Discover more from Traction Thinking
New: 🚦 3-2-1 Traction — solving problems is easy!
Also in this issue: tackling monkeys, separating fact from conjecture, the future value of present discomfort, and the rise of the Silicon Valley “small business”.
Hey friend 👋
Thanks for kicking off your week with me! Today, we’re playing the meta game.
This is 3-2-1 Traction: three big ideas from me, two ideas from others, and one question to help you focus in your journey to find traction.
And stay tuned — a promised surprise addition will hit your inbox later this week. 😃
3 ideas from me
You can solve any startup problem simply by:
Querying your data when you have it
Querying your customers when you don't
It really is that simple.
two. navigating discomfort
Your ability to navigate success tomorrow is defined by your ability to navigate discomfort today.
It’s broadly true, but particularly noticeable in the undervalued skill of engaging in difficult conversations. In the early stages, there are tons of opportunities:
Determining who gets equity, and how much
Talking to potential customers
Running advisory boards
Building the team
In each, there are uncomfortable, anxiety-producing, just-plain-hard conversations to be had — or to be avoided. The problem with avoiding them? Success brings more difficult conversations, and with higher stakes.
So take every opportunity to flex the muscle, because discomfort is the price of progress.
three. fact vs conjecture
When you first tinker with your startup, you probably don’t know shit.
That’s why you do the work of the entrepreneur — using experimentation to translate hypotheses into validated learning. But there’s a hidden precursor to this process, which founders too often neglect, and it’s the most important startup skill.
You have to master distinguishing what you know from what you think you know — separate your facts from your conjectures.
Who cares how much you test if you’re not testing the right things?
2 ideas from others
Let’s say you’re trying to teach a monkey how to recite Shakespeare while on a pedestal. How should you allocate your time and money between training the monkey and building the pedestal?
The right answer, of course, is to spend zero time thinking about the pedestal. But I bet at least a couple of people will rush off and start building a really great pedestal first.
Don’t waste time on the easy shit. Tackle your monkey first.
What’s perhaps telling is that in the graveyard of failed venture-backed startups, you’ll find many that might have flourished if they operated as a [a hybrid that intertwines small business values and discipline with big tech know-how and ambition] instead.
Just as being a college dropout has become destigmatized, so will opting out of quintessential [Silicon Valley] startup paths. Social benefits will accrue non-linearly.
It’s not just about raising cash anymore. It’s about building profitable businesses.
1 question for you
In thinking about your life as an entrepreneur, do you treat your beliefs as fixed treasures, or as hypotheses open to testing and revision?
Thanks for reading, my friend!
PS… If you’re enjoying 3-2-1 Traction, will you take 6 seconds and forward this issue to a friend? It goes a long way in helping me grow the newsletter (and helping more founders find traction).