You’ve gotta keep control of your time,” Buffett says, “and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.
When people ask what my dad does, I always say that he is a photographer. Technically speaking, he works at a camera company and does photography in his spare time. But that’s how I see him, professionally. It is a slightly incorrect way of saying what he does, but quite a good way of describing who he is.
As I thought about this, I went to myself and thought about how I tend to introduce myself. After moving to San Francisco I’ve noticed that the acronym “CEO” has a bit of a halo effect. This is a much more hierarchical society than I’m used to. So sometimes I just say that I “run a company”, or “work with a company”. The reactions I get are quite different depending on my choice of words.
The reason for not just sticking with “CEO” is that I don’t really see myself as the person that people tend to see when I say that. It doesn’t describe who I am and it doesn’t really describe what I do either. Being a CEO is so many different things depending on what company you are with and what stage it is in. And even if it had described it well, that would still only have been like a shortened work description.
I’m wondering if all this is why people like to describe themselves as entrepreneurs. It is a blanket term that goes beyond the specifics of what you do all day and focuses more on you being a person that likes to make new things. Then you do whatever you need to do in order to get them done. Getting it done is your job. But being an entrepreneur is who you are.
On the rare occasion when I try to describe myself a little further, I sometimes say that I’m an “accidental entrepreneur”. It just happens somehow. Suddenly I’m running a company or a project of some sort, and it has been that way since I started my first company at the age of 16. That seems to be who I am - whether I like it or not. It’s just that I have jobs with titles that cloud that fact sometimes.
There is some evidence that we’re not just suckers for that new text message, or addicted to it; it’s actually robbing us of brain power, too. Tweet about this at your own risk.
What the Carnegie Mellon study shows, however, is that it is possible to train yourself for distractions, even if you don’t know when they’ll hit.
A mini-study in the effects of distractions and modern technology. I like the nuances here - it is not saying that it is a bad thing to have access to information in real time, it is simply pointing out that having it isn’t uncomplicated. That it may require changes in your own behavior in order to make the most out of it - or even actively train yourself to handle it in a good way. Balanced, thoughtful and very interesting.
My favorite works of fiction are often the ones where I can’t quite categorize the protagonist. Is it a good person or a bad person? As with much of life, that line is impossible to draw. Instead everything is always both, and how you look at it depends on perspective and context more than the action itself. Simply put - the gray areas are always the most interesting to me.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of alumni for companies. By that, I mean the active (and proud) recognition of once working at a certain place. It is something that you want to mention, even if you have left to do other things.
Some companies have this already. “Googlers” are the most obvious example. Being an ex-Googler is something that is referenced frequently here in the Valley. I like that. People leave their jobs for so many reasons, and I think conflict or underperformance are relatively uncommon. Why not be proud of where you’ve been?
I’d like to be a part of building those sorts of companies. Companies that people look back at and think “wow, I’m proud I was a part of that”. It doesn’t have to be fantastic all the time of course - nothing is. But at least good enough for people to have fond memories of it and leave without regrets. That the ride was worth something for them while they were there, and keeps being worth something afterwards.
I think Toca Boca is one of those companies, although it is a little too early to tell. We are still young and very few people have left. I’d like to think that my former agency Good Old is one too. At least for some. It was a crazy ride in the beginning and I think we all learned a lot from those years. I’m proud to say that I worked there. And I’ll always be a Good Old-person somehow.
If your life is only about you, if what you seek is always for your benefit, if relationships are a means to some personal end, marriage isn’t for you.
Profound, in all its simplicity. And unusually radical.