by Trevor McKendrick on May 21, 2013
This is post #5 of my 10 post series on my first year in the App Store. Previous posts: My First Year in the App Store How to Find a Profitable Niche – Part I How to Find a Profitable Niche – Part II What Everyone Should know about Contracting Developers
I recently attended Expolit, a conference focused on the Spanish Christian publishing industry. My goal was to get licensing rights to books and study guides to sell as in-app purchases inside our mobile apps.
By way of background, the conference is a place where publishers can pitch their newest and buid relationships with distributors. It’s a tight-knit community. While I do speak spanish, I’m completely new to the industry. I didn’t know a soul when I arrived to Miami. I just got my badge and started talking to people.
Since the conference ended May 5 I’ve closed one licensing deal and have multiple others in the works.
Know exactly what you want You need to have specific strategic goals for the conference, or else WTF are you attending?
For us, we wanted to meet the digital rights managers of every publisher in attendance. Our goal was to start the process of licensing digital content to sell inside our mobile apps.
Make them sell to you When I first arrived I walked in and immediately went to the publisher booths.
I energetically introduced myself and Salem Software. I told them our story, what we do (digital study software), etc. Some people were nice and opened up, others kind of just listened and then didn’t ask any questions of their own. Like a bad date.
Once I was more tired I found myself slowly walking by booths, gradually perusing all the booth had to offer. Sometimes I’d pick up an example book and thumb through it.
This changed everything.
Suddenly the publisher was coming up to me and selling me on their products. “We just released a new…” or “have you seen this…?” They were trying to convince me I should listen to them.
This was extremely powerful. I did in fact want to hear what they had to say, so I’d eagerly listen and ask questions. When they were done I’d ask if I could tell them what we do, and they’d also happily say yes. Boom, I had my audience.
This was the perfect introduction. Instead of me approaching them overenthusiatically and scaring them away, I could build a relationship by genuienly listening to them first. By the end of those conversations we were great friends, with specific followup steps agreed to.
Track your conversations Anyone who has been to a conference knows you talk to hundreds of people and collect way too many business cards. By the end you look back at all those cards and can’t remember the person’s face, let alone all the details of your conversation.
Instead, at the end of every night I’d go back to my hotel room and write down in my Google Doc the name of each person, their organization name, and details of what we talked about. This is huge!
Now when I email people to followup I can refer to specific details from our conversation. I can mention who introduced us, where we met, which products we talked about, etc.
I can practically guarantee they will not be doing the same tracking, so they’ll be reeling to remember who you are when they see your email. Helping them remember you as a human being who had a real conversation with them goes a long way torwards getting your email read.
Experiment with your message My initial story when I approached publishers was the something along the following: “We’re Salem Software and we make Bible study software for mobile devices. We focus 100% on native Spanish speakers because we believe they’re a neglected demographic. This is natural since most companies do English first, then Spanish as an afterthought. We also sell other Christian books and content in our mobile app store.”
About two sentences in I’d lost them. I thought they would care that we focused on Spanish speakers. I was wrong.
I started experimenting with the message, but ultimately it all came down to one line:
“We do digital distribution.”
Now they knew exactly how we could work together and what I was looking for. If they had more questions about our business and who we are, great, but first and foremost they had the context for what we do.
Stand out Again, people are not going to remember you, so you must do your best to stand out.
This is really hard though as you must balance a fine line. If you’re new and try to stand out too much you’ll look dumb and people won’t trust you.
Honestly for me all I had were really nice, simple business cards. That didn’t do a lot, but it at least made me proud and confident when I gave them out.
The best example of standing out I saw was from a little booth in the corner. Every person they had a decent conversation with, myself included, they’d take their picture with them.
When they followed up to me via email they attached the picture, and I immediately remembered who they were and the conversation we had. It worked really well.
Now, taking a picture with everyone might be weird in some settings. Be careful. Figure out something that works for your personality and your industry and do that.
