Tech fatigue, the S-curve of tech development and handling feedback.

Happy Saturday.

I’m just about 5 miles in the sky over someplace in Colorado at the moment and heading to DC tonight. I’ll do a quick keynote in Charleston, SC later this week, spend some time in DC and then head back to Vegas to begin hauling the Airstream over to Lincoln, NE. Busy, busy, busy.

I kicked off the first Brain Trust video call yesterday and it was a hit. We’ll keep doing this each Friday and I’ll bring on special guests from time to time. You can join the Brain Trust here:

1. A Stanford dean on adult skills every 18-year-old should have [Link] [Tweet]

I’ve had a lot of time to think as I’ve pulled the Airstream around the country. One of those thoughts: some people (like the ones referenced in the article) grow up at 18, I’m trying to grow up at 35.

2. “Tech fatigue is a signal.” [Link] [Tweet]

Tech fatigue is real — I’ve experienced it. Sometimes all I need to do is close the laptop, get a good night’s sleep and pick it up in the morning. Other times (especially on this tech tour), I need to remind myself that the things I’ve learned and experienced may not be common knowledge in some of the cities I’m visiting. The key is to know the difference.

3. “you can never step into the same startup zeitgeist twice.” [Link] [Tweet]

At each stop of the tech tour, I sit down for 1:1 office hours with 20-30 local tech companies. Sometimes we’re talking about ideas, sometimes we’re talking about their revenue growth and other times we’re talking about their hiring plans. The hardest thing, by far, is listening to the same pitch from different founders across the country. The list of bad statements in the article read like a transcription of some of the toughest office hour slots I’ve had to date.

If I could find an economical way to pull one investor and one founder from each city I visit and have them join me in at least three other cities on the tour, I bet I could help them make even better decisions in their home towns. After all, seeing and meeting more companies outside your home town is probably the #1 way to learn.

4. “it’s crucial that you learn to invest your time, your resources, and your capital to greatest effect.” [Link] [Tweet]

This: “The right engagements are ultimately what propel your career. You can’t say ‘yes’ to everything.”

5. “development of technologies tends to follow an S-Curve: they improve slowly, then quickly, and then slowly again.” [Link] [Tweet]

Whether we’re talking about smartphones, some social platform or whatever technology you’re working on, this is worth internalizing: “The point of this excursion into tech history is that a technology often produces its best results just when it’s ready to be replaced – it’s the best it’s ever been, but it’s also the best it could ever be. There’s no room for more optimisation – the technology has run its course and it’s time for something new, and any further attempts at optimisation produce something that doesn’t make much sense.”

6. “If you listen to none of the feedback, you will learn nothing. If you listen to all of it, nothing will happen.” [Link] [Tweet]

When in doubt, seek out people that have recently experienced (and, ideally, overcome) the situation that you’re dealing with at the moment. At the rate the world’s moving forward these days, recent experience trumps vast experience.

7. “Try to avoid having too many small dollar investors.” [Link] [Tweet]

As a general rule of thumb, you should understand that there’s an inverse correlation between the size of an investor’s check and the amount of handholding they’ll need. Founders beware.

Bonus tip: never, ever, ever, ever be someone’s first investment. Trust me on this.

8. “Online audiences have never been larger or easier to reach. But making money off them is proving trickier.” [Link] [Tweet]

The goal isn’t to the gain the largest audience anymore. It’s about finding, fostering and enabling passionate niches within the larger audience. The revenue will follow.

9. “Don’t start that start-up, it won’t work, there aren’t enough customers, and the technology doesn’t work.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re currently in the thick of the entrepreneurial grind, you’d do well to have this list printed and hung right next to your monitor.

10. “I’ve always wanted to be in financial control of our future, so we are.”  [Link] [Tweet]

I have to admit that I envy this author’s sense of clarity. Pardon me while I go re-read it.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me in the Brain Trust, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!