The Idea Dude


Monday, January 23, 2006

It's a question of focus

Too often we get distracted by the hot idea you got from the last conference, or the buzz from reading a blog or even one customer describing a particular pain point he has. It's an affliction that strikes most startups and sales people because they struggle daily for that seemingly elusive goal...a predictable revenue stream. Those who are entrepreneurial at heart and sales folks are particular prone to this disease. While it is important to recognize great opportunities when they come along, it is often disconcerting to the crew rowing below the decks. They see a captain being pushed around by prevailing winds rather than someone who has the skill to choose the ones that will take them to their destination.

So this is a fitting way to start the week and note to self. We have to recognize what business we are in and what we are best at. Anything else is a distraction that should either be discarded or outsourced. Having too many goals is also a bad thing. I really believe most people can focus at most 2 things and often I hear the cries amidst chaos, "I don't know where to start!" My reply is always the same, "Pick at most 2 things that you want to achieve above all else" and then "Forget there are a thousand steps to get there, just take the first one".

So to achieve focus, you need discipline and the best natural driver for discipline is passion. By now, you'll realize I'm a sucker for quotes and cliches, I thrive on memorable one liners because they help me find my way when I'm down or lost. I'll share one of my favourites from the movie, The Last Samurai. Captured by the Samurai, Tom Cruise's character grows to respect them and one of his observations about them was - "...from the moment they wake, they devote themselves to the perfection of everything they pursue. I have never seen such discipline...". As a living Knight of the Old Code having sought many software grails, I can relate to that...

I'll close this blog on focus with Segal's Law..."A man with one watch knows what time it is, a man with two watches is never sure".


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