I’ve let unproductive mornings ruin my whole day. Too tired, get out of bed late, unable to focus on work, leads to spending money on unhealthy food leads to more things I do that I don’t actually want to do.
The process is all momentum. We get fixated on what we initially set out to win at (getting shit done) and when losing momentum builds up, we fail to adapt to the task at hand.
Lets go back to getting out of bed. We feel groggy. Lethargic. What we did in the past was allow that loss to get amplified because it forms a chasm between you and getting your work complete.
Now we acknowledge that the problem has changed. We’re no longer in a position to focus on work. The problem shifts. We need to wake ourselves up first.
We go to a coffee shop. Flirt with the barista. Order some coffee. Great, we’re now awake. We haven’t gotten work done, but we’ve overcome a problem. Feels good.
The winning momentum has begun. We’re now in a position to thrive at work. To solve problems in a creative, effective fashion.
When we hit a brick wall of a problem that shifts the momentum in a downward spiral, we tend to get fixated on the failure, the thing that brought us down.
The loss will devour us if we do not shift to first restoring our productive state of mind.
Instead, we should immediately change our focus on the new problem that has surfaced. Take a deep break. And figure out how to offset that loss with a win.
Because winning breeds winning. And losing will do the same if you let it.
My most successful days entrepreneuring, I’ve followed very specific routines. My routines allow for 1.5 to 2 hours of intense focus followed by a period of rest.
Just like a intense cardio workout requires periods of downtime for recovery, your brain needs time to regather its strength.
Here’s a look at my routine from the Daily Routine app:
I also close out the day with a period of preparation for the next day along with a short learning period right before sleep. In between my breaks, if I can afford the energy to positively effect others lives, I will do that also.
In business and in life you don’t get what you want, you get what you are. #entrepreneur #success #personaldevelopment #mindsetmastery (at Hyatt Regency Crystal City)
After several months of work, user just weren’t digging Memorandom. Growth rate stagnated at a lowly 2%.
Nothing we changed improved our metrics. The users once active users stopped using it as none of their friends would engage (or even download).
It was either time to give up or pivot. Considering Sami and I are too stubborn and competitive to quit, pivoting came natural.
We carefully examined what we learned/observed from Memorandom. We tossed A LOT of ideas around and many debates were had. We conversed with others to gather more perspectives.
Eventually we converged on what is now Syft.
Syft and Memorandom aim to accomplish the same thing: providing a platform that provides intimate interactions like Snapchat but with more meaning like Instagram. A simple, fun way to keep up with your friends’ lives.
Syft and Memorandom, however, tackle the problem differently. Memorandom functions like a premium Snapchat: take a photo, add a caption and choose who to send to. Memorandom’s photos were not ephemeral and were searchable and organized.
Syft is like Tinder but for moments: rummage through your existing photos, saving and sending the ones you like or passing. You can anonymously save or pass on the photos your friends sent out, too.
All photos sent and saved are accumulated in an album and each photo has a score based on its popularity with your friends.
Syft is currently primitive. The App Store version has no good way of finding or inviting friends. We literally just spit out all the users the app has and users have only usernames to go by.
Yet even with bugs and usability issues, initial retention is very promising. For reference, 52 unique users opened the app 747 times in one week. Over 8% users have posted over 100 photos each, and over 16% of users have posted over 25 photos in less than a month.
If you are an early adopter type to apps, give it a shot and add me (username: rob). The next update adds ability to find and invite friends, but I bet you’ll have a blast using it either way.
Products don’t have to take month to validate. Theres a few things to do to quickly find out if you’ve struck gold (or not).
1. Focus. Build what you think makes your app valuable. Say you’re building Snapchat. Make a signup (username/password). Create a camera. Preview screen. Camera timer next. Add private selection of users. Notifications showing sender and moments by holding down. Done.
2. Don’t assume features. Make no assumptions about your product that don’t contribute to its core competency.
Back to Snapchat: no email, drawing, saving to camera roll, quick replies, or phone number (only 20 users? just show all of them!). Add these later as users express a need for them. Sending ephemeral, private moments — that’s what we care about.
3. Draw a line. Know what is considered success and failure before starting. How far should we build the product before we know if successful (hint: not much).
Hold yourself to a growth standard. 5% weekly growth or more is a great place to be for early product. 1-2% is a dud — try something else.
Understand the difference between pivoting and iterating. 1-2% growth products will not become winners by making signup slightly more smooth. Or making it more pretty.
Make big changes. Rework the core functionality. Rapidly move things around. Ruthlessly cut features and simplify. Anything it takes to hit a minimum product with good weekly growth.