42 illustrated takeaways from 2 videos, 4 podcasts and 1 book
If you are planning on ever starting a new business, the best advice I can give would be to absorb as much knowldege as possible from people sharing openly on the internet.
There is a wealth of information to be found on the internet; our ancestors would have killed for the amount of knowledge that we now have available to us at the push of a button.
Over the last week, I have illustrated 42 takeaways from various sources - but even that is just scratching the surface of the depths of information that can be found through search or social media.
Without further ado, let's dive into the 42 illustrated takeaways.
12 takeaways on criticsm and creativity from the Jordan Harbinger podcast, episode 445, Shipping Creative Work, with Seth Godin.
1. There are 2 types of criticsm
- Criticism from people who your product is not meant for
- Priceless criticism
You need to be able to recognize which group the criticism comes from. If it comes from the former, it should be discarded while if it comes from the latter, it is invaluable and should be acted on.
The next time you receive criticism, the first filter should be the question, "Which group does this criticism come from?"
2. Creativity is blocked by the fear of producing something bad
Writer's block is a strange concept.
It is created from the fear that you end up creating something bad, resulting in paralysis.
The cure: Aim to produce a lot of bad things.
Eventually something good will slip through and you produce something great.
3. If it doesn't ship, it doesn't count.
Keep shipping ideas and products.
If the product is not launched, you cannot gain and gather any feedback from it.
4. Results matter, but if we obssess over them, it will get in the way of simply doing the work.
It is good to be aware that the results matter and set goals for yourself. However, if we look too much at the results, it will result in us being too busy or afraid to actually produce great things.
5. By divorcing yourself from criticisms about what you've created, you can work with your critics to make it better.
Criticisms can be extremely helpful when refining products or services. However, they can feel very personal.
The key is to divorce ourselves from our products. To remember they are critiquing your product and not you. Once you are able to do so, you can then effectively use the criticism to improve.
6. You should show up everyday looking to contribute what you can and ready to let go of the things that you cannot control.
There is an area where you have the ability to contribute. Anything outside of that, we should learn to let go.
That way, we can focus on what we can do and contribute to things that we can have an impact on.
7. There is a difference between giving the market what it wants and exploring a frontier.
You have to decide which you would rather do.
There is no right answer and it really depends on what gives you joy and mottivates you. However, you need to clearly recognize where you stand as the approach to either segments will differ.
8. Stress comes from wanting two opposing things at the same time
- Wanting to do something
- Not wanting to do it (due to fear/ doubt etc.)
The cure: Make an active choice before you begin. That way, you would eliminate one of the options and will be able to focus on either doing it, or choosing to do something else instead.
9. There are two ways to deal with the unfillable, infinite hole of desires and wants.
- Find joy in engaging with the hole.
- Recognize the hole is insatiable and decide on what you'd rather keep track of.
Wants and desires are an insatiable hole for your time and energy. If you can find joy in filling it with your time and effort, then definitely do so. However, if it drains you as a person, you'd need to set a clear boundary of how much is enough and learn to turn away once it has been reached.
10. You can choose to try to impact 10 million people and maybe they'll pay you a nickle or you can choose to try to be irreplacable to 1000 people.
Both will have the same result. You just need to decide which is your aim.
11. "It is way easier to sell cotton candy and cigarettes than it is to sell tofu and tempeh." - Seth Godin
It is a choice you have to make. If you decide to go the harder route, choose to do so not for the money but for an intrinsic belief.
12. Nobody owes you anything. Approach each day with a mindset of gratitude to the people who give you a chance to do your work.
There will be people who don't give you a chance to do the work you want to. Don't mind them, don't steal from the others who are giving you the chance to do the work and deliver value to them.
6 takeaways on hope and optimism from the Underdog Paradox by Jamie Russo
1. Value negative experiences as much as positive one because they are both great teachers.
Negative experiences can teach people just as much as positive experience. So the next time we go through a negative experience, face it with the intention to grow from it; constantly ask, "What can this teach me?"
2. Optimism can be learned and trained.
Choose to be optimistic as much as you can. Over time, being optimistic and bouncing back will get easier for you.
3. You cannot change some events, but you can decide how you respond to them.
It can be easy to bemoan circumstances - however, doing so will not change the events. What is within our realm of ability is to control the way we respond to them and to grow from them.
4. Build for the long term.
"Don't lay bricks, build a cathedral" - Jamie Russo
The small acts of laying bricks can turn into a cathedral if we plan for it.
If we are already intending to lay bricks day-after-day, we might as well plan for the long term and build a cathedral.
5. Know your own values and let them guide you and your goals.
Your values can help you determine what is the direction you would like your life to follow. Reflect and decide to follow them - they will lead you to an infinitely happier life.
6. Compartmentalize helplessness and find the hope in every situation.
In any inevitable situation, we will feel helplessness. When we do so, it can very easily takeover our entire mindset. However, we need to find the hope in those dark times as they will lead us to gain back control over our life.
6 takeaways on positioning from Traction Online with Hana Abaza
1. Understand your positioning deeply.
Once you understand where you stand amongst others in your space, you can then better communicate your value to others.
2. "Marketing can polish a turd. Positioning can turn a turd into fertilizer" - April Dunford
It is not about just marketing things well or making it shinier or to attract more attention. The idea is to find where you can deliver value and where people need you.
3. Sameness creates buyer confusion. Sameness creates space for disruption.
When customers and clients look at every player in the industry and find that they are all the same, they get confused when making their choice. When you sense that, this will provide you the opportunity to stand out and disrupt them by saying things and providing value the others are not.
