Going all in

Going all in

In every poker game, there comes a point in time where you have to make a decision: going all in?

What does it take for you to go all in? Do you need to have a high card? What about a flush?

Some players are more risk averse than others.

In the perfect world, we would know exactly what all of the other players have and make our decision based off of that.

But of course, that would be cheating.

Life is very similar, except we are not dealing with cards, we are dealing with life’s different factors.

When is it the right time to go all in on your ideas/passions?

Like any poker hand, it is hard to know. In fact, it is impossible to know. “Experts” can tell you to “definitely fold” or “you have to,” but at the end of the day, that decision is 100 percent up to you.

No one is going to make this decision for you.

Sometimes this decision will feel irrational.

It will go against things that you learned growing up as a kid.

But sometimes it just feels right.

When are you going to go all in? What will it take to get you there?

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 31, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

It is hard

It is hard

Writing every single day is really hard. And that is why I do it.

Well it is not the only reason that I do it, but approaching this as a challenge has been a great way for me to learn and grow.

I think finding challenges — like I have with writing — is really important. Something that you can take on on a regular basis.

Far too often, I feel, we trap ourselves in routines. Routines are good for a lot of things. But often times they do not put you in uncomfortable situations, on purpose.

Unless, however, your routine puts you in an uncomfortable situation.

And that is the irony of writing. It is a routine to the furthest extent — I do it every single morning and have not missed a day.

But it is never monotonous — it always pushes me.

Find opportunities that push you.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 30, 2017.

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What kills young startups

What kills young startups

Starting a company is really really hard.

Most startups fail. Worse than that, most startups fail a long, painful excruciating death. It takes them months, more likely years, to figure out their business is not viable.

I am always interested in why companies fail. And the answer I’ve come to for most young, growing companies is very simple:

Of course, there are other reasons at stake…this is just my generalization.

Most startups fail because:

1 — Founders give up / do not try hard enough

I think this is the biggest reason that startups fail. And I think it is the hardest reason to internalize if you are an entrepreneur/founder. You’d never want to admit that the reason your “genius idea” failed was because of YOU. It is a tough conversation. But, I’ve learned through my own experiences, that being up front and honest with yourself can save you TONS of time and money in the long run. And that internal conversation is vital if you are trying to build a company.

Why is it so important?

Because building a company is really fucking hard. Near impossible. And if you keep lying to yourself that everything is going okay. Or that you really want to be doing it — it will eventually bleed through.

Who will know?

Your customers. Your teammates. And they are all who matter.

2 — Founders get distracted

Really? Distracted? Howso?

I think this is another huge reason companies fail. And again it is tough to internalize, especially as a founder, because it is really all on you.

The hardest part is that startup culture does the worst job about this. In fact, this culture fools you into thinking you are on track when in reality you are wasting your and others’ precious time.

So. What does this look like?

To me, and emphasis on to me, early on it is ALL about providing for your users.

Here is a list of shit that really does not matter:

  • Press
  • Investor $$$
  • Your friends telling you how good your idea is
  • Your parents telling you how good your idea is
  • Winning a startup competition
  • etc.

The list goes on and on. The common thread among all of these things, however, is one big thing: forgetting about your users.

This is a really tough process. It is motivated in many ways by circumventing your personal ego to make something happen.

That is tough. Why? Because it is really hard to be in touch with your ego so much so that you understand why you are doing what you are doing.

But trust me. Ask yourself the really hard questions up front.

3 — Product sucks

This one is obvious. And it is a direct result of the two points I spoke about earlier.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 29, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Elon Musk.

Elon Musk.

Anyone else amazed by Mr. Musk?

The one characteristic I look up to most in people, above all else, is passion. Passionate people — people who really go for it — they are the world changers. They are the ones who care the most about our future.

Elon Musk. From what I’ve read — must be one of the most passionate people to have ever lived.

Now of course, we all express our passions in different ways. Not all of us are loud, not all of us are the best athletes in the world. But time and time again I have found that people who simply possess the passion — the energy — find ways to exert it. They find ways to get shit done.

Back to Musk.

He is one of those people who “gets shit done.” Except his goals are far more “out of this world,” quite literally.

I really enjoy reading about / understanding the world’s most passionate people.

Read this Quora answer about Musk’s ability to build rockets. It is really good.

This is my favorite thing I have read in a WHILE.

The one major important distinction that sets him apart is his inability to consider failure. It simply is not even in his thought process. He cannot conceive of failure and that is truly remarkable. It doesn’t matter if its going up against the banking system (Paypal), going up against the entire aerospace industry (SpaceX) or going up against the US auto industry (Tesla). He can’t imagine NOT succeeding and that is a very critical trait that leads him ultimately to success. He and I had very similar upbringings, very similar interests and very similar early histories. He was a bit of a loner and so was I. He decided to start a software company at age 13. I decided to design and build my own stereo amplifier system at age 13. Both of us succeeded at it. We both had engineers for fathers and were extremely driven kids. What separated us, I believe, was his lack of even being able to conceive failure. I know this because this is where we parted ways at SpaceX. We got to a point where I could not see it succeeding and walked away. He didn’t and succeeded. I have 25 years experience building space hardware and he had none at the time. So much for experience.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 27, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Actually Working

Actually Working

I have written about this before, but I feel like it is an important thought in my head.

We live in a “busy” culture. Everyone is always “busy,” or so they say.

When you catch up with someone that you have not seen in a long time, they always enter the conversation with “Yeah, I’ve been super busy.” It is a competition to be the busiest person in the world! Right?

