I have been pondering about it for a while. We know we need to talk to target customers as soon as we can, but we don’t. We know we need to track key metrics – but we don’t. We know we need to reach out to mentors and founders who have been there and done that – we don’t. We know we need to engage with the press and basically invest in marketing (time, not necessarily money) but we don’t.
Alexis Conran hosted the show ‘The Real Hustle’ on BBC where he and his team ran elaborate scams on people. In this hugely entertaining TEDXBerlin talk he presents the 5 tactics used by conmen to fool us. Well the crux is that we mostly fool ourselves. Politicians, businesses and folks who want to sell their story to us routinely use these 5 tactics to get us to do what they want. People believing fake news spread by politicians or got into Bernie Madoff’s elaborate scams – eventually fall prey to the same techniques. When we are building our businesses how many times are we fooling ourselves?
Running a business while raising kids can be challenging. There are a lot of decisions, example setting etc that one needs to focus on. In this context I always remember a lecture by Desh Deshpande at a TiE Conference in California nearly two decades back. He said “In life we all have many balls in the air that we are juggling between – ambition, career, hobbies, dreams, family…all of these balls are made of rubber except one. All the ones made of rubber will bounce back up even if you drop them once in a while. But there is one that is made of glass and you better not drop it. It is the ball of Family”. I never forgot that.
We all are distracted at work. To push complex work at hand to a later time span – a digital age procrastination. Nir Eyal wrote a whole book to help manage distractions on and in this article he underlines 4 steps that could potentially reduce distractions and points to “Bricker’s work using acceptance and commitment therapy in smoking cessation programs “
Benjamin Hardy, PhD who I have referred to a few times through this year has written a whole book ‘Willpower Doesn’t work’ – about why over reliance on will power is bound to fail. To make his point he quotes the findings of historian Will Durant – the author of The Story of Civilization – a labour of love that took him over 4 decades to complete. This is what he concluded – ‘“history was not shaped by great men, but rather by demanding situations.”
The day after Apple reveals their juicy new iPhones I thought it would be appropriate to point at the elephant in the room. The issue is real. We are all spending enormous time staring at our phone. Lot has been written on the ills of this. I spend 2-3 hours on my phone a day and get a lot of work done using my phone as an extended screen of my laptop. I have no games. But I do get a lot of notifications from apps. These distract me often. This article by Ryan Holiday on Forge addresses this issue head-on.
You believe you are smart, rational and always taking the best decisions the situation permits. Well, think again.
Richard Thaler, the Nobel Laureate economist thinks otherwise and Eshe Nelson says, you would do better to pay attention.