The snippets of wisdom in the picture are from the swag bag handed out at the 99% Conference Lisa and I attended in NYC last week. The conference is all about how to make ideas happen in the real world, setting goals and achieving them. The name “99 %” (which now has a bit of a branding problem) is based on the famous Edison quote, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99 % perspiration.” We had a great time and were inspired by the speakers telling us about their successes and failures.
Here are three of my favorite pearls of wisdom…
1. Alexis Ohanian – co-founder of Reddit
“No one wants to to use your site. (Except maybe your mom.)”
If you are building a web application, you have to earn every user. You have to design it “like you give a damn.” Think of a chef who makes food but doesn’t taste it as he goes. Do you think it will be any good? How is he going to know if it has too much salt, unless he tries it? If you aren’t using your web application, is it reasonable to think others will? Use it, every day. If you’re not, try the following exercise to determine what you should be doing.
2. Jason Goldberg – CEO Fab.com
This is not a quote, but an image to think about -
The scanned drawing above is my sketch of the actual napkin doodle Goldberg used when he decided to abandon fabulous.com. He and his business partner made the decision to quit two days after raising $2 million in venture funds for their site – pretty gutsy. Fabulous.com was a social networking site they had built in 2010 which targeted the gay and lesbian community. They were finding it difficult to gain any real traction. They used the diagram above to help them decide to pivot their business and change from a social networking site to something else. They went on to create fab.com – the very cool and successful eCommerce site which has gone from 0 to four million members and $100 million in sales in the last 18 months.
They found their sweet spot trifecta: 1 – a big market (everyone who appreciates cool stuff), 2 – their passion (cool design), and 3 – what they could be best at.
3. Keith Yamashita – Chairman SYPartners
You can choose to meet anyone / anything / any situation with fear, or love.
You make this choice hundreds of times every day, whether you’re aware of it or not.
This is perhaps a little more philosophical than I intended to get, but I think it is a profound statement. There is a moment in every situation when you can catch yourself making the decision – fear or love. Being aware of this open moment is one of the indicators that you’re truly paying attention to life. This awareness gives you an edge. Think about it.