Be humble I pride myself on speaking Spanish well. While I haven’t stayed as fluent as I’d like, I’m still pretty good and like to practice as much as I can. In some instances if I find the right person to talk to I can even “show off” by using idioms and expressions that most foreigners don’t know.
So when I arrived at the conference I really wanted to speak Spanish the entire time. Some conversations went really well, but others I struggled to effectively communicate. On top of that, nearly every digital licensing rep I spoke to was bilingual anyways, even if English was their second language.
About halfway through I bit the bullet. Any person who I absolutely needed to get to know I’d speak to in English. They understood me and Salem Software better, and I felt more confident.
This was hard because I love speaking Spanish. I love impressing native Speakers with all the expressions and slang that I know. But ultimately I had to eat some humble pie and stick to my mother tongue. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have built the relationships necessary to achieve our goals.
Break bread The two people I had dinner with are the two I feel closest to after the conference. There’s something about eating together outside of a typical “work” environment that helps people loosen up. You don’t even have to drink ( we didn’t).
After the Conferenece Once the conference is over there are other things to keep in mind:
Follow up As the small company doing the asking it falls upon us to do all the follow up. Duh.
You want to do this soon after the conference, but it doesn’t have to be immediately. Some people will still be recovering from the exhausting week away, or they’ll already be inundated with emails from other people they met.
I started emailing my new contacts 4 days after the conference. I don’t know if this was the perfect move vs emailing them right after the conference, but it’s worked so far.
Don’t worry if they’re slow After emailing folks I didn’t hear back from many of them and kind of started freaking out. What if the entire conference was a waste!
Lo and behold, people at big organizations have a lot to do, and so are a little slower to respond. No big deal.
For everyone that I hadn’t heard back from I sent another email a week later basically saying “Hey I wanted to check in since I hadn’t heard from you. I hope you’re recovering from Expolit.”
The next day I suddenly had a ton of emails waiting for me from all these big publishers. People’s answers all varied, between “I was still on vacation” to “I’ve still trying to get caught up from the conference.” Many even apologized!
The point is, don’t freak out if they don’t respond initially. And definitely don’t pester them with a bunch of emails asking what happened. Be emotionally mature and wait. You have to take their culture into consideration.
Track your emails For every contact I met I also have a field for where we are in the licensing process. Have I emailed them? Have they responded? Have they sent me a contract? Etc. This all goes in the same Google Doc.
Without it I’d have to reread every email chain to remember who the person is, where we are in the deal, what they need from me, etc. This is a huge pain and I’m surprised a product doesn’t exist to solve it, but it’s so worth tracking.
Conclusion The jury is still out on whether we’ll close all the licensing deals we like. But so far this conference has been a success for us.
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by Trevor McKendrick on May 15, 2013
One of the key pieces of my success this last year has been working with the right developer at the right price.
Finding a developer for the first time can be scary. But after working with almost a dozen or so devs I’ve found it’s not too bad as long as you follow a few important rules.
Know your project goals You have to start by really understanding your project goals. Do you want to test a new product idea or make something really awesome regardless if people use it?
Depending on your goals your developer needs will fall somewhere in this spectrum:
The more you move to the right, the more you’ll pay, but the more the developer will “think” for you.
Pay them to Code, not Think One of the key things to understand about finding a contracted developer on the left is that they want specific, exact instructions. They’re not being paid to think for you; they’re merely turning your ideas into code.
And that’s fine! You can still get “good enough” products made to test a market, if that’s your goal.
A smart way to make the work is by creating mockups. Showing them a picture of what you want built willl do more to explain your project than anything else.
My very first Elance project I had no clue what I was doing, but I made the below mockups for the very first version of my app. I didn’t care about what the mockup looked like, I just need to show the contractor where the buttons went and overall layout.
Mockup Screen 1
Mockup Screen 2
Once your mockup is ready you can post confidently to Elance.
