Should you build a personal brand?

I’ve seen this advice given quite a bit recently, normally in the context of career…in other words your, professional brand.

The problem with this advice is that it implies that your professional brand is somehow separate from you. Why would you want to portray a version of yourself in the world of work that is different to your authentic self? That sounds like a recipe for an unhappy work life.

By all means , be deliberate about yourself…who you are, what you value, how you spend your time, but don’t construct different versions of yourself…show up with all you are, just as you are. If that doesn’t work for the job or an individual, then that’s not for you.

What got you here

Startup companies often work hard to maintain the culture that “got them here”.

At a certain point however (often around the 50 employees it seems), things start to get messy. Things need to mature, complexity grows exponentially, focus becomes hard and new skills need to be brought in.

Its a case of what got you here, won’t get you where you need to go.

Relative value

No, not the value of your relatives – that would be too controversial!

Rather, what is the relative value of the product feature. Some are game changers, some are deal breakers, some are just hygiene factors. Are your efforts aligned with this relative value?

Is your health ok?

I suppose there are absolute measures of health, like those used for annual medical tests.

A more practical measure is “Can you do the things which you enjoy doing?” That might require elite aerobic conditioning for one person and the ability to walk around the block for someone else.

As anyone who has been sick or injured will know, it’s much harder to return to health than it is to maintain health. So, what are you doing today to make sure you can do the things you enjoy tomorrow?

A place I used to live

It’s a strange feeling visiting a place you used to live or work. So much has changed in the time since then and yet, so much is still the same. Same buildings…. trees have grown…same restaurant….feels the same.

And yet, people have come and gone, business come and gone, all kinds of now invisible life has passed through here …but it’s almost like they were never here at all.

The only place any of it exists is in my memory and in the memories of those that shared that life, that place, that time. A reminder to have more reverence for the memories I’m creating today.

20 years in tech

20 years ago, I had to develop a new programming language, a new in-memory database, my own load- balancing tech and manage all the hardware, operating systems and databases. All this just to get started. It took 4 people 6 months just to tool up.

All of that got handled last night in 3 hours..

Remind me again how it’s too expensive to build a product?

Time to retire the MVP

The phrase MVP or Minimal Viable Product refers to the spending the least amount of time, money and effort to build a testable version of your idea and this normally refers to a digital product.

This term was made popular by Eric Ries in his book Lean Startup in 2011 when it was still pretty difficult and expensive to build a digital product.

Low and no code platforms, I believe, have truly arrived now, making it quick easy and cheap to build digital products. The expense and complexity has now moved into marketing and advertising as it has become more difficult to cut through the noise and convert leads to paying customers.

Startups today are better served building something compelling, unique, amazing even….something more like art than barely functioning prototype. There is a lot out there competing for your audience’s attention, make sure that if you manage to engage them, its for something better than “minimum”.

Good conflict

We had a good conflict! Not something you hear everyday.

Truth is however that conflict can be good…necessary even.

Not addressing underlying issues in any relationship, be they personal or business, is ultimately disastrous over time. A regular practice of “micro conflicts”, however, can be tremendously supportive, helpful and a source of real connection.

You choose….