Writing Club

Writing Club


Writing daily has changed my life.

I wrote about why you should write here.

Why write? Well, some of us write to teach lessons. Some do it as a career. Others write to share stories and inspire an audience.

When I started daily blogging some 11 months ago, my why was naively empowering:

I write for exercise.

And I can tell you now, having published a published a public blog post every single day since that morning, that writing has fundamentally changed my life. It has changed the way I think, approach problems, and form ideas.

I also made this thing to help more people write!


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 23, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Where you should work?

Where you should work?


Everyone is entitled to their own why. Why they do what they do. It is great that we are all unique in that way. No two “whys” have to be the same.

It is important, however, to recognize that why. And to not forget it. I truly believe that why you do what you do is far more fulfilling and sustainable than focusing on what you do or where you do it.

A great example is this. The job search. For me, it is constantly being pushed down my mind by being at College, along with thousands of others all competing for that “perfect job.”

I get this question a lot: “where do you want to work?”

There are many places I want to work. But, to me, the more fascinating question is why you want to work at company xyz.

And often times, we fail to think about that why. That is until the recruiter asks us “why” from across the desk and we give them some BS fabricated answer that we are not truly passionate about.

For me, I want to be excited about where I work. In the same way that I’m excited to go traveling or go out to dinner with my friends — I want that feeling about going to work somewhere incredible. To get that feeling, I know that I need to work at a unique place, on a mission to do something incredible for people.

Ok that is super vague. But it is kind of the truth. I am not as attached to a certain field (whereas maybe I should be), but rather the mere concept of growth, creation, and solving problems.

I am fascinated by this and working with the smartest possible people to provide value at scale.

My why is something I hope to never forget. It is not a static answer. Of course it will change.

But you know what else will change? Industries. Companies. Jobs. Those things will all look very different 20 years from now. We have no control over that. Honestly, look back 20 years. How many industries that were thriving then are completely non-existent now?

Now try and look forward 20 years…What jobs will just be completely gone? Which will be first to go?

Realize that, in large part, we have no control over market conditions or the government monetary policy. None.

Kinda scary.

So the only thing we can do is focus on ourselves. Focus on our own why. Ideally, it’s a mindset that we can we apply anywhere at anytime. That is how you future proof yourself. That is how you win regardless of distractions or bad luck.

I can and have taken my drive anywhere. From selling tomatoes to working on tech to writing to t-shirts ~ whatever it is ~ you can apply passion to it if it naturally excites you.

Do what excites you. And find ways to get value out of that. And to give value out of it.


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 22, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Absolutes

Absolutes


Here is an ironic concept. Nothing in life is absolute.

Let me explain.

I think most things are not binary. There is rarely just one way to do something.

Examples: There is not one path to success. There is not one way to be happy. There is not one way to get a job. Etc. Etc.

When people give advice, often times they make it seem like there is just this one path you must follow. The reality is that that is rarely, if ever, the case. There are always more options.

That is the weird part about advice. Since we all have only lived one life, and made certain decisions, we can only imbue advice that we took or did not take in the past.

That is why empathy is so important. Empathy allows you to think like other people and make decisions with their perspective in mind.

Anyways, I try to stay away from absolutes. I find it very rare that any piece of advice or rhetoric is worth saying always or only. Thankfully, there always seems to be alternatives.

Note to myself: in writing, it can often seem like I’m writing in absolutes. But I understand that is wrong. It is challenging to add caveats when you know them to be true but still want to write about your opinion. Everything I write is just my thoughts, not “the law.”


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 21, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Product Market Fit

Product Market Fit


If you’ve been around the tech/startup/vc space at all for the past 10 years, then you’ve probably heard the term “product market fit” thrown around quite often.

So what is product market fit? And why should you care?

Per Andrew Chen, who runs growth at Uber,

  • Product Market fit is when people who know they want your product are happy with what you’re offering

Once you’ve achieved P/M fit, you can start focusing more on distribution.

There are a few things that I’ve learned here that can be quite confusing/complicated, so here are some thoughts on product market fit:

  • It can often be hard to test if you’ve actually achieved P/M fit. There are many vanity metrics that can point you in the wrong direction. Press does not validate you. Your friends enjoying the product does not prove anything. Free users on your eventually paid plan does not show that what you are building is working.
  • So what does work? I’d focus on a few things. The most important must be feedback and voice from your customers. If you can, even if it’s not at scale, change the life of even just one person, then perhaps you are on to something. If you can build something people want, then you will inevitably reach that product market fit.
  • Growth is what happens after your product finds that niche / footing. And that, to me, is one of the most exciting parts. Of course, your product is subject to change and you are going to make alterations. But at that point, you have a full fledged tool/service/product that actually works (not in prototyping or “I guess” stage). You have customers who depend on you and you can go to potential new ones with something in hand.