Rarely do we “look up to people” who do not work at all. Rarely do we admire the people who relax all day, meditate, watch Netflix, etc.

Our society admires doers. But let’s not confuse that with talkers. Being busy is very different from getting shit done.

You do not have to work ALL DAY to be productive. You do not have to actually work that many hours to be super productive.

In fact, the best workers are able to do things 10x better and faster than their peers — meaning they could get the same amount of things done, in one tenth of the time, and still have time to watch Netflix or go play basketball.

Is that a bad thing?

Of course not.

It has made me think…when you say you are working..how much are you actually working?

If we always gave it our all, our 100%, when we were working, how much time could we save during the day?

Not on Twitter. Not in boring meetings. Not checking our phones, or snapchats. Just working. Just focusing on the task at hand.

I think you should really enjoy your work. It should challenge you. It should be hard. It should help you grow — or whatever your goal is with working. But I think that you can accomplish all of those things, in a much shorter amount of time, if, when you worked, you just worked.

You focused. You killed it. And you got back to whatever else you wanted to do.

Now perhaps the most productive people are the people who can sustain that level of work for a super long period of time.

One of the hardest things about trying to do that, and something I am struggling with often, is evading distractions and temptations.

We all suffer from some sort of FOMO (fear of missing out). Right now, I have 3 slack notifications. Do I check them? Probably. Should I? Probably not.

The “always-on” culture has made it much harder to focus. And, to this day, I think focus + consistency are the two most powerful traits.

Learn to focus on what matters and you’ll never lose sight of your goals. You’ll stop spending time on stupid shit — like instagram followers and messages — and you’ll miraculously get WAY more done.

PS — stop telling people how busy you are. SHOW not tell.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 26, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Lack of Spontaneity

Lack of Spontaneity

College is an interesting time.

It is an extremely unique time. I am very grateful for being able to attend College. I am lucky enough to be able to go to University at all. Let alone, a school of the caliber that I am at.

Should I be complaining? Probably not. There are thousands of people who would do anything for the opportunity that I am presented with.

So my “complaining” is really unjustified.

I do not want to complain about the school. About the opportunity. Rather, I want to make a complaint about myself.

I have fallen into a system. A system that lacks spontaneity.

Here in college, there are routines. You wake up — work — go to class — eat — workout — go to class — work — eat — work — sleep.

That is all.

But it does not have to be all that there is. There is so much more to do in this world.

I try making a purposeful effort to escape that trap. I know just how short life is. Make every day count.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 25, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Figuring out what you dont like

Figuring out what you dont like

Growing up, we always think about what we want to be.

It is quite a daunting task. I mean, there are so many things in this world to do!

So how do you go about finding that perfect career?

A couple of realizations I had:

  1. I no longer believe that there will ever be some static, perfect job for me (or for anyone really). I think of careers as a fluid process — something that is designed to change and evolve — and that putting myself in a position to become stagnant will just make me unhappy.
  2. I have realized more and more that the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up” is really misrepresentative of the challenge at hand. I think what is far more accurate is thinking about what you DON’T want to be when you get older.

I wish when I was younger we began exploring other things quickly. And learning about things that maybe we did not like.

The faster we do that — the faster we test our assumptions — the sooner we can begin spending time working on things we really like.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 24, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Constantly Pushing

Constantly Pushing

When I started daily writing some year or so ago, it was incredibly hard. It was purposefully hard.

I had never been a writer, let alone a “good” writer. Attempting this challenge of not only publishing public content, but also doing it DAILY! — that seemed impossible.

But I kept doing it. It was hard. I did not start writing because I thought it would be easy. I thought it would be impossible. Most people that I talked to did.

I find that I learn/grow the most when I accomplish something that I/others consider to be impossible.

“Do what you can’t.” I like that.

I have always learned a ton doing things that others say I could not.

But now I have come to a point where I seek some new challenges. And I want to find one that really grows on me. I am not sure what it looks like — but I am in this in between phase right now where I feel like I could be doing more.

More Jordan? You are so busy?

I do not mean more as in more time. I mean more as in more potential. There is more I could be doing for the world, for me, for others.

I think it is super important to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.

When things get super easy -> jump.

I think that is the real test. It is hard making it to “the top.” It is hard achieving your goals.

But I find it even harder, in fact, that much harder, to move to the next goal. Once you think you are ok, that is when you need to do something new.

I am not saying I am going to give up writing. But I am saying I want to make it harder. I want to do something different with it.

Routines and systems are healthy. But I find, at least personally, I learn the most when I do something foreign. Maybe that is a podcast? Maybe a video series? I’m not sure quite yet. It is probably still a blog.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 23, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.

Some people will never understand

Some people will never understand

Time and time again, you run into people in your life who you simply do not gel with.

These are the people who have fundamental disagreements with you about life. They have different priorities. They see things differently.

I see it all the time.

And when I do, I guess I have a choice to make. Well, I can make one of many choices.

I could disassociate myself from those people. And do my best to stay away from them.

I could argue with them all the time and try to convince them that my perspective on things is right.

I could try to listen to them more often. I think empathy is hugely important. Maybe better understanding them would make me more appreciative of things. Even moreso, I’d learn something new.

I am not sure there is a best way to approach things like this. I do not think there is a “solution.” I think that this is just life.

You run into people who don’t believe in you. People who disagree with you. People who try and hold you back.

It is up to you what your next move will be.

Originally published at Jordan Gonen.

By jordangonen on March 22, 2017.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.