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CEO Advice: Nobody Cares.

Stashed in: Founders, Football, #greatness, #success, Words!, Decisions, CEOs, @bhorowitz, Whatever., Writing!, Energy

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Ben Horowitz channeling Al Davis:

When things go wrong in your company, nobody cares. The press doesn’t care, your investors don’t care, your board doesn’t care, your employees don’t care, even your mama doesn’t care. Nobody cares.

And they are right not to care. A great reason for failing won’t preserve one dollar for your investors, won’t save one employee’s job, or get you one new customer. It especially won’t make you feel one bit better when you shut down your company and declare bankruptcy.

All the mental energy that you use to elaborate your misery would be far better used trying to find the one, seemingly impossible way out of your current mess.

This reminds me of something I tell myself every day:

Be careful where you spend your energy, because you only get a limited amount of that resource each day.

So get in there and succeed, dammit!

Wherever you are, there you are. The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3, "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

In other words, messes are just opportunities disguised as chaos?

I appreciate the energy comment, especially as I look at my personal kanban board for today. (A focusing technique I highly recommend. Allow only one item in the WIP section.)

As one who has failed decisively, I agree with Ben's comment right up until the moment that the company has shut down. Once you cross that threshold, the reasons do matter to the people involved. My employees, partners, and investors were grateful to hear a thoughtful but frank explanation what happened. Investors, especially, wanted to hear my lessons learned, both the good and the bad. With only one exception, all of the people involved have remained good connections, partners, investors, and friends.

Would you believe I've never heard of Kanban Boards until you mentioned yours just now?

I do note that the pmarca guide to productivity claims a person can only do 3 to 5 things a day.

And I agree with your point that reasons do matter -- I think that's why so many of us do project postmortems.

By the way, I had a discussion a few years ago with a co-worker about using Kanban to make sure we did not run out of hard drives, toilet paper, etc. Turns out that Kanban just means "Look at the board"!

Thanks Eric.

Personal rules of thumb:

  1. If a decision is not important, delegate the decision making. Using dice to make decisions isn't completely stupid.

  2. If a decision is important, sleep before making it. Sleep almost always leads to better judgment.

  3. Remember, the worst decision is no decision. A bad decision is better than no decision. So decide something.

As a corollary to the original Ben Horowitz piece posted above, some excellent, excellent advice for writers by Steven Pressfield:

"Nobody wants to read your shit."

By analogy, this is also a key issue for entrepreneurs to keep in mind when forming the idea for a company and for marketing it.

I googled "Nobody Cares" and found some fun memes:

nobody cares

nobody cares

nobody cares

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