We often explore life and its possibilities whenever we are free or when our busy schedule becomes free. The fact about life is that we need to explore it, understand it to increase our contribution. This needs to be intentional rather than wait for it to happen.
For instance, we usually get better ideas and inspiration during our holidays. Simply because we don’t busy ourselves with day-to-day tasks, I also observe this problem for myself. This year, I started to set specific times per day to search and explore different activities and topics other than what I usually do. Sometimes it’s just thinking and researching about random topics.
Give it a try, and you’ll be surprised what you will find.
Starting a business is always exciting, and it sets you and your life on a rollercoaster. Sometimes it goes fine, and sometimes it miserably fails.
In earlier 2021, I planned to start a side business, and after some ideation, I began on a project that focused on specific niches. It wasn’t the first time I started a side project to push my limits, but I noticed my motivation differed from years back. I also saw I’m not just the same guy with the same appetite as before. My ambition and my Whys are way different now compared to the past.
I felt pretty motivated at first, but I slowly felt something was missing. Not in the business idea itself, but my mindset and how I need to move it forward. I see myself out of inspiration and where I need to go with my idea in the long run.
Thanks to Goodreads and a great network that we can create there, it’s not hard to find where highly successful people find their source of inspiration and, most importantly, how they view life. That was a point I understand I need to take a step back and gain a different perspective of how starting a business should be about. So I decided to dig a bit and find a couple of interesting books, including Anything you want by Derek Sivers.
Anything you want by Derek Sivers is a small book, around 90 pages. Without spoiling much of the book, Derek is a musician and entrepreneur. This book is focused on his journey of building the CDBaby, a music distribution company for independent musicians. He started the CDBaby as his hobby, which eventually he successfully sold for $22 million.
The beautiful part of this book is that Derek is not explaining his business process or success stories repeatedly in the book. He talks about his mindset of what makes a good business, both for himself and his customers. He also shares his lessons in the book in a short story.
Now some may say some of the points in the books are obvious facts. However, my personal experience regarding life is that the more we know and learn about it, the more we are fascinated by simple ideas that affect our mindset and perspective.
And finally, I would like to share some quotes from this book with you. Hopefully, it inspires you to pursue your next adventure.
When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia.
Derek Sivers, Anything you want Book
Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.
Derek Sivers, Anything you want Book
So please don’t think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today.
Derek Sivers, Anything you want Book
How do you grade yourself?
It’s important to know in advance, to make sure you’re staying focused on what’s honestly important to you, instead of doing what others think you should.
Derek Sivers, Anything you want Book
Make sure what makes you happy, and don’t forget it.
Derek Sivers, Anything you want Book
After reading this book, I started to gain a better perspective on how starting a business should feel. I hope you get your copy and enjoy your reads!
How often do you see yourself in a delayed software project or a missed deadline? According to a 2017 report from the Project Management Institute (PMI), 49% of IT projects go through uncontrolled changes and get delayed. Not to mention, 14% of them fail miserably.
While I was thinking about how many delayed projects I experienced before, I noticed I’ve been in some of them, more or less. What would be the reasons? Short deadlines, with too many promises, if that’s sounds familiar. And admittedly, I saw far fewer delayed projects in advertising agencies than product/platform companies that I worked for. That will be my future post on why agencies are doing better execution than product companies.
In this post, I’ll discuss how you can survive the mess probably created by you or your peers, your client, or maybe your boss. Who knows. This is a time to take some tactical action.
Step back, re-evaluate and make radical changes
The first and most crucial step to take is, re-evaluate your solution and thought process. I’ve often seen the idea is based on weak assumptions (not researched or thought deliberately), or people feel stuck with a non-existent problem. The goal in this stage is, reflect on your current workflows instead of continue building.
Identify the key stakeholders and communicate
Now, this might look obvious, but in reality, when people are rushing, we forget and skip clear communication. We need both action and communication to deliver good products in scale.
The goal here is to identify the right stakeholders and, by that, those who have decision-making power and those who get impacted by your actions. And finally, create a clear communication line between them. The practical todo can be:
Doing a daily check-up or daily standup. Bring up risks, frustration, and listen to your peers carefully and create action items.
Keep track of important decisions and communicate them as early as possible.
Communicate blocking decisions, issues, or anything that might put your deadline at risk. That’s a time to challenge the status quo without hesitation if that’s what you need to do.
Understand the real team capacity & their output
What do I mean by real? Real in that sense, not everyone has the same output in the team, which you need to consider when you re-think your action plan. The data is usually available from everyone’s past performances, and you need to get them into actionable insight and plan accordingly. Do not assume.
Think twice when you want to add more engineers
Adding more people to rushed projects usually does not give the expected outcome. If you do, make sure you assess some factors such as onboarding time, the learning curve of your project, and the engineer’s technical capabilities.
