Simple Life As an Entrepreneur

If you were to visualize a productive life, it would look something like this.

How To Have Simple Life as an Entrepreneur

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fundersandfounders:

How to Be Productive - The Mindmap of 35 Habits of the Uber-Productive.

Since the beginning of the year I lived in 7 different countries, spend 3 months in a remote village, and ended up in another mega city. If you want to travel and get work done at the same time, you have to be more productive. Here is the summary of a year of my experimenting with productivity in one mindmap.
How did I come up with it? Here is an example in the clothing aspect of life.
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There is one thing in common between Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg - they all wear the same thing every day. Barack chooses between two suits every morning - grey or navy, Zuckerberg has a drawer of 20 identical grey t- shirts. When each of them were asked why they do this, the answer is to save time and avoid making small decisions so they can be more productive.
I have been wearing the same thing for the past few months. Almost without exception. Does it work? Yes. I don’t have to worry about finding my clothes or being stressed out about how it looks. Day after day I wear the same thing that I know works. But there is a trick to it. I will write about it next time.

fundersandfounders:

How to Be Productive - The Mindmap of 35 Habits of the Uber-Productive.

Since the beginning of the year I lived in 7 different countries, spend 3 months in a remote village, and ended up in another mega city. If you want to travel and get work done at the same time, you have to be more productive. Here is the summary of a year of my experimenting with productivity in one mindmap.

How did I come up with it? Here is an example in the clothing aspect of life.

Read More

fundersandfounders:

Startup is Growth.
"A startup is a company designed to grow fast" P. Graham.

A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month. 

fundersandfounders:

Startup is Growth.

"A startup is a company designed to grow fast" P. Graham.

A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month. 

I Moved Into The Future, The Future of City Living

Anna looking through the window from 30th floor

Living in the Future

After 3 months in a village, it was time for me to go from living in the past to living in the future. My new place is the home of the future - densely populated, but luxury, simple and small, and with a lot of entrepreneurial potential.

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Three Months in a Village Forced Me To Focus on Growth

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If you ever feel the noise inside your mind takes your focus away, you understand how I felt when I decided to spend three months in a village. The noise is information overload. The result is the inability to focus. The overcommitted calendar. The less-than productive meetings. The lower-impact partnerships. It is these things that forced me to do this experiment. I researched startup friendly countries (those that don’t make a big dent in your budget). Then I took my work and myself to an Indian village. I saw an opportunity in living an a village where there few opportunities. Calm down. Figure out what I am really thinking. Then do it. A writer’s job is to know exactly what she is thinking. So, did it work?

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Where on Earth is Anna?

In the village, of course. My Indian village in the jungle features 23 kinds of snakes, some scorpions and salamandras.  When I walk along the rice patties I can hear myself think - it’s that quiet. On the coast there is evidence of internet signal from the far away cell phone tower. At 1 MB per second it’s slower than a tandoori oven. Now I really think before checking that email. How did I end up here?

Isn’t it a great idea to start this new blog with a story of my $100, 000 failure? My Kickstarter campaign to publish “Becoming an Entrepreneur” to put it nicely was not as successful as hoped. 1000 supporters backed the campaign for over $16,000 - but the goal was to raise $100, 000. (I am still publishing the book through a traditional publisher.) But since I have never failed so big before, I wanted to get something out of the failure itself. 

The first thing that came to mind was regret. I could regret not setting a lower goal… Nah, then the book would be nothing like I wanted. After the regrets passed then came the realization that I was free to do anything  again. I was back to zero, and for some reason it started to feel good. Strange.

One thing failure did was wipe the slate clean.  I had no obligations since Kickstarter refunded all backers. I could even give up on it all. But was there a hidden opportunity in having nothing? I thought, yes. I finally had nothing to lose. That in itself was valuable. This was not an intuitive discovery for me. If you think logically, saying that failure is good because it puts you back to zero, as opposed to having something is likely saying that zero is more than a positive number. Obviously mathematically the idea is wrong.

But it felt right. For a startup, and for life in general. A small success is worse than a big failure. As long as you are shooting for your REAL goal as opposed to a stepping stone of some sort - it’s all or nothing. Otherwise life becomes a series of stepping stones, often leading to a place you didn’t want to go. But how do I know this?

 I had to live through it.  Unintentionally.

If you run a serious Kickstarter campaign, you invest at least 2 months of time from start to finish. You tell everyone about it. Whether you fail or succeed everyone will know. Here I was with basically nothing at the end, except an opportunity to pivot, and hopefully become the next best-seller. 

My pivot:

  1. Figure out what I was doing wrong (What I was doing wrong was that I let myself experience an information overload.)
  2. I had to change something (Unload and become productive again. I chose to go to a pre-internet destination for that.)
  3. I had to do it over again (Redefine the book, and redo the campaign.)

Basically, it was a life pivot. I needed to redesign my life to get rid of my information overload and become more productive.  Failure made it easier to say good-bye to a lot of things that before I thought were really important.

Here is what I changed:

  1. My use of the internet - no browsing until work is done for the day. Not even I really need to just Google one little thing. This way I can figure out what I am really thinking.
  2. No access to fast unlimited internet - I don’t need it to get work done. I found a pre-internet era location in rural India. I am here now.
  3. No extra clothes I don’t wear and stuff I don’t use - I sold expensive clothes and threw out the other stuff. Having two outfits makes it easy to decide what to wear, not that it even matters in this village.
  4. No access to information that is not crucial for my current project - politics, celebrities, parties, and distant acquaintances, etc

The goal is to focus the mind on one thing only - the book itself. True focus is a luxury in the age of global information overload. Having that luxury is paying off - my productivity had doubled since the pivot.

Fail. Learn. Reset. The next time around you can set your goal as high as you want.

Anna in the Indian Village

keeping it cool in the heat

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