Hiring on Elance Elance is great for finding “good enough” developers. To find a good fit I look for people who: - have good reviews - have a decent portfolio - speak good English - are very responsive
Sometimes I’ll just ask them a question to see how long it takes to respond. Hiring an unresponsive contractor is a terrible experience so you want to get that out of the way as soon as possible.
On smaller scoped projects I also prefer working with individuals versus agencies. That way you know what you’re communicating about the project is going straight to the person doing the actual work.
Skype is your Friend Once I’ve narrowed my choices down I’ll interview a few people via Skype. I want to get a feel for how we communicate with each other. Does she understand me when I describe product features? Does he ask good follow up questions?
It also helps humanize each other. This is very overlooked with Elancers, myself included. I’ve worked with so many people now that I often forget that on the other side is a breathing, living human being.
Seeing and talking with that person goes a long way towards a great working relationship.
Negotiations, & Milestones When negotiating terms with a new developer remember that the power is generally on your side. You have 10+ people bidding for your work. You can set the terms.
A great term you can use to protect yourself are milestones.
The idea is to put the majority of the contract payment at the end of the project. Personally I like setting 50% of the contract price as conditional upon Apple approving my app. That way if Apple rejects it unexpectedly your contractor hasn’t made off with the money. They’re still bound to help you fix it.
Some might say that’s unfair to the developer. If Apple rejects my app why is that the dev’s fault? The key is that you both set expectations and agreed to those terms upfront. Of course the contractor can turn down the job.
Underpriced Developers There are also very talented, professional developers on Elance. And there’s even a way to hire them on a budget, too.
It’s turns out it’s really hard for new contrators to win their first Elance job because they don’t have any reviews. You can use this to your advantage.
What this means is sometimes great developers will work for really cheap on their first few jobs just to get into the game. That’s how I found the amazing developer I have now, a guy named Bart Jacobs.
He had no reviews, but: - He had a great portfolio, including his own apps in the App Store - He spoke amazing English in our Skype interview (he’s from Europe) - He answered all my questions intellegently, and had smart questions of his own
And he was willing to work at a discount, so I figured I could take the small risk for a great developer.
I pay him much more now (see below) but that was the start of a great working relationship.
Managing Developers Of course hiring is only half the battle. Managing developers is a different story.
While yes, you have hired the contractor and yes, you are paying them, you still have the choice to make their life easy or a living hell. They do their best work for their favorite clients so it’s in your interest to make them happy.
Know what you want I was once told by Bart that he likes working for me because I know what I want. So again, make mockups! Just doing them on your own makes you think through how the ap will work.
That’s much better than going to a dev and saying “I want a Bible app. Go.” That requires a ton more work on their part.
That said, don’t feel like you have to stick 100% to what you showed them initially. As development progresses you’ll realize some changes need to be made. That’s ok. Just be reasonable about your requests.
And if you don’t know whether something is reasonable, ask your developer. I’ve been surprised on multiple ocassions when the answer is simply “yeah we can add that no problem.”
Actionable Feedback When you’re reviewing a build and you don’t like something, be as specific as possible as to why.
Ideally you’ll describe: (1) what you don’t like, and (2) what would make it better.
I admit this can be really hard to do. Sometimes it’s just a gut reaction and you don’t know why you don’t like it.
That’s okay if it’s only ocassional and you admit it (e.g. “I don’t like how this works… sorry I don’t know why/can’t give a better reason”) but if you do it too much you’ll frustrate your developer.
Remember: reduce ambiguity. A well-defined and scoped problem with specific feedback is a developer’s best friend.
Pay them Well (if they’re worth it) This only applies to the best developers.
True story: A few months ago I rehired Bart. He’s a 100% class act. He does great work, gives quick but thorough updates, gives me unsolicited advice on how to make my apps bettter, etc. He takes care of me as a customer.
