The worst possible thing, how to do your best work and how traction is actually defined.

Happy Friday.

It’s been a rainy and cool week in Baltimore but the startups are just about as strong as we’ve seen them anywhere on the tour this year. Bonus: running into the community leaders of a couple other places we visited this year. (I’m looking at you Fargo, Des Moines, Lincoln, Cedar Rapids and Albuquerque.)

I’m finally getting around to updating the look of this website. If you know of any strong WordPress theme developers that might be able to help, hit reply.

1. “I think one thing is you should be willing to move.” [Link] [Tweet]

It’s always interesting to get inside the mind of people doing interesting things. Sam is one of those people. (Look for his thoughts on compound interest and your own career — I’m intentionally not linking to it so that you’ll have to read the transcript yourself.)

As for being willing to move, I think his point is that you’ve got to be willing to do whatever it takes if you want to succeed. Sometimes that might include moving, most times it won’t. Either way, you’ve got to be willing to do the uncomfortable if you want to do interesting things.

2. “The worst possible thing when you’re working from home is that you feel you’re not in the loop.” [Link] [Tweet]

Working from home sounds fun… until you’ve done it for more than 30 days. Regardless of the tools you use, invest in a shared workspace. It’ll pay for itself in more ways than you think.

3. “SpaceX is building it. Meet the Big Fucking Rocket.” [Link] [Tweet]

Elon Musk is building electric cars and going to Mars. What are you doing with your life? (Pardon me while I go back to my Airstream and mull this one over.)

4. “Trump would shout over his interlocutors only to prove he had nothing to say.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you’re planning to vote for Trump, please hit reply and tell me why. I’m genuinely curious.

5. “to understand how virality works, you first have to know that not all virality is the same.” [Link] [Tweet]

Forward this one to your friend that keeps saying something about “going viral.” There’s much, much more to it than most people realize.

More importantly: spend less time worrying about virality and more time making something people want. You can’t have the former with at least a little bit of the latter.

6. “You do your best work when you truly care about the problem you are solving.” [Link] [Tweet]

There’s so much information available on the web about the “hard skills” of fundraising (eg, pitch decks, traction numbers, etc) but so little around the “soft skills.”

When you’re raising the first round of outside financing for your company, how your investors feel is just as important as the traction you can show.

7. “So pay attention a little, but not too much — leave more room for your own ideas than for theirs.” [Link] [Tweet]

This has been one of the unexpected benefits of traveling by road this year: we meet so many community leaders, entrepreneurs and investors around North America and we get to see how they make the magic happen in their own communities.

Then we get to spend 10-15 hours in transit to the next location and digest all that information en route.

Go see as much as you can and then get back to work on your own stuff.

8. “it’s important to invest in analytics early to best understand how customers are reacting to your product/service.” [Link] [Tweet]

Measure. Everything. You never know what you’ll want to do with that data later on.

9. “Boy, times have changed. Today founders all over the world are going big.” [Link] [Tweet]

This. So much this.

Having driven nearly 25,000 miles around North America this year, it’s more obvious than ever that interesting scalable companies are starting everywhere and the founding teams have no interest in leaving the high quality lifestyles they enjoy outside of the existing “tech hubs.”

My bet: over the next 1-2 years, we’re going to see more investors from the coasts getting on airplanes and traveling into the Midwest. They’re going to have to get themselves to the places where entrepreneurs start if they’re going to make any money over the coming years.

10. “Traction is graded on a curve, just like in high school.” [Link] [Tweet]

If you ask anyone what traction actually means, you’ll never get a straight answer. That’s because there is no straight answer.

The key is to realize that the relative growth rate of your company is more important than the absolute growth rate.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. You can always find me (and the rest of the Results Junkies community) in Slack, apply to join.