What are questions and thoughts running through my mind, issues that keep coming back to me in recent weeks, if I had ~10 seconds to think of this?
I was at a show today to support Lihi Milgrom and Adi Kugler. At the beginning, they asked us to close our eyes for a few seconds (TREE HUGGER WARNING!!!) and think about things that have been bothering us lately, and general thoughts which keep coming back in recent weeks.
I'm a somewhat spiritual guy and I believe in the calmness of my own mind, but I'm also a hardcore skeptical cynic. Should I close my eyes? That was my first thought.
But, as I'm there, I may as well go with it. Fine.
I closed my eyes, and in the 10 seconds I had, this (more of less) was my mental list:
1. Humanity - Is humanity going to survive as a specie a few million/trillion years into the future? Not getting there, but rather being there. What could we be facing? What could we do today, if anything, if we even should, to help us in the long run? Would we? Do we need to? Is this something active or an idea, concept, or movement that could start? Would historical cycles even exist in the form they do today by then? Is this even relevant? Is thinking about it relevant beyond my own musings?
2. Growth - How do I feel about my life? About myself? About my behavior? How do I handle situations, and could I become better? Do I have the capacity to? Am I happy with this? Where could I grow? What do I think of myself for having these thoughts? What am I not thinking of? Should I?
3. My startup - What are our main challenges, and how are we facing them? What fine-tuning could be done, and should it? Where should we staretegize, and where should we let things be? What am I most bothered with?
4. Budget. B funding round. Customers. Sales.
5. Am I lonely? Do I want a relationship? Do I have time for one? OOooh women are in this show!
6. Nice review of issues for a few seconds of thinking, I'm good. MmmmhM...
7. How can they claim they will answer my questions, and then those of all the others in the audience? What would the statistical outlook of all these thoughts in the audience look like? How would I go about figuring it out. What would I do in order to provide with an answer for all these people, and would it be rather shallow, or generic, or precise for some or a subset?
7. What could their show potentially do to meet these goals, and would it?
8. It would be a tree hugging show, and these thoughts are irrelevant for the show. They're just making irrelevant claims.
9. Interesting 10 seconds, I should FB it and share with my friends. I'll make sure and organize things chronologically and tie loose ends on barely touched thoughts, mainly intangible and in no particular order, during a ~10 seconds hailstorm.
This was not a review of the show - but of my mind during those ~10 seconds.
It was a good show, thought provoking, and weird. I also felt a lot of pride in my friends being in it. But (tongue in cheek) the show DID NOT answer my questions as it wanted me to believe it would ( :) ).
It was a tree huggish thing to do to get me to close my eyes. Oh well.
As to the show... I think their purpose was to show a generic view of how we are surrounded by self doubt and societal pressures, and to be specific about the hurt it can cause, and how we as humans behave. I have no idea if I'm right - I'm not a very good show critic. So, in a way I did appreciate them moving between a wide overview and a detail-based approach, and they did use some interesting techniques to prime me to certain thoughts... but honestly I was mostly just confused during the show.
I'm so proud to be a part of the Cymmetria team.
Seeing what this team accomplished so far, and how important it is for the team to change the world, provide value, and build something truly innovative in security... It's humbling.
How can a team of 26 people feel like it's still a smallish 3 people startup family?
How could all 26 be A+ level in their capabilities? Scaling is supposed to kill such notions. And yet, that's where we are. Hard work and planning surely were a part of this, but I must attribute that mainly to luck.
I guess I feel thankful, and that is not a feeling I usually connect with, being a hard believer in hard work and building your own luck.
I remember playing games like Civ and wondering how a real empire can be built, instead of in a computer game, and what it would take. I tried playing a bit of a game these past few weeks, and now that I'm actually working on a startup - the game's appeal was short lived.
Nothing compares to doing things for real.
I guess the difference between working hard and working hard as a founder, is that it's not your salary you're worried about - that's a given. It's everybody else's.
Even if risks are two years away, the memory of them being a few weeks away lingers, and you have less tactical control.
Good thing decision making is based on many parameters and not just lessons burned into your soul.
Working hard at relaxing, so naturally my stress levels diminish as I try to enjoy my vacation. Unanticipated result: I finally had the freedom of mind to have a horrible dream about fund raising and running out of cash. Ha!
Happy to say though that a major part of this dream was discussing actionable next steps against the impending doom.
Everyone must have heard by now on how Sony got hacked by supposedly North Korean hackers. There were some interesting stories involved with that - and we will hear much more yet - from international relationships to how the insurance world handles cyber attacks.
