This is the second article in our new series with advice on building a business, company culture and life-hacking from Joel, CEO here at Buffer. You can grab all posts here.
Recently 37signals published an article titled Some advice from Jeff Bezos. This wasn’t your usual advice, and I found it interesting to read and how familiar it felt as I read each next line. The post was all about “changing your mind”. The way I would describe the overall theme, is “inconsistency”. Here’s the key part of the post, paraphrased:
People who are right a lot of the time, are people who often change their mind. Consistency of thought is not a particularly positive trait.
I find this fascinating, because one of the biggest challenges I’ve found as a founder for the last few years is the times when I change my mind, when have a realisation and I become inconsistent on a thought I previously had. This is amplified as your startup grows, because you have users, co-workers and stakeholders who you are in touch with who are there to witness and be affected by your inconsistency.
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We all love to take advice from people who’ve previously been through the same situations as us or who are further along a similar path to us. For entrepreneurs this is particularly useful, since it’s such a difficult, unknown path to tread sometimes.
Funnily enough, some of the advice I’ve come across through reading interviews and articles from famous entrepreneurs is often counterintuitive to what I would expect them to say. I thought it would be interesting to gather some of this advice into one place, so here are ten of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I’ve come across from famous entrepreneur.
Paul Graham: Don’t think big
Empirically, the way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things.
Paul Graham’s advice is something I was really surprised about at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. No great outcome is achieved without lots of smaller steps to get there, and it’s almost certain that these smaller steps can lead to change your direction somewhat.
Empirically, it’s not just for other people that you need to start small. You need to for your own sake.
Graham points out how big companies like Facebook and Apple have come a long way from relatively small and humble beginnings. It’s hard to argue with logic like that.
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