💬 I often get Q’s like these:

How did you get your first customers for WIP? How did you grow BetaList’s traffic? Etc.

Makers are looking to reverse-engineer success. I see it everywhere.

I don’t think it works that way and the answers to those questions are mostly useless. 💥

I have built dozens of different products over the last couple of years. The vast majority failed. 😭

Surely if I know the answers to these questions, but still fail over and over again, these answers aren’t that useful. 🤷‍♀️

So what’s a better question to ask? 🤔
99.9% of the questions I receive are about the products that did well. In a way that makes sense, because we quickly forget about those that didn’t succeed.

🧠 This is known as survivorship bias.

Focusing on what survived, while ignoring what made it survive in the first place.
The real question, what you really want to know, is this:

What makes @WIP, @BetaList, and to some extent @AllStartupJobs succeed where my countless other attempts failed?

What separates a failed product 👎 from a successful product 👍?
Honestly, I don’t know. I wish I did.

It’s like Steve Jobs said “I’ll know it when I see it.” 👀

Same is true when we make products. We don’t know upfront what will work. But once we see an inkling of a product that does have potential, it’s not that hard to spot.
🚫 The wrong idea requires you to push and push until you’re tired and can’t take it anymore.

👌 The right idea will pull you forwards.
🚫 The wrong product will have you begging people for feedback. You’ll cling to any comment remotely positive. (“Wouldn’t use, but nice idea!”)

👌 The right product will attract people wanting to use it. People will give feedback without you asking for it.
🚫 The wrong product will have you focused on the technology, fine-tuning the design, tweaking the copy.

👌 The right product will give you the confidence to ship something embarrassing, because you know despite all its shortcoming it’s useful.
So keep shipping. Assuming your current product will fail and you need to try a bunch more before you’ve found the metaphorical spaghetti that sticks to the wall. 🍝
This means you need to keep your initial products small. If it takes 10 tries to find something that works, you can’t afford to spend more than month trying out an idea. 💡⏳
Persistence is not about sticking with what doesn’t work. Persistence is continuously experimenting until you’ve found something that goes work. ♻️💪
Happy shipping! 🚢✨

Inspired by conversations in 🚧 @WIP

Grammar mistakes, stupid ideas, etc courtesy of tweeting at 6am in morning (that’s before I go to sleep, not after waking up). Bye! 😴
Oh, and when I talk about successful products and refer to my own, I mean that in the context of what’s successful for me personally. I prefer speaking from personal experience hence referring to my own products.

More from Startups

1/ Tuesday was my last day as CEO of @CircleUp. I’ve been CEO since starting the co. in 2011 with my co-founder @roryeakin.

This is a thread about what happened, why and my emotions about it. For more detail:


Much of this I have never talked about.

2/ My goals: I hope it helps founders feel less lonely than I did. Little public content about the challenges of transitioning exists, but I longed for it. I’m not here to provide a playbook- just to share my experience. Hope it might build greater empathy.

Here goes….

3/ Why: When I tell people that I’m transitioning to an Exec Chairman role their first question is always: “why?” Short answer: co. pivot + fertility issues + health issues + a false sense that grit was always the answer = burnout. Long answer: is longer so hang in there with me

4/ Over a 12-18 month period that ended in late 2017 I ran my tank far beyond empty for far too long. You know that sound your car makes when it’s sputtering for more gas? It was like that. Worst year of my life. Since then it has felt like bone on bone.

5/ Here is what happened:

Professionally: pivoting a Series C company was a living hell in and of itself, as I’ve talked about before.
5 Micro Skills That Will Improve Your Life Drastically

// A THREAD //

Even the small things compound over time... and become huge.

And they become HUGE.

This is the list of small skills that will improve your life A LOT over time, you can't even imagine how much... before you give it a try.

I'll present the skills in form of mini challenges.

1. Type with all ten fingers 10 days - 10 mins in the morning.

Most of us spend a lot of our time behind the computer typing.

Yet, not many people know how to write with all ten fingers —> drastically faster.

You can learn it for free here:

2. Make at least one Zap

Zappier allows you to make micro workflows between the applications you use.

Let's say you have to calendars (work and normal) and you want to sync them all the time —> Zappier

2b. You send an email every month remind your customers to pay the maintenance fee + reminder them if they won't —> Zappier

You want an email notification every time someone edits a Google sheet —> Zappier

Basic version is free. @zapier

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This is a pretty valiant attempt to defend the "Feminist Glaciology" article, which says conventional wisdom is wrong, and this is a solid piece of scholarship. I'll beg to differ, because I think Jeffery, here, is confusing scholarship with "saying things that seem right".

The article is, at heart, deeply weird, even essentialist. Here, for example, is the claim that proposing climate engineering is a "man" thing. Also a "man" thing: attempting to get distance from a topic, approaching it in a disinterested fashion.

Also a "man" thing—physical courage. (I guess, not quite: physical courage "co-constitutes" masculinist glaciology along with nationalism and colonialism.)

There's criticism of a New York Times article that talks about glaciology adventures, which makes a similar point.

At the heart of this chunk is the claim that glaciology excludes women because of a narrative of scientific objectivity and physical adventure. This is a strong claim! It's not enough to say, hey, sure, sounds good. Is it true?