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Viewing posts from May, 2018

Life Math: Compound Interest

I read this quote a long time ago and it has stayed with me "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." The saying is commonly attributed to Albert Einstein, but after Googling it doesn't seem very likely Einstein ever said it. Regardless of where it came from; today, I linked it to a new meaning.

I've been thinking about how to define entrepreneurship, or more broadly how to describe the entrepreneurial mindset. One way that has resonated with me is efficiency in leveraging current resources. Or simply, making more out of what you have right now. Then repeating the process many times over. The result is compounding returns, which are quickly very rewarding. When evaluating how entrepreneurial someone is, one route is looking at what they have been able to accomplish so far through the lens of what resources they had at the time.

This will only get you so far, as some people are not able to continue compounding the returns. Some people are great at getting new companies or projects off the ground and then not the right people to take them from a small to medium scale. On the other side, some people are great at scaling companies or projects but their strong suit is not getting them started from scratch. Making sure the right people are involved at the right time is tricky. Ben Horowitz discusses this extensively in his book The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

Determining the life cycle of a company you are most capable of contributing at is a really helpful lens when thinking about your career. I've recently determined that mine is in the earliest stage of a company where it is just a few people looking to get an idea off the ground. 

In other areas of life "what you made out of what you were given" is often something I am interested in learning about when I meet somebody. And a question I often ask myself is "how can I use the position I'm in now, to get more of the things I care about?" This sounds a little crazy, probably because your mind probably jumped to money. Don't think of it in the context of money and it feels a lot better. For example, "How can I use the things I have today to show my partner just how much I love them?" or "How can I leverage my volunteer time into affecting the most change for our cause?" 

Think about what limited things you have and how you use those resources today to drive the results you want. People who are good at this are often very successful.

Overcommitted

I've said "Yes" to working on a lot of projects lately as a helping hand. Over the last month, the volume of these commitments has been too much and I've lost focus on the things that are most important to me. The things where I am a core contributor have suffered for the activities where I am a part-time contributor. This doesn't make sense.

Over the next few days, I am going to work on winding down many of these extra commitments. And over the next few weeks, I am going to lean much more of my weight on the areas where I am a core contributor.

Saying Yes to something new can be easier than saying No. What have you said "Yes" to that doesn't directly contribute to achieving your goals?

Be Happy and Improve the Ability of Others to be Happy

The other day somebody asked me "If you had to, what would you say the purpose of life is?" The answer I chose is "to be happy and improve the ability of others to be happy."

We all share the human condition. Some of us started life in a really great place, while others were dropped in chaos and suffering. None of us got to choose and I can not think of a better notation of meaning than helping our fellow travelers make the most of life.

What a wonderful opportunity we are given, be happy and improve the ability of others to be happy.