2 min read

On focusing like Steve Jobs

On focusing like Steve Jobs

Hayk Hakobyan was quoting Steve Jobs in his recent LinkedIn post:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done."
— Steve Jobs

So, you might get a new idea every time you have a shower or a new feature request every time you meet a different (potential) customer or user, but you need to make your picks. To all the things you'd say "No", to stay focused on the relevant things. Often it is much easier said than done. That's why you need the self-discipline to stay on the right course steering your startup ship, avoiding distracting Sirena on the way.

So discard most, pick a few and execute those very well.

What to say "No" to?

In your personal and work life, there are good books to guide you by Marie Kondo:

Both of which I have read as well and enjoyed. I can also recommend reading "Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism" by Fumio Sasaki.

In a way, I think that's why there are also more digital nomads each year - once people live out of a few suitcases, they realise that there are not that many things they need in active use of their everyday life. Picking things to fill those 2 suitcases is hard in the beginning, but once you're on the way, you'll appreciate not having unnecessary things logging you down.

What about your startup development? The guys at YCombinator as well as Jason Calacanis say that great founders have a focus on real KPIs, such as recurring revenue, # of paying customers and their growth rates. Non-focused founders cover all non-essential (vanity) metrics - may it be # of conferences attended, interviews given to media or something else that does not contribute to revenue/usage growth and can be considered out of focus, for startup.