To summarize the points, let’s see when it’s okay to do that:
The other engineer uses the same tech stacks and tools
The other engineer is know how to act on rushed projects (Many don’t, and that’s okay)
The other engineer is working with your team frequently, and she knows what you are up to
The other engineer is dynamic and transparent with his thoughts/actions/methods
The other engineer built something similar previously
Make sure you tick at least three items in this list.
Discard. Prioritize. Discard. Prioritize
For many people, this is a painful process.
Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to takeaway.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Try to focus on essential and critical needs. Differentiate your expectations and your customer needs. These are two different facts, and you must determine them and understand them thoroughly before continuing.
Make action items for every stakeholder meetings
This is probably applicable to all the meetings. It’s essential that you take clear action items from a meeting, make people responsible for those actions, and follow up afterward.
Accept the luck factor
You might be unlucky as things didn’t work out. There is fascinating research by Daniel Kahneman, a famous psychologist about luck.
When he visited an investment firm at Wall Street, he calculated that the traders, who were highly prized for their ability to “read” the markets, performed no better than they would have done if they made their decisions randomly. Therefore, the bonuses that they received were rewards for luck, even though they found ways of interpreting it as skill. “They were really quite angry when I told them that,” he laughs. “But the evidence is unequivocal — there is a great deal more luck than skill involves achievements of people getting very rich.”
There is a great deal more luck than skill involved in the achievements of people getting very rich.
Make peace with that and believe many things are out of your control, and that’s fine.
And finally, don’t forget to take a breath while working towards your deadlines. You must have a clear mind to look at the problems differently.
Building a feature from scratch or using third-party software isn’t always an easy choice, especially in Startups. It is even more challenging when you have fewer financial and staffing resources. This is when every decision is counted and affects the business as a whole. Let’s see how we can tackle this to some extent.
There are a couple of points that you can consider before deciding on similar scenarios, especially when the stakes are high. These points are the lessons I learned over the years, and pick the top ones to share with you.
Understand the business value. The business here is not only restricted to the economic aspect. To start discovering how to choose a suitable feature development strategy, it all begins with understanding the value of the feature in your business.
To tackle software challenges, it’s always essential to have a clear picture of your organizational priorities. In our case, a simple definition of business value is the impact of the feature on all forms of value that determines the health of the organization. In software companies, it can translate into multiple things such as better performance, better usability, more availability of service, tighter security, or even better team agility. These are all business values. Some of them are more important in specific organizations and some less.
A simple definition of business value in our case is the impact of the feature on all forms of value that determines the health of the organization. In software companies can translate into multiple things such as better performance, better usability, more availability of service, tighter security or even better team agility.
It’s essential to have a clear picture of your organization’s above values and priorities, especially if you are a startup. Small business tolerance of mistakes is usually low, and it can lead to the startup’s failure at some point. There is a higher tolerance for mistakes in larger companies when a wrong decision is taken.
Measure the correlation between business value and your resources. The correlation between the feature’s business value and the time the development team needs to invest is a crucial point to measure before jumping into the development. The more your feature business values go up and become a need for your revenue funnel, the more your team should invest their resources.
Have a clear overview of organization size and policies. Various things might limit your decision-making, such as company policies, software licensing, or staffing. Take note of them.
How complete is good enough? In today’s software industry, it means many things when we talk about third-party. It can be an Open Source Software (OSS) package, managed services by various cloud providers like Amazon and Google, a mix of the last two, and comes with a more straightforward UI to get the job done or other combinations. As you can see, we can leverage these options and pick the one that fits our needs.
Sometimes picking up a ready service with zero development is a good choice as long as your business does not depend on it too much. And some other time, it’s better you pick up a managed service, integrate it with your app, and build a simple UI to start with. This at least gives you the power of scaling whenever you need to do it, based on your business needs and many other factors that you might miss to calculate at the start.
Coming to the Netherlands and thinking about discovering some old windmills? I’ll share with you shortly what you can find only 15km from Amsterdam!
I had a short trip a week ago to a small city near Amsterdam that is famous for its Windmills. It’s called Zaanse Shans. I will share with you my experience of the trip and also a few useful information about the area. I imagine if you are reading this article either you have a plan to go there for a tourist activity or just spending the weekend time. In any way, you will enjoy the read!
To get to Zaanse Schans is pretty straightforward from Amsterdam Centraal. Get a train and within 30-40 minutes you reach the city. Sometimes it also makes more sense to ride an uber from Amsterdam if you are more than two persons. Amsterdam train is overpriced, especially if you don’t have a subscription. So do a comparison before you choose your ride!
Windmills & Nature
When we reached the station and entered the city, there was a large crowd entering the city at the same time as us. There was sparkling sunlight in our eyes and I could hardly look around without a pair of sunglasses. Everybody seemed like they were headed in the direction of the Windmills and as the crowd was huge and as we wanted to enjoy more of the streets’ vibe and checking out of the house architecture, we decided to take a different path from the rest of the crowd.
