I've been thinking of evaluating opportunities lately from the perspective of threats.
There's a downside to it, which is that focusing on the negative can mean a lowering of personal affect, morale, whatever. You tend to get more of what you focus on.
However, evaluating "what are the threats in the way of this succeeding?" seems like a pretty good way to check into ideas that are already on their ways towards correct execution. What could happen, with yourself, your team, competition, or other external stakeholders that could derail your success?
If you identify for threats, you can prepare against them. A cashflow crunch is easier to solve far in the future by securing some lines of credit during good times. If a key client or contract might be paid late, get that credit. If a single client accounts for more than half of your revenue, start diversifying even if it slows down your revenue growth. If a single sector is all you deal in, look if you can pick up a couple side-streams of revenue, especially covering most of your overhead.
Don't obsess over threats, and don't start thinking of them until you're well on your way -- by far the biggest risk is that your project never gets ignited and gets off the ground, and the you or your partners just don't hustle enough. But once things are going, do a once-over on threats. It could be the difference between success and failure. An ounce of prevention and all...
I. This post outlines Patrick McKenzie - a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur - how he's done such amazing things and learned so much, and why he's getting drastically underpaid and how it's his own fault. This post will be most valuable for technologists who underestimate themselves and undervalue themselves.
II. Hacker News is the best tech community on the internet, and patio11 - Patrick McKenzie - is the best contributor there. I don't even think that's controversial, I think it would be near universally agreed by the HN crowd that Patrick has made as many or more important contributions as anyone.
If you're from Hacker News, you know Patrick already. But for my readers that don't know him, let me give you a quick overview.
III. Patrick is a multi-faceted genius, and I don't throw the word genius around casually.
Patrick McKenzie is many things - he's an expatriate to Japan, he's a talented coder, tester, metrics/split-testing/analytics user, a great writer, extremely modest and helpful. He can recruit people, evaluate talent, and manage people well. He understands ROI very well and is good at purchasing advertising. He's good at customer service. Outsourcing. Automation. Coding. Ecommerce.
Over the last few days I read (and participated in) a very interesting discussion on what qualities were necessary for success. There was talk of several, among them: attitude, perseverance, patience, humility, etc. I agree in principle that all of these virtues can be part of someone's of success and they can even facilitate the work of achieving it, however, I think we can delve deeper and go straight to the essence of what it takes to have all the success you want. First, let's define what is the success, according to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language: Success. (From lat. exĭtus outlet).
I like this definition, but I think it falls a little short because the focus is directed to business. I think we should include the results over the course of one's personal life. Also, I believe that each one should define exactly what it means to be "successful" for them. It is likely that what I would regard as success, you might not or vice versa. What's more, someone could be successful in their business but be a failure in their personal life. How many times have we seen someone famous that seems to have "have it all" professionally, then their personal life is a disaster? Once again, here we would have to see how to measure "disaster". What do you consider being a disaster? And if they don't consider themselves a disaster, are they? Well, one of the participants of the discussion considers that there are three main virtues necessary for success: attitude, patience and humility. We should first define each one of them to see how to fit them into the definition of success : Attitude. (From lat. * Actitūdo).
I love the part "moods expressed in some way" and fits perfectly with my perception of what "attitude" is. How does it fit into your vision? Patience. (From lat. patientĭa).