When we first agreed to this new project we agreed to a price of $4,000. That’s a lot for my little company, so I swallowed hard and went for it.
But as time went on and I thought more about the app’s requirements and the importance of this rebuild I reconsidered.
The guy is amazing and has done great work for me before. Why shouldn’t I show him that I appreciate it?
So I emailed him one day and said “hey, I want to do this right and I want you to know I appreciate your work. I’m raising the contract to $6,000.” He didn’t ask for that, I just did it.
Now, can I directly measure what impact that’s had? Not really.
But personally, I feel better working with him. I feel more comfortable making the occasional additional request. And I know that if he thinks something isn’t right he’ll tell me. He trusts that I’m not trying to screw him over.
Pay them Quickly You think this would be obvious.
But many a contractor’s fear is not getting paid. Who doesn’t have stories of calling clients about invoices 90+ days outstanding?
So my rule is: Do I have the cash to pay them? (I better or WTF did I hire them) AND Am I satisfied with the finished project?
If both of those are true then I cut the check.
“But you should wait for the invoice….didn’t you get Net 30 terms?”
That’s exactly why I should pay quickly. It will surprise them and they’ll want to work for me again. They’ll try and keep me as a client by doing great work.
In Summary Depending on your project goals you can find a good developer at a reasonable price. And if you treat them well that relationship can grow into something powerful.
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by Trevor McKendrick on May 7, 2013
This post is a continuation of last week. I wrote there are 3 parts parts to the ideal profitable niche:
1. Profitable 2. Can be found through search 3. Has crappy competitors
Today I’m talking about 2 and 3.
Will Customers find you via Search? You need to find something that can be found with a frequently searched keyword that doesn’t have a lot of competitors.
This is a tough one because Apple doesn’t release keyword data. While there do exist tools now that approximate keyword search frequency, I didn’t know about them when I picked my niche.
One in particular that I’ve started using lately is Straply.com. I’ve talked to the cofounder and he calls it the first “Google Keyword Tool” for App Stores. The interface isn’t very good yet, but the data he’s collecting is remarkable. It’ll tell you how often a term is searched and how many competitors also appear in the App Store Search Results (ASSRs).
Do it Yourself But I’d also recommend doing your own tried and true research. I did the following before most any App Store optimzation tools went mainstream:
For each niche I brainstormed a bunch of keywords/phrases. I plugged those words into the Google Keyword Tool and clicked the “mobile only” option.
From there I selected the top 30 or so keywords. And I plugged those into the search bar of the App Store.
Then I go through the ASSRs.
For the top 5 or 10 results for each keyword I consider a few metrics:
- Does the app have a lot of reviews? How recent are the reviews?
- When did the developer last update the app?
- Are there any apps that make good money and only rank high in the ASSRs for a few KW’s?
In an ideal world you’d find an app that has lots of reviews and that ranks well in the ASSRs for one keyword phrase, and of course is making money. That means the phrase is likely to be something users are searching for.
If a profitable app ranks well for a few keywords look at the other apps in the ASSRs. Do they appear to be making money, too? Generally, the more money the top results are making, the more likely the keyword is searched by users.
You do have to be careful here though: some apps will rank well for many KWs and it requires much more detective work to figure out which KWs are the ones users are actually searching.
Is the keyword competitive? Simply look at the # of apps in the ASSRs for the KW phrases research above.
E.g. below are the # of results for different KW’s with the word “calculator”:
“calculator” = 10,930 “tip calculator” = 777 “scientific calculator” = 336 “graphing calculator” = 81
I consider anything less than 100 to be great. Anything over 500 is probably too much.
Are the competitors any good? Again, the App Stores are great because they give public reviews. You already know what user do and don’t like about your competitors. If you decide to get into that niche, you know where the improvements need to be made.
