Collected Wisdom

Collected Wisdom

Over the years, I’ve tried to capture the lessons I’ve incorporated into my life. Some of these are from books, industry leaders, peers, or distilled from my own experiences. This is an unordered running list I’ll continually expand for years.

  1. Give it five minutes from Jason Fried. Before debating someone’s ideas, allow yourself to think about the idea for a few minutes.

  2. Make it better. In the same vein as giving it five minutes, look for ways to improve ideas. Helping someone make something better helps create trust and a relationship for future partnership.

  3. C.I.A. When creating a product, large or small, consider the conditions of the market the product is entering. There may be constraints, and there may be tailwinds. Understand the impact you want to create. Last, develop the action plan.

  4. T.O.A.D. A useful framework for When joining a new team or initiative. First, establish trust with the team and stakeholders. Before spouting your own thoughts, make sure to observe. This requires actively listening to customers, stakeholders, and team members. Aggressively collect information as fast as you can. Assess and decide what course of action to take. Playback your action plan with the people you interviewed.

  5. Close open doors. A former peer always questioned any new work by asking how quickly we could close existing work. His phrasing of “closing open doors” is more memorable than the commonly known work-in-progress approach. Everyone is always in danger of taking on too many priorities, thus not accomplishing anything.

  6. Working backwards popularized by Amazon. Define what the end state of whatever goal you have looks like first. From there, work backward to understand how best to get there.

  7. Continuous improvement from James Clear. We often want to leap to the end goal in one giant step, but as goals get larger, the more difficult it is. Striving to improve continuously everyday compounds over time to get you towards your goal.

  8. Apoligize properly by Beth Polin. (1)Express regret, (2)explain what happened, (3)acknowledge your responsibility, (4)declare repentance, (5)offer of repair, (6)and ask for forgiveness. If we all could follow this one piece of advice, the world would be a better place.

  9. Recognize the shoulders you stand upon. We all benefit from those that came before us. They opened doors of opportunity. They left lessons that we could build upon. Be humble that you didn’t do it alone.

  10. Choose Good Quests by Trae Stephens and Markie Wagner. There are no shortages of problems, no shortage of people capable of solving them, and we’re lost in chasing easy money. Take a step back and question if the quest you’re on is good.

  11. So what? What happens next?. When you have an idea that clicks, it starts to engulf you. That excitement can blind you from seeing if the idea is actually good and how it changes the world. Asking so what reminds me to validate the importance. What happens next lets me think through how this changes the lives of a user.

  12. 2-4-6. Change takes time. It takes consistency. At, on occasion, it requires progression to create the right amount of effort for change. It takes 2 weeks to feel a change, it takes 4 weeks for it to be visible, and 6 weeks before it takes hold.

  13. 3-2-1 by Jason Fried on writing. For any topic, take three pages, turn it into one page. Turn one page to three paragraphs. Those into one paragraphs. Finally, into one sentence. This editing practice forces you to distill the most important information.