Worrying is self-fulfilling; what to do instead

“Worry” causes the very thing you’re worried about, to actually happen.

“Worry” breaks everything, even things which aren’t broken. It doesn’t lead constructively to solutions, it just creates problems.

The opposite of “Worry” isn’t “Apathy.” The opposite is “Planning” and “Preparation.”

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Worrying is self-fulfilling; what to do instead

“Worry” causes the very thing you’re worried about, to actually happen.

“Worry” breaks everything, even things which aren’t broken. It doesn’t lead constructively to solutions, it just creates problems.

The opposite of “Worry” isn’t “Apathy.” The opposite is “Planning” and “Preparation.”

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How to simplify complex decisions by cleaving the facts

Businesses of all sizes face complex decisions for which there is no one, correct answer, and yet a strong and often permanent decision has to be made.

Sometimes this is due to fundamental uncertainty inherent in the decision, e.g. not knowing how the market will evolve, what competitors are secretly investing in, whether new marketing campaigns will be successful, or how an important new hire will perform.

But I’ve seen little startups, mid-sized companies like WP Engine, and large companies struggle to deal with complexity in decisions even in conditions of little uncertainty, but in conditions of high complexity, and this is something we can improve.

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The optimistic case for IoT security standards

With the second major IoT-based DDoS attack having passed through the news cycle, everyone wants to know what can be done to stop it. With the quantity of internet-enabled devices increasing at an accelerated rate for the foreseeable future, we know it the answer to that question has to be answered as quickly as possible.

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What if there isn’t another 10x?

What if Twitter will never 10x its user-base but remains a critical world-wide communication, sharing, and news system for the next decade?

In the tech industry we’re constantly repudiated that growth is the prime value of business. If your growth dips below the level of “rivets rattling themselves out of the plane,” revenue multiples plummet, and you’re written off by the press as a has-been ripe for disruption by startups 1/1000th your size but “growing exponentially.”

“How do we 10x” is a great question when a startup is young. Does it always remain the right question?

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No wait, of course THAT is the single most important SaaS metric

Focussing on just one thing is indeed valuable, especially when a company is young and there isn’t enough time to cut into multiple goals. Larger companies like WP Engine can have maybe three or four, but still not many.

Your job is to figure out what’s most important right now, what’s on fire, what’s most important for getting the company to its next milestone, lean into what’s working well, and then simplify and clarify the few goals and metrics that your entire company should align on.

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7 things a large stinkbug on the back porch can teach startup founders

Clickbait works. Stop clicking on crap and get back to work.

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Should this startup exist? Converting 5W’s into existential justification

A framework based in grade-school W’s that justify the existence of a startup

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How to measure the accuracy of forecasts

How do you hold forecasters accountable, when the forecast is only a probability? The answer appears tricky, then simple, then tricky again, then ends up being simple enough to answer it with Google Spreadsheets.

It’s a journey worth taking, because building better forecasts is invaluable for businesses:

Take lead scoring — putting a value on a new sales lead, predicting the ultimate value of that lead after 9 months have passed and it’s either converted or not. The forecast is what chance this lead has of converting, or what dollar value it has. Like the weather, the lead will convert or it won’t, and if it does, it has a definite dollar value.

If you could predict the chance that a given customer might churn in the next thirty days, you could be proactive and perhaps avert the loss.

If you could predict the chance that a given customer would be amenable to an upgrade, you could focus your internal messaging efforts accordingly.

But how do you measure the accuracy of a prediction which itself is expressed only as a probability?

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Invention is Drudgery

Having skipped to the last page of other peoples’ book, we forget that everyone has to take the journey described by the whole book. So we feel bad about ourselves when we’re only on Chapter Four, having already toiled quite a lot thank you very much for asking, and when exactly are we going to get to the good part?

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Darwinian company growth doesn’t always select the best companies

“Survival of the fittest” is not the same thing as “survival of the best,” though not apparent at first glance.

There’s nothing inherently wrong in obsessing over growth; in fact, using the same argument you can point out that in winner-take-all markets, growth is objectively the main requirement.

The problem is “growth at all costs.” When “growth rate” becomes essentially the only important metric for company “fitness,” other metrics are left unsolved.

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Your non-linear problem of 90% utilization

Does it feel like everyone is working very hard, all the time, and yet accomplishing 1/10th of what it seems they should? Maybe this is why.

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How do I figure out who my next important hire should be?

Founders typically revert to whatever they’re already expert in, and decide they need more of that. So, a technical founder decides she needs another developer, or a sales-oriented founder decides she needs another sales person.

Let’s highlight the underlying justification you’ll use to rationalize this probably-erroneous decision, so we can see how to avoid the fallacy.

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