Also subjectively look at competitors: does it appear the developer is putting time/care/love into the product? Maybe she’s become apathetic because she has so little competition and users can’t find anything else. That’s exactly how the landscape looked with Spanish Bibles (It’s worth noting that since then the competition has picked up significantly.)
If it looks like the competition isn’t trying very hard but they’re still making money, it’s likely you’ve found a niche worth investing some more time in.
Sign up if you don’t use RSS anymore and want to be notified of the remaining 7 posts. Still to cover: - Finding and working with contractors - Pricing Strategies - Building apps via Elance - Doing design work with 99Designs - How to get a great icon
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by Trevor McKendrick on April 30, 2013
(This is the second of a 10 post series about my first year in the App Store. You can read the first post here. Thank you to the 1,800 of you who signed up to receive these via email!)
tl;dr We can estimate how profitable an app is using Gross and Paid Rankings. This helps us decide whether it’s a good niche to get into.
A Framework for Evaluating Potential Niches
When I was considering building my Spanish Bible app I wanted to be as sure as possible that people were going to be able to find it & buy it. With that in mind I came up with the idea of the ideal target niche.
The ideal niche:
1. Is profitable
2. Can be found through search
3. Has crappy competitors
Today I’m going to explain how to figure out #1.
Step 1. Find an app that ranks #25 Paid
I found two apps in the Business category that have a history of ranking around #25 Paid. You can see their historical Paid rankings below via AppFigures:
Why #25 Paid? See step 2.
Step 2. Calculate the apps’ daily revenue using Distimo
Last year I asked the nice folks at Distimo to analyze how many downloads it takes an app to rank #25 Paid by category.
You don’t even need to read the whole post, just this one chart:
This means our two example apps are being downloaded roughly 90 times a day. We can estimate their daily revenue by multiplying their prices by 90.
Step 3. Look up Gross Ranking
Easy with AppFigures:
Eyeballing the charts it looks like their average Gross Ranks are #13 and #50, respectively.
Step 4. Plot the Data
This is what we’ve collected:
Plotting it we get this:
This gives us an estimate on how much apps in the Business category make.
But estimating a niche’s profitability is only part 1 of the ideal niche. We want something that’s profitable and not swamped by competition.
In next Tuesday’s post I’ll write about how to pick a niche where users will find you via the best distribution channel of all – App Store search.
If you’ve read this far I hope you’ll want to read the following 8 posts. Here’s some of the topics I plan to write about:
- App pricing strategies
- Finding “good enough” developers when you’re just starting
- Managing contractors (hint: treat them with respect)
- Getting good design work out of 99Designs
- How to build apps via Elance
- Mistakes to avoid when you’re not a developer yourself
You can follow me on Twitter here. If you’re like me and have stopped using Google Reader you can get email updates sent to you by signing up here:
by Trevor McKendrick on April 23, 2013
This is the first of 10 posts about my first year as a profitable entrepreneur. They will be released every Tuesday for the next 9 weeks.
I released my first app one year ago yesterday. It started as a small side project with the explicit goal of paying my rent.
As of yesterday it’s done $73,034 in net revenue, after Apple’s cut. While not considered “VC” successful, I’m extremely happy and proud of how well it’s turned out thus far.
Today I’m going to give a brief history of our apps and talk about why I got into mobile apps in the first place.
In February of 2012 I went to a family dinner where I learned a relative was doing $8k to $10k a month in the App Store. The crazy part was that he wasn’t a developer or a designer. I’d read that most devs/designers were struggling to make money in the App Store, so seeing a business guy be successful was a surprise, and a little weird.
But I figured if he could do it so could I.
For the next few weeks I thought a lot about what I’d make. See my next post for that decision process, but ultimately I decided to make a Spanish Bible mobile app for iPhone.
You read that right.
It turns out that most of the Spanish Bible apps out there are really bad. (I should point out there are a few exceptions to this from competitors that I admire. Their “problem” is trying to be everything to everyone, so Spanish speakers don’t get as much support.)