4. Don't go broad too soon. Take time to explore your chosen channels deeply.
Trying to be everywhere too early means you wouldn't have had time to use any channel effectively.
5. The trifecta of a software industry ripe for disruption.
- People still buy it anyway
When you see this, you know that the customers of the software are always on the lookout for something better.
6. To find your positioning, ask your existing fans to explain the value you are providing from their perspective.
An easy way to find where you stand is to ask existing customers where you are providing the most value to them. From there, you can then build upon that as your unique selling point which is built on a solid foundation of providing that value.
4 takeaways on empowerment and experimentation from the Saastr Podcast with Kate Taylor of Notion
1. Create tight feedback loops with customers, define problems, and prioritize the fires you fight.
Only with your ear to the ground can you effectively prioritze the problems which impact your customers the most.
2. Invest time and effort into your people when they are new. This foundation will empower them in the future.
When people are new, they will mostly be afraid to be empowered. This is because they don't know what they don't know. Instead of leaving them to struggle through their first project, ensure that their first project is collaborative with multiple checkpoints.
This will help them build a solid foundation for empowering them in the future as both the leader and the member will know the quality of work that is expected and delivered from them.
3. Have an experimentation framework:
- Design the experiment
- Tweak the variables
- Know failure is an okay outcome
When you approach each initiative from this stand point, it allows you to divorce the outcome from the actions and people. Then you will be able to make a clear decision on if the experiment is true or false.
4. "You’d be surprised how many people want to help others." - Kate Taylor
7 takeaways on writing and the essence of interestingness on the Nathan Barry Show with David Perell
1. When you first start out, go for quantity. Once you understand the mechanics, and have a system in place, go for quality.
When you first start, your quality will never be the best, so ensure that you create a large body of works to improve the quality quickly.
Once you've built a system and understand the mechanics to create great quality work, then you should start focusing on the quality of your work.
2. Optimize for the people who love your stuff and want to hear more from you.
It is very easy to see unsubscribes and unfollows as personal attacks as they are people who no longer wish to hear from you.
However, what is important is to optimize your content for the people who love your content and want to hear more from you - these are your fans who will bring you true value.
3. If you are willing to put in A+ consistency, you should start even if you only have B+ content.
Just start. Producing work consistently will result in your content growing from B+ to A+ over time.
4. Also offer the burnt ends of your barbecue, they are probably also delicious.
Usually, you throw away the burnt ends of the meat. However, these pieces of meat are also delicious and people still would like the option of eating them.
Similarly when you release content, there are a lot of burnt ends - your process, your note-taking system, your thought process - give your audience the option to consume that content as well. They would have gone to waste otherwise.
5. Build a system which allows you to consistently generate great content.
Such tactics could be sharing your curated notes or links to other articles. These cost next to nothing to create and if updated regularly, will provide evergreen content to you.
6. Follow the burning questions you have. They will lead you to dig deeply about the subject.
When deciding what to research on and what content to write, follow the burning questions you have. These are the topics that you can really research deeply on and find connections and patterns that others will not have been able to see.
7. Focus on providing the essence of interestingness
When you post, distill the post to the essence of interestingness. This way you can provide value to the reader both in the time spent reading the post and in terms of the value of the content.
3 takeaways on how to use email right on the Customer Show with Katelyn Bour and Val Geisler
1. Email is like going to someone's house. You don't just enter and keep talking only about yourself.
When you send people emails, focus on them and their situation. Talk about how to benefit their lives instead of just the features of your product.
2. Talk to inactive customers and ask how to provide more value to them.
You will either provide them a reminder about the value of your service, or you will get their goodwill and feedback on how to make your product better.
Both are good outcomes.
3. Use email to deliver value as soon as the customer has made a purchase.
When people make an online purchase, they will feel a slight amount of buyer's remorse. This is because they would have purchased something that is intangible to them at the moment. This is a great time to use an email to get them excited about making the purchase instead of remorseful.
4 takeaways on validation through invalidation and reducing uncertainty on the Bootstrapped Founder Podcast
1. Look to invalidate your assumptions rather than validate them.
The hypothesis for your product will naturally be built on a lot of assumptions.
Instead of painting a beautiful picture which people will not say "no" to, find ways which their actions or workflow invalidates the assumptions you hold.
Only then can you come closer to knowing if your product will fit in their lives.
2. Validation by invalidation is like carving a statue from marble.
It is the process of taking away everything that does not work.
The solution which you ended up with might be different from what was intended. However, it will be one that is actually useful to the people who need it.
3. You can never be certain. You can only look to reduce uncertainty as much as possible.
As you talk to more customers, your hypothesis will contain less and less assumptions. However, it will never be able to be assumption free as any enterprise worth undertaking will have you dabbling in creating something new.
Aiming to get rid of uncertainty will result in us conciously or unconciously gravitate towards trying to validate the idea instead of us attempting to invalidate our assumptions.
We should all work towards reducing the amount of uncertainty as much as possible rather than getting rid of it completely.
4. Your target audience's workflow, questions, and usage patterns will provide valuable insights.
If you tell them the ideal product where everything is working perfectly, no one will say no to using it. However, that is not helpful in knowing if it will be an actually useful product.
Observe their actions and questions and it will provide you insight into if your product will fit into their lives and processes which is infinitely more useful than a promise that they will use your product if it function perfectly.
The internet is a great place to learn. Take advantage of it.
I hope this helped you in some way or form. If you'd like to have the next issue of Startup Illustrated delivered to your inbox, do subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow the Startup Illustrated Twitter account @StartupIllustr. If you'd just like to say hi, just drop me a DM on Twitter @foundbryan.
Until next week, I wish you all the best!