Today I was listening to an excellent episode on the Saastr podcast. Link to the podcast and some references are in the resources. Listed below are great insights from Auren Hoffman.
- Don’t take the advice from people ten years older than you too seriously: I hadn’t heard this one before. He reasons that life is changing rapidly; most advice that worked ten years ago is not as relevant today. Early in my career, I made a mistake to rely too heavily on others’ advice rather than blazing my path.
- Avoid good opportunities: This was my favourite takeaway from the episode. I have learned this again the hard way. Good options are where one doesn’t have an asymmetric upside. This advice also applies to people who have already attained some level of success. Good opportunities take the same work as great opportunities. Wait for those to knock on your day. Say no very often.
- Delegate things you are good at: Common advice is to delegate those tasks we are not good at doing. Instead, we should delegate the things we are good as that gives us greater amounts of leverage and time to building our skills in the areas where we are weaker.
- Smartest people think ten days and 30 years out: Think for the short term and optimize for the long term and not the midterm. High performers pass the marshmallow test with ease. They can delay immediate gratification; however, they are making decisions to optimize for optionality. By removing the mid-term outlook and thinking with the longest of horizons, we can make far better decisions.
- Easier to decide which companies to invest in and which companies to start: To make money as an investor, you need to be both unconventional and right. To create a business, you need to have a third component to have the required unique advantage and desire to build it.
- VC’s almost always lie when they pass on your deal: They may say your addressable market is not big enough or that your team is not right. It usually isn’t the case.
- In startups doing trumps planning: Planning is critical at the earliest stages of your company. Referencing airforce pilots who use the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act). “Being wrong will hurt you a bit but being slow will kill you.” Jeff Bezos. The need for speed is essential for all startup operators. There is always a balance that needs to be managed between 1% improvements and step functions.
- True 10xer’s take more time to manage than high performers: They take longer to hire, they require more of your time as a leader, but at the end of the day they bring back the value to the company in spades. Discovering future opportunities before you can even see them. Take the time to nurture them if you have been lucky enough to have hired them. Keep on giving them more responsibilities.
He spends the second half of the episode answering audience questions which are worth a listen as well.
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Great write-up referencing many great resources for people who want to understand the concept of asymmetric opportunities in detail.
Another great gem from Farnam Street breaking down the OODA Loop in much greater detail for those interested.