My hypothesis was three fold: (1) Whoever was making Spanish Bibles right now was making decent money, (2) I could make a better Spanish Bible app relatively cheaply, and (3) the competition wasn’t too heavy so I’d still be able to be found.
Who Launches on Sundays?
Because I’m selling the Bible, I launched on a Sunday. I was checking rankings all day, which didn’t really help because I still didn’t know how well you had to rank to make any money.
The next morning (and literally every day since) I woke up and first thing checked my email for that magical message from AppFigures. My total day one net sales? $36.35. Admittedly not very much.
But remember: my goal was only to pay my rent. I’d spent ~$500 on the app, so if I made that back everything else was gravy.
That $36/day average actually went up, and so the first 30 days I made $1,475.99, almost $900 more than our rent at the time. While still not a lot of absolute money, relative to the time and initial investment this side project was a success.
From there I expanded.
I contracted a professional audio studio to record the entire Bible as an audiobook. That was released a few months later in a separate app and made the side project that much bigger. Revenues at that point were around $4k to $5 a month.
Test the Market, Cheaply
Since then I’ve slowly improved upon and expanded our product line.
To show you how far we’ve come, below are screenshots from the first two versions of the app. I’m pretty embarrassed to show these because they don’t look very good. But they were good enough, which at the time was all that mattered.
I didn’t want to spend $10,000 making something really great that nobody wanted. I wanted to test the market, and cheaply.
Once the apps were generating more revenue I was able to invest that back into a complete overhaul. The latest version looks awesome. It’s faster, has more functionality, and I think customers are going to love it. We’re releasing the update in the middle of next month.
And May 1st I’m flying to a Spanish Christian publishing conference in Miami called ExpoLit. I’m hoping to make friends with people who own copyrights to additional content our customers have asked for. Not only would the in-app purchase revenue be nice, but our customers would love us.
All of this from a little app that I launched for less than $500. That’s the story.
For the curious, the next 9 posts will collectively cover the following and more:
- How I picked the Spanish Bible niche
- Hiring successfully and for cheap on Elance
- Running 99Designs contests that actually get you nice design work
- Thoughts on Trello vs Basecamp
- Finding a long-term designer and developer
- How to manage contractors
- Making an audiobook
And if you’re like me and have stopped using Google Reader you can get the next 9 posts delivered to your email by signing up here:
by Trevor McKendrick on February 20, 2013
Google was in the news for passing a share price of $800. The media played it off as a big event, some even using it as evidence that they are stronger financially than Apple.
Compare that praise to a brief encounter I had working for KPMG in 2011.
One of my clients, Callidus Software, was experiencing a declining share price. It hovered between $5 and $6.
Members of our team would tease the client for having a small share price. “What’s it at today, 5 bucks? If the choice is In-n-Out or a share of Callidus you know which I’d rather have.” Etc. The point was that a low share price meant the company was struggling.
Here’s the rub: *share price by itself indicates literally **nothing** about the size, health, or prosperity of a company.*
If my company had only two shares between me and my partner, and each share was worth $500,000, would we be considered stronger or more successful than Google? No way. Our company would only be worth $1 million, but while Google is worth many *billions*.
Share price is simply half of the equation to a company’s market cap. The other half is numbers of shares. So a company with Google’s share price could be worth $800 or $800 **billion**, depending on whether there’s 1 share or 100 billion shares outstanding, respectively.
This simple table says it all. Please stop thinking a company is awesome because it has a large share price.
by Trevor McKendrick on December 5, 2012
Why do many people end up in the same socioeconomic rung as their parents?
There’s at least two reasons I can think of.
First, it’s easier to do something when you’ve seen someone else do it.
People thought the human body could not run a mile in less than four minutes until Roger Bannister did it in 1954. Once he had shown it was possible, two months later two other runners did it in the same race.
It’s the same with being raised by parents who got rich. You saw what they did, you know it can be done.
