Clouds and Dirt

If you’ve heard of Gary Vaynerchuck, then the title of this article should already be somewhat familiar.

He has shared and promoted his idea of “clouds and dirt” for quite some time now. He even has a video made by David Rock (DRock) that explains how he lives this idea.

In case you’re “too busy” to watch the video, this concept of clouds and dirt is fairly straightforward.

Clouds refer to focusing on the long term goals and strategy of your business while dirt represents the day-to-day execution and details that make up your industry.

No more. No less.

I think about this every single day. Not only is this good advice for any freelancer or entrepreneur when building a business, it actually translates well and is extremely actionable.

It’s all-too-easy to get wrapped up in things that just don’t matter in the long run. Especially as someone who is leading a team, it’s even more important to be aware of your current direction.

It’s easy to dismiss all of this as “fluffy” and “conceptual,” but when it comes to guiding a team towards a long term goal, it doesn’t get more real than this.

As someone who is starting to build a new business, I am constantly reviewing, tweaking, and analyzing my dirt while I keep my eye on the clouds.

For me, the clouds are short term (quarterly) goals that add up to my long-term vision (creating a future where people with different skills and backgrounds freely share and pursue ideas together). The dirt is a series of action steps that move me closer to each of those short term goals each day.

Currently, my short term clouds are the following:

- Establish LLC for Collide (completed)
- 500 signups for Collide app
- Finalize and test the Collide prototype

The first goal is fairly easy to break down into actionable steps (dirt) in order to accomplish it. They were as simple as:

- Officially name the LLC (Collide, LLC)
- Choose a registered agent (myself)
- File my Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Review Operating Agreement with attorney
- Apply for an EIN online

Once I completed these actionable steps, I finished my first short term goal above. Granted, some goals will be less straightforward than establishing an LLC.

For example, my next short term goal (500 sign ups for Collide app) will be a little more nebulous considering there is no one right way to accomplish this. Research and trial and error will come into play.

As long as there is something measurable to track my efforts against, I will know whether or not I succeeded.

Do you agree with focusing on the clouds and dirt of your business? How do you currently think long-term but act short-term? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @williamfrazr.

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