At first, the Windmills are not obvious and you need to take a walk for a few minutes to see them. Along the way, we see multiple hot chocolate bars and chocolate shops. We tried one and to be honest, it was good!! I recommend you do the same!
But let’s go back to the Windmills. Windmills are the first reason why Zaanse Shans are famous among travelers. Although some of them are not working and it’s there as a museum but still it’s enjoyable to go in them and see how these giant ovals are working.
For me personally, the main reason Windmills look great is because of other compelling elements in this city. The first one is a long river in the middle of the city. The water of the river was slow-moving and many ducks are swimming there. It was relaxing to see the scenery next to the windmill. We got our hot drink and sat somewhere near the river, stretch our muscles, and relaxed.
Lots of people there seem to be in a rush, not exactly sure why. But try to take your time to enjoy the flow.
Bars & Restaurants
If you are planning to have your lunch there, it’s better to pack your sandwich and just get your drink there. Unfortunately, there are very few restaurants and bars in the area. That was a downside for me as I hoped to find a good beer next to the Windmills! You can most probably find something if you walked 3-4km, but that’s a lot if you are not driving.
In short, the city and the environment were very touristic and almost everything is commercialized for tourists. This is not necessarily a bad thing. You can definitely enjoy the scene and the hot chocolate! But if you are looking for a place to chill and do an ultimate unwind over the weekend, this is not the place probably.
To wrap this up, here are more images of our short trip. If you’ve been there and found something hidden, share it in the comment!
In this post, I will tell you about my experience with MasterClass.com, the advantages of a class with celebrities, and lastly, is it worth it? This will answer some of your questions to help you make up your mind and decide whether you need a course with this content and price if you ever want it.
A few months back, I checked my Facebook and saw a post from Hans Zimmer about him starting his masterclass. I thought to myself, and this is probably another class held far away from me. I decided to click on the shared link anyway.
Surprisingly, I saw that the course was online, and it was just $90! I was pretty excited to watch a course from Hans Zimmer and people at his level! While browsing through, I found a few other courses from David Gamet, Aaron Sorkin, and a few others.
At first, I thought they would have a yearly membership to which I could subscribe, but after a few minutes of browsing, I noticed that I needed to buy each course one by one. I decided to buy the “Dramatic Writing by David Gamet” to get started with.
The Instructor & the class experience
The obvious fact about the masterclass is that all of the instructors are celebrities; not particularly all of them are from Hollywood, but the majority are. That’s why you see more acting, filmmaking, and similar courses more than other subjects.
In some of the earlier reviews, I saw that they talk about this as a negative point. They complained that they earned money because of their status, and this is more of a money-making machine than some practical courses for people like us. So I was skeptical.
After watching a few episodes of David Mamet, I knew this is not an ordinary udemy $10 course. David’s presentation skills and content are more than perfect for an online course.
There are two main qualities I found in the videos that were impressive. First, they do not ‘slide’ focus and are not limited only to the presentation’s content. He brings papers, pens, and a board to show his ideas.
The following quality is the number of points and concepts he covers in one video. Each video is around 5–15 minutes. It doesn’t seem long, but for me, there was a lot of exciting stuff to pick up within a session. Each lesson takes some time to digest and complete the homework.
The homework is another excellent part of the class. After each lesson, you can download a pdf file that includes the lesson summary, suggestions, and the assignment, which pushes you to do it practically. It also lists a few more references to understand the subject more in-depth.
David, in his videos, also suggests some sources of inspiration like movies or books. I love this part! This could not be a much better way for him to tell you how he looks at things. Before I go to the next part, one more point is the community of each class. This is helpful if you need to ask each Instructor something or share your thoughts with other participants.
This might be the only downside of the master class for many people. But again, it depends on how you look at it and whether you can benefit from the lessons.
The good news is, recently, I noticed a yearly membership box appearing on my profile. I believe that MasterClass.com understands that most people are not going to pay $90 for only one class!
And finally, is it worth it?
I hope this post explains most of what you will get from a class. However, this might not be considered a class just for a hobby. If you are still debating, check whether or not your profession is relevant to the subject being taught or if you want to improve in a specific field.
In my case, I was looking for something to write better blog content, impressive product descriptions, and write more exciting client emails.
It is always good to take the advice of those in the industry who have done amazing things and are still doing extraordinary things. As the saying goes, “Learn From The Best.”
A week ago I tried to do small animations in angular 2 app by GSAP library. The goal here is, gsap works with typescript compiler and we can use it as types in our angular app. The steps are easy and I summarize them into few ones:
Do an “npm install –save @types/gsap”
Include the gsap in the component or service “var gsap = require(‘gsap’)”
Use it “var tl = new gsap.TimelineLite()”
If you are looking for TimelineMax class functionalities, you may need to convert them to types first and add it to your angular 2 app.