On the other hand, if you don’t know anyone who has gone to college you might not know how that process works or even consider trying.
Being the first to do something is hard.
Second. I think everyone has what I call an “internal productivity quota” (IPQ). Your IPQ is the amount of stuff you need to accomplish so you feel happy and productive instead of lazy and depressed.
IPQ levels are different in everyone. They help explain (part of) the reason why people who don’t need money continue to work so hard: they’d feel unproductive if they didn’t.
Like other human behavior I think IPQ’s are a function of nature and nurture. I believe humans tend to fall and rise to the average behavior of the people around them. If we spend our time with others who don’t do well in school, don’t have jobs, and watch a lot of TV, our IPQ will adjust down. We won’t be as productive, but over time that will feel okay because it’s what everyone else is doing.
On the flip side if we’re around friends who wake up at 6 to hit the gym and work a disciplined 12 hour day, our IPQ will slowly adjust up. We’ll feel the difference.
So to answer the question in the post title, most people end up like their parents because no one else has as large an influence on one’s IPQ. And because our parents probably chose to live in a place with people similar to them, everyone you knew growing up was the same way, too. After 18+ years surrounded by the same type of people, it becomes difficult to break out and do something different.
by Trevor McKendrick on November 30, 2012
tl;dr You will add value to other businesses if you can quickly understand where their product “should go.” This includes feature sets, target customers, potential biz dev partners, and sales/marketing/distribution channels.
I’m lucky in that once a week I get to sit down and hear founders pitch their companies and products. As I listen I’m asking myself two things:
1. Why or why not might this work?
2. How can I add value to this team?
I want to talk about #2.
Generally, the people who add the most value in the pitch “post-mortem” are those who can see the future of the product. That might sound cheesy, so I’ll say it again a different way: people who intuitively see where a product is headed in terms of features, partners, and distribution add immense value.
Granted, many startups end up changing their idea altogether. At the beginning founders probably won’t know what their product will morph into 2 years down the road.
But there is value in seeing the next steps, and founders will appreciate hearing those ideas. Ideas that fit the product road map, with suggestions about partners and distribution channels that compliment the product.
It’s valuable enough that Paul Graham said “Sometimes I can see a path that’s not immediately obvious; that’s one of our specialties at YC.”
by Trevor McKendrick on November 28, 2012
If you asked a kid learning to type how to make it easier you’d probably get a fast answer: arrange the keys alphabetically instead of by QWERTY.
Unfortunately for those learning to type, billions of people are already extremely comfortable and skilled in typing on a QWERTY keyboard. So only those few who are just now learning have anything to gain from rearranging keyboards layouts.
This happens often inside big organizations. Processes and other corporate governance might be unintuitive and poorly implemented, but your desire to change that system decreases in proportion to how well you’ve learned it. The more time/effort you’ve expended, sunk costs be damned, the less you’ll want to help improve it.
by Trevor McKendrick on November 28, 2012
tl;dr To avoid the trap of trying to impress others, make life decisions assuming only you will know what you choose.
When making long-term decisions we are often influenced by the opinions of others. Parents, siblings, ex-girlfriends, former employers — even the people we see at high school reunions. We want to look “good” in their eyes, whatever that means. This is one reason why people generally like to work at big companies, receive job titles and collect college degrees.
Unfortunately this can lead us down a path of unhappiness. If we make decisions based on the thoughts of others we subject our emotional well-being to their opinions.
Instead, we might be happier if we made decisions based on this idea: If no one found out what my choice was, would I still do it?
Now, I do understand the value in building a personal brand by speaking at conferences, writing book introductions, etc.
But when you’re thinking about going to a big name school that might not be directly in your career path, or looking for a promotion because you’ve always wanted to be “an executive VP”, take a moment to pause and ask yourself why you want that thing.
If it’s not because it will make you happy, you probably shouldn’t go for it.