proven wrong.
And then you will have to swallow your ego, put your tail between your legs and find the will to start from the beginning. And that’s harsh, frustrating and exhausting.
But it’s all about the learning.
If you take a long-term view the only thing that matters is how fast you can learn as an individual and as a team.
Learning just 1% per day means you will know over 37 times more by the end of the year. Really! Here is a fancy equation to prove it:
1.01365 = 37.78
What if you do this for 5 years? (The average time it takes for a startup to succeed is 7 years)
1.01365×5 = 77 002 912
WOA! If you learn just 1% more every day for 5 Years you will have 77 million times more knowledge? That can’t be true! (But I keep doing the math and it keeps giving me the same answer)
This is Scary
But wait… Learning on your own is the easy (and less valuable kind of learning). Learning as a team , is more difficult and more valuable.
Does anyone want to do the math on the learning of a team of 25?
Now that learning is point #1, Do-ers at #2 feels correct. But why is doing so important?
It’s very easy to visit a new website/walk into a store/see anything from the outside and spot a thousand things that can be improved. And your observations would be correct. (Step 1)
Over time you might find yourself getting frustrated at everything. Why the fuck is nothing working correctly? (Step 2)
To explain the above we often dive deep into the favourite activity of humans – tooting our own ego.
Cos… (we rationalize) if really there are 1000 things that can be “easily” improved, and no one is doing them, we reckon that we are smarter than everyone else.
And here we are at step 3 – Arrogance. Arrogance can be disastrous.
Now when you switch sides and “launch something” if you keep your eyes and ears open you will inevitably get a thousand reasons why your “baby” is ugly.
That will either force you to “give up” feeling I am too good for this bunch of idiots that leave around me (the tooting your own ego option) or be humbled by how difficult doing things is.
This is one of the things/experiences you cannot unsee/go back from. It’s the moment when the coffee cup hits the floor at Usual suspects. Once you see that, the whole movie changes.
In a similar manner, once you become a do-er and allow yourself to launch something (that will naturally be imperfect) you start to view life quite differently.
This experience has nothing to do with startups – it’s the same experience an artist feels when they publish their first work at a major state or an Athlete when they play their first big game.
Being a do-er is really important as it:
So yeah, Humble Do-ers is a great value we would like our team to be associated with.
Building a great time is a challenge(Hey captain obvious). You need to constantly learn, change and evolve to optimize for the current environment and company size.
Dealing with a lot of the difficult issues early on can be destabilizing so most companies (and individuals) tend to ignore them.
One of the things I am most proud of our team is that we speak up and discuss all the topics, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable they might be.
Finding the right solution to every problem is not the key here. The key is having a process and a habit of discussing challenges. If you do this from day one, then there is no situation that you can’t manage.
Transparency and Honesty force you to have these conversations from day one – and that’s why they are key Values of our team.
So what are the key associations that we would like the visitor of our new website make with the Ideas2life team?
This list feels right and make me happy! I started writing this blog feeling confused, and I feel… Bliss:)