On better work

4 min read

What are the most important problems in your field,

and why aren’t you working on them?

Richard Hamming

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Goldilocks zone, The right level of challenge

Eliminate + Automate + Delegate + Procrastinate + Concentrate

what to work on?

Play a game where the odds are in your favour

What is like fun to me but work to others

What makes me lose track of time

What comes naturally to me

What matters is how people perceive your work. How good do they think your work is?

In writing or didn’t happen

not in an email -> “never happened” when it’s convenient.

verbally agreed -> send a confirmation email

The written record assures there is a clear and agreed understanding of when the project is a success and how it aims to get there.

lack of momentum -> burnout

Founders and employees that are burn out nearly always work at startups without momentum. It’s hard to overstate how demoralizing it is.

Can I work until 40 and then quit to enjoy??

You might start on US$130k, but at 40 you could be on $2m. You’re going to walk away from that?

It won’t happen.

Money is an addiction that grabs your soul tight, and it doesn’t let go.

You never have enough.

“If all you have to sell is your time, you’ll never get ahead. Figure out a way to make money even when you’re sleeping if you want to be successful.”

How to pitch

  1. enemy
  2. why now
  3. promised land
  4. obstacles/ how to get over
  5. present evidence

“Start with a sketch, but make it quick. There’s real work to be done.” – Stefan Hartwig

20% of customers 80% of revenue

“Do things that don’t scale” has rightfully become a mantra for startups. You usually need to recruit initial users one at a time

How to spread trust

What the game is, defