Do what you can't

Don't worry about being popular and don't let others define who you are

What I learned

Too often we try to meet other’s expectations. If you haven’t seen Casey Neistat’s video Do What You Can’t (language warning), you should. It’s a fun take on a fundamental challenge — don’t let others define your life.

The biggest regret at the end of someone’s life is not living a life true to yourself.

This is both a reason my wife and I homeschool our kids and a continual challenge we face. We want to empower our kids to direct their own learning. That’s how the best learning happens. But it’s still easy to occasionally question ourselves, “What if they fall behind?” or “What if they don’t have the same experiences as everyone else?” But defining success as only being the same as everyone else is a poor way to live your life.

It’s similar with building products. Copying the features of other products isn’t a path to a valuable product or company. You’ll always be a step behind and you don’t focus on the most important part of product — the user.

I realized this week that I’ve been holding back. Too often in the business we’re building, we’ve found ourselves asking, “what do others do?” or “how should we make sure this gets traction” vs boldly standing for the intersection of what we believe in and what we know is helping others. We’ve committed to have more courage to build a business true to the change we believe should exist in the world, even if it’s not popular.

Making others the hero is one of life’s great secrets to success (which stands in direct opposition to simply copying others or growth hacking). It makes for successful marriages, successful teams, successful products, and successful parenting.


What I published

The cost of waste calculator — a new tool I created this week to help managers realize how much their poor work practices actually cost. Adjustments coming and feedback welcome.

Encouragement at work is underrated


What have you learned lately?

Ryan