Something I am reminded about more and more is the simple notion of who I should care about. It sounds mundane, and that is because fundamentally deciding who to think about, spend time with, invest in, etc. is a universal task. Everyone does this.
But I do not think I have always done this with great care and purpose. I think, for the majority of my life, I have let my mind flow freely – switching between thoughts, people, places, etc. Is this bad? Is this the wrong way to live?
No. I do not think so. I think allowing my monkey mind to wander is valuable and natural. I think, though, that learning to harness – to train – to focus this wandering mind is an extremely valuable skill.
Back to “choosing who to care about,” I think this skill is particularly nuanced and valuable in assessing feedback you get from the outside world. This has numerous personal and professional implications.
The latter being most relevant to me today, as I seek to build products, etc. it is critically important to “know who to care about.” To know who to listen to. To know who to change my mind over and to know who to basically ignore.
I think this nuance, actually caring about this distinction, is not super common. In general, I think it is easy to take the first feedback you get – the one that is most convenient to receive.
We gravitate towards convenient and accessible feedback.
We ask our parents questions. We ask our close friends. We ask our easy to access customers.
But we know…internally..there must be better feedback out there.
Who to care about drives who to ask questions to and who to ask questions to dictates the types of responses we get.
And the irony, I think that I am learning, is that you can find any response you want out there in the world. You can find a customer to like your product. You can find a person to tell you that you are good looking or smart etc.
So why do we weight so much feedback the wrong ways? Does feedback even if matter if the person giving you the feedback is someone whose opinion should not really matter?
If you get 1000 users say your product is cool but not a single one pays…should you care?
Are they the wrong type of user or does your product suck?
I think I have “over-indexed” in people’s opinions – not to their faults, but to my own. I should think more about “who to care about” which I believe to be the second most existential question, only to “what to care about.”