All men fear death. It’s a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman the world fades away. You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before, you have conquered a great woman’s heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage. But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal.
You look at what we are great at. There are many things. But the one thing we do, which I think no one else does, is integrate hardware, software, and services in such a way that most consumers begin to not differentiate anymore. So how do we keep doing that and keep taking it to an even higher level? You have to be an A-plus at collaboration.
Source: Tim Cook’s Freshman Year
The second company is harder. Most people fail at their second companies because they believe they have the magic formula. They think ‘I will only fix the problems of the first company and the second company will run like it’s on autopilot.’ But the problem is that the environment is always different.
One of the takeaways from my second company is that there’s a clear distinction between what I would call air wars and ground wars. The air wars are talking to analysts going on speaking trips and so on. The ground wars are selling stuff to your customers and solving a real problem. Every company has to do both. The air wars help to build the brand. The ground wars help you win customers. Most failed startups mix those two up.They are selling air wars to their customers, they are selling big hype and big promises and customers are not interested. From a customer’s perspective, you always look at what’s the value? What do I get today and how does it help me run my business?
We have to be strong in the air wars, we have to do PR, we have to have to seek coverage, but at the end of the day it’s a good product, it’s good salespeople, it’s the features and so on that actually win.
The entire technology industry uses the word “user” to describe its customers. While it might be convenient, “users” is a rather passive and abstract word. No one wants to be thought of as a “user” (or “consumer” for that matter). I certainly don’t. And I wouldn’t consider my mom a “user” either, she’s my mom. The word “user” abstracts the actual individual. This may seem like a small and insignificant detail that doesn’t matter, but the vernacular and words we use here at Square set a very strong and subtle tone for everything we do. So let’s now part ways with our industry and rethink this.
The word “customer” is a much more active and bolder word. It’s honest and direct. It immediately suggests a relationship we must deliver on. And our customers think of their customers in the same way.
Lastly, what were the biggest surprises for you as you researched and wrote this?
I knew a lot of the Apple stuff because I’d followed it closely, and ditto with Google. Really what did surprise me was the number of times that Microsoft had winning solutions but through a combination of inertia and internal fighting managed to dissipate its chances. Things like owning a company which could do essentially what Google’s AdWords did; turning down the Overture purchase; trying to mimic the iPod with the Zune; and a lot of the mess around Windows Mobile, which in effect had to be taken out the back and shot, because it had become so unwieldy. In retrospect, the other surprising thing is how quickly a lead can vanish — look at RIM, which used to dominate smartphones (in the US) and is now on a dangerous slide. Technology moves fast; if you’re not thinking a couple of years ahead, you’re already behind.
“Making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs or illicit sex,” Baumeister says. “It’s the same willpower that you use to be polite or to wait your turn or to drag yourself out of bed or to hold off going to the bathroom. Your ability to make the right investment or hiring decision may be reduced simply because you expended some of your willpower earlier when you held your tongue in response to someone’s offensive remark or when you exerted yourself to get to the meeting on time.”
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
Image courtesy: Athena Currier