I’m giving up on my nespresso. You know, the one you put in a capsule and you’re done…
It all started last week when I was at this local tech meetup in Miami Beach. I was chatting with a group of founders, and as my usual nosy self, I was very interested in knowing what their biggest challenges were, etc.
Guy 1 said he can’t find good talent, and I asked him why he felt this way. He said it took him longer than it would have taken if he were based out of NYC. When I asked him what he was doing to find talent, he said he was posting on job boards… That’s it? I asked him. He was perplexed. He didn’t get it. Just posting on a few job boards is enough, isn’t it?
Guy 2 said he wanted his product built faster. He estimated his team would take 6 months to build the major phase of the product roadmap. When I asked him why, he revealed that it was an enterprise HIPPA compliant product, and they had a pilot customer already who was paying the bills. So I asked him, well, what’s the team size, and background of each person? Is there a project manager, scrum master? Another perplexed look. He said his tech co-founder was tasked with doing all that by himself, called it sweat equity. Come on man, seriously?
Guy 3 said that he wasn’t getting enough signups. He mused that he’s getting some traffic, but doesn’t really know where they’re coming from, and complained that they are not ‘buying.’ When I asked him a bit more, he revealed that his product was in the $500 range, and his number #1 source of traffic was Facebook ads. So wait… He’s expecting someone who just saw his site from Facebook – to buy? On their first visit? A $500 product? Without building any trust with that lead?
Come on people…
A Results Culture
Do you see the glaring issue at hand? Their whole motivation was the result. They were not paying attention to how they got the results, other than to complain that the results were not coming in. They want a 1-button solution, they’ve fallen prey to our culture of instant gratification.
I understand this, we all want the end result too. Hell, I wish I had more customers, and more employees and more everything. But isn’t that the common denominator? We all want that. Too often, we are blinded by ‘wanting’ results, instead of paying attention to the craft, the process.
The Importance of the Craft
A famous example of someone who paid extreme attention to the craft was the late Steve Jobs. In his biography, the author explains how Jobs was absolutely obsessed over the design of an internal circuit board. It had to be beautifully designed and implemented. Mind you, no one could see this board.
Turns out, that the design and the careful attention to detail to craft were what made Apple conquer the likes of Microsoft.
When you are working on a particular goal, say… getting more customers, are you paying attention to the details people won’t see? How does that affect the outcome? If you paid attention to those pieces of the system no one would ever see, would the end result be better?
For Guy 1 who is having a hard time finding good developers. How about if you get to know developers, what they want, how they work. What if you build a network of developers by creating events specifically for them? How does your company culture help attract them as talent? How do you compete against those companies who lure in great talent because they provide more freedom, benefits, better pay, etc.
Even something as simple as hiring people is an art form, which requires a strategy and execution plan.
For Guy 2, who’s having his tech-cofounder build the product all by himself. What is your role? How can you help your partner on a daily basis? Have you researched how to help him by alleviating him from tasks he should be doing? How about hiring someone to help him – you do have one paying customer. If you cut down on traveling to conferences, you could build a small team and focus on the craft of creating software. What’s the QA and testing process? Is there a set of roadmap goals to hit by certain dates?
For Guy 3, the one who’s having problems converting customers. Have you considered the fact that people don’t just buy a $500 dollar product just because they saw it on a Facebook ad. Have you considered your target customer’s buying process? Is your pricing in line with the level of trust you have generated? What is your email marketing process? How many of these leads are you adding on to an email funnel? Have you been testing different copy on different landing pages and identifying which perform better?
Understanding vs. Solving
As you can see, all these problems are real. We all have them. We all need more speed on delivering our roadmaps, we need more customers, and want better hires.
But how do you get there? What are the smaller components that make it possible? That’s what you need to always be asking yourself every time you start wishing for a result, start working on what activities will get you there. Ask yourself, am I expecting instant gratification?
What’s your craft?
If you have read between the lines, you now know why I’m giving up on my nespresso. I want to embrace the craft itself.
So, as a founder, what areas of your execution are lagging behind, and how can you take a manual approach to each?
Remember taking upon a passion for the craft itself, will always yield better results.