I am fascinated and compelled by growth. To me, there is nothing more exciting than getting a product in someone’s hands and getting their feedback. I love *launching* things. That may be one reason I write every single day — because I am able to simulate this feeling at low cost and low risk to myself.


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 20, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Metrics that don’t matter

Metrics that don’t matter


I think distractions may be on of, if not the, biggest causes of failure. Especially in this modern era, it is easier than ever to get off course and allocate time to things that really do not matter.

I want to make a clear distinction here because “things that do not matter” are not necessarily things that do not make money or advance you professionally. I’m referring to time spent on things that:

  • do not bring you happiness
  • do not help you grow
  • do not provide value to others
  • do not give you value
  • do not give you a fun time

I am a big believer in trying to make the most of my time. And however I have to do that to maximize the “utility” I receive and give, I will.

Now back to these stupid metrics. “Vanity Metrics.” I have written about these things many times. Why? Because I think I, and many other ambitious people, spend a lot of our time getting distracted.

Vanity metrics, in short, are indicators that “falsely” validate you. They boost your ego but do not really help you in the long term or deliver any long term help.

Getting caught up in these metrics is actually really dangerous. Well not physically. But, years later, you can find yourself in the same spot as before. Because these metrics mean nothing.

Here’s a good example. Viewcount. If I wanted to, I could get 20,000 views a month on my own blog + medium account. Probably more if I really wanted to. That is not me being cocky. Or at least I hope it’s not read like that. It’s me understanding how this world works. And how media is dominated by certain types of content.

The thing is, and luckily I figured this out relatively quickly, is that viewcounts would never make me that happy. There was a point where I was getting much more than 20,000 views a month. I was publishing everywhere. But the views did not make me happier. They did not make me a better writer.

Your goal can be whatever you want. But know that there will be tons of distractions looming.

I don’t post to my personal (or any) facebook account because those are really vanity views. They are friends who are reading my content. Why? Because they are my friends. Sure, I can deliver them value. But those click thrus are not for the same reason of some stranger, some new connection, is clicking on my article.

And one of my goals early on in writing was to start conversations with new people. Posting on my own social media was not helping with that. The only thing it was doing was falsely inflating my metrics. And making me feel better along the way.

I am so passionate about metrics and distractions because I know just how important focus is. And I say that, because I, myself, am working a lot to focus on the things that really matter.

I hope you do too. I hope you’re happy first though.


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 19, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Automation and the Elimination of Jobs

Automation and the Elimination of Jobs


Artificial intelligence and other breakthrough technologies have the potential to revolutionize life as we know it.

There are clear benefits to a technologically driven world. In theory, that world has less disease and a higher life expectancy. Equipped with technology, our lives should become better.

But there are negative externalities to any advancements we make. For every step we take closer to the digital world, we also lose something.

For better phones, or more battery life, we likely lose less face time with friends (face time like real communication face to face, not like the app).

For automated jobs, we increase efficiency and save businesses money. We are able to create things we never thought possible and deliver value to more and more people. But what happens to the jobs? Whose jobs will get “automated,” rendering their human value “worthless?”

Many low-level laborers fear that “robots” will take over their jobs just as manufacturing has been revolutionized by the space. But perhaps it is not laborers who should be most fearful.

This tweetstorm is an alternative approach to this problem, that identifies another group.

What world are we moving towards? I do not think there is a “right” version of the future but there certainly are many negative worlds.

I’m not sure what that world looks like. But I’m curious what you all think.


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 18, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

School Starts

School Starts


I just returned back to college for my second semester of my sophomore year.

I’m reminded by a blog post I wrote some 6 months ago. It was a simple reflection of my freshman year. Writing, for me, has always been an exercise for my mind. But one of the great externalities of writing every single day has been the ability to look back with nostalgia at my former thinking.

It’s not that myself some 6 months ago was wrong. But better, I was perhaps naive. Some of what I said, however, still stands and are things I still believe in.

But documenting my journey, or at least my thought process has been quite the memory trip.

This is the quote that really stuck out to me most:

While the classes were good — I learned a lot of new things — I cannot emphasize enough how valuable the people are at school.

You may never in your life find a more valuable group of people — do not waste a day and live to the fullest!

I still think that is completely true. I still believe that the people are the ones who really can make college special. I do not think that it is the quantity, but rather the depth of the individuals that you surround yourself with.

I hope to have many unique experiences this semester. Definitely going to make it count.


Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on January 17, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.