The following is part of an internal Qwilr document outlining our plans for 2018–2019, the original Qwilr Page is here: https://pages.qwilr.com/Leadership-Adversity-iMwkmzUfTFmJ
Montaigne says, echoing the ancient Stoics, that we should welcome adversity, because it provides us an opportunity to test and demonstrate our virtue.
Everyone can act well when things are going smoothly, the real test of character is when everything is on fire. In this way, you really don’t know your strength of character, the quality of your virtue, until you’re faced with adversity.
Adversity requires leadership, but not in the way that the word is commonly used. Leadership…
The following is a Qwilr company memo sent to the team in 2017 — the original Qwilr page is here: https://pages.qwilr.com/Right-Kind-Of-Wrong-VTLw9IGQRkGP
Making a mistake is not a nice feeling. Especially when that mistake is public to some degree.
Building a product company the vast majority of our mistakes are out in the open by default. Making mistakes in this context you become aware of a certain vulnerability. Not only to your fellow company builders but also, perhaps more keenly, to our users. It’s a vulnerability you probably didn’t know you had until the mistake is made. …
“Another Life” has just been released (https://open.spotify.com/album/1oN20fWy70Srr4nbz5Ph8b).
And it’s certainly the strangest album I’ve ever worked on, because I have no idea who the wrote the songs.
I don’t mean these are folk traditionals, they’re very modern - I just don’t know who wrote them, I’ve never met the author, or seen their face, or heard their voice. And, circumstances as they are, I am fairly sure they don’t know that this album, THEIR album, even exists.
It’s bit of an unusual situation, so this may take some explaining…
In 2014 I took a road trip from Sydney to Tasmania.
Beagle app, one of our strongest competitors has just shut down, and to be honest: it makes me a little sad.
A few days ago I got an email from the Beagle team. It went to everyone in their user base. “Every Dog Has Its Day” read the subject line. Beagle app was shutting down, and the app would cease operations altogether after January 20th.
Just moments later I got a Slack message from my business partner: “Dude, Beagle closing? Huge.” (Everything in Slack is abbreviated to maximum brevity). “Huge”, I wrote back.
Building disruptive technologies, products and businesses is unquestionably about creating something “new”.
That newness can come in many forms. It might be fresh thinking applied to an existing problem space, it can be a product for a market segment that has never been serviced before, it can be a product which invents its own new market.
In all cases though, disruptive businesses create something novel.
This is a not an especially controversial point.
But there is a pervasive misconception about newness, an insidious one that needs to be corrected.
Originality is not something divorced from the past — whether it’s…
I’m live blogging. Qwilr is on the eve of a big product release. Probably the biggest release since the product made its public debut. The release will mark a turning point in the whole trajectory of the product and the business. The engineering team is flicking between terminal screens, with anxious excitement, monitoring server metrics: “All looking good”. It took a lot of work, a lot of midnights-at-the-office to get here — but for all that hard work, there’s one thing that made the crucial difference: murder. Yes, I confess, murder. …
Don’t spend more time strategising than doing.
When pursuing a project with minimal resources (a.k.a A Startup) a sense of disorder quickly sets in. A team of three or four fills the roles normally manned by twenty or thirty. Marketing, building, selling, refining, designing etc. The team switches cognitive hats all day. Everyone becomes a mental kaleidoscope.
There isn’t just a sense of disorder in a startup, things probably ARE disordered, because, unlike an established company, there is no precedent formula of success to work from — rather, startups are in the process of uncovering a formula (if one in-fact…
If you’re building a business online, whether its a product business, retail, blog or anything else, you’d probably like to take advantage of network effects to grow your audience; i.e. people sharing stuff, to other people, who in turn share that stuff on.
These effects are akin to nuclear chain-reactions: it can take a lot of energy, expertise and tinkering to get the balance of forces just-right, but once it gets going, its self-feeding and exponentially multiplicative. Content is your nuke.
Ok great, article-tagline sorted – but how do you get people to share your stuff? …
I was recently asked by a young & energetic developer (paraphrasing here, for the sake of brevity): “I’m a little concerned about entering the work-force. If I want to work in tech – should I go to university and get a Computer Science degree, or just dive headlong into building my own projects?”.
My TL;DR answer was: “A Computer Science degree is great. It can give you rock-solid engineering principles to create ambitious, maintainable code; but if its a binary choice, I’d choose doing your own projects”.
I’m a designer and developer without formal training. I began a CS degree…
If you’re building any product with a human interface – be it software, a web-application, mobile-app, even physical hardware: you need a full-time designer.
Take the analogy of evolution: you’d imagine that to win the game of natural-selection an animal would want all advantageous features to be maximised: i.e. smartest, strongest, fastest, most-reproductive – but you can’t simply increase one attribute without affecting another. The outcome of the system is about the combination of all its properties: i.e. the system is a whole, representing the sum of the internal relationship of its constituent parts. …