An interesting strategic aspect of this is the fact that Sony "caved" and cancelled the release of a Movie, which the hackers didn't appreciate and threatened them about.
That PR disaster aside - the interest in the movie sky rocketed, and it was clear that it will become amazingly popular - regardless of whether it is released or not.
Sony now followed up, stating it will release the movie for free, through their online content service - which is supposedly isn't doing very well.
I can't really give them credit for planning this in advance, as that sounds far fetched, but it is definitely a good use of their resources (even the bad ones). Good job! Interesting, isn't it? Kind of obvious, too. I might have decided to open it up everywhere, instead - rather than trying for a double whammy.
Measuring a startup's success seems easy - did you exit? A a better question would be how do you measure its progress?
These are my incomplete thoughts after a month and a half of hard work - I would highly appreciate your feedback.
So far... we pretty much already have:
A successful seed round - although we are still fine tuning terms and participants, several PoCs about to start, major industry design partners backed by MOUs in different levels of completion, letters of intent from major players in the market, market research, completed a road show for market validation, and an unwavering belief in changing the world. :)
My system: (under construction, right?)
Strategically, I constantly validate the market and talk with customers, continuously validate every assumption and decision, as well as improve my vision. I often ask myself: Do I clearly see the path to success? What are the steps to get there? How do I deliver them?
I have four end goals which guide me, in no particular order: (1) Deliver the market, (2) deliver the technology, (3) deliver what would improve our chances for a successful next round, and (4) build the best team possible.
All of which are framed with: At every move along the path, how can we achieve better positioning, like in Chess? Which brings me to the tactical level: At every stage...
Tactically, what is it we want to achieve? (example: seed round funding), what would be the best way to achieve it? (example: angels), what is the goal of this round? (example: build a PoC), what is this round intended to achieve? (example, a better position toward A round funding), what are the parameters of this round which would enable these? (example: terms which will help my valuation).
Operationally, I measure success in the tasks in front of me, moving toward the next task, and improving the ones before as time goes by, quantitatively (more LoIs) or qualitatively (a PoC).
While sometimes I jump into things and learn as I go, and other times I first think things through, I always do my research, and always ask for input.
I try to read up on the subject, discuss, and consult with as many people I can who have experience which can help. I always keep in mind everyone has their own prejudices, competing goals (which is fine, but we need to be aware of this, and open about it), and understand that for everyone as well as me... "your mileage may vary".
I try and avoid mistakes, chart mistakes others make, and as errors will be made regardless... I try to make as many mistakes as I can as quickly as I can.
What are your thoughts?
One of the concepts I've been playing with lately is victory, or winning. Trying to reframe ideas from a new rhetorical starting point - what do I want to achieve?
Example would be Syria and Chemical weapons. The US lost face which effectively helped Putin place himself as a world player. My claim has been this is an orchestrated campaign for precisely that goal, with a possible higher goal related to internal Russian politics. The US has effectively been schooled by the Russian campaign.
A friend then asked me: "but the chemical weapons are now out of Syria, doesn't that mean the US effectively won by achieving its stated goal?"
Which goal was more important, had a higher effect, on what, and at what cost? Thinking of these ends in analyzing what I and others do, first, has been quite interesting.
What is it you are *actually* trying to achieve, and what is it you do to get there? How will you measure your success and how will others view the same situation?
Hi folks, I created this poll on "changing the world". Would you participate?
On your goals:
1. Do your goals for your future include people other than yourself? Yes/no/dunno
2. Do they include more than your close circles (family/friends)? Yes/no/dunno
3. Do they include more than your community? Yes/no/dunno
4. Do they include more than your country? Yes/no/dunno
1. Do you want to change the world? Yes/no/dunno
2. Do you believe you are going to change the world? Yes/no/dunno
3. Do you think it will be be limited to the people around you? Yes/no/dunno
4. Is this change going to be in limited in scope, yet significant? Yes/no/dunno
5. Is this change going to be one which all will know of, but in a limited field of study/location? Yes/no/dunno
6. Is this going to be a major Earth-shattering change? Yes/no/dunno
On what it would mean for you:
1, Would you be happier if this change happened? Yes/no/dunno
2. Would you like credit for this change? Yes/no/dunno
3. Do you care about being remembered by your close circles? Yes/no/dunno
4. Do you care about being remembered by history? Yes/no/dunno
5. Do you think those we remember from history are different from fictionalized characters in how we personalize them? Yes/no/dunno
6. Can you say for sure Socrates existed? Yes/no/dunno
1. Do you have more than one goal?
2. Are these goals different in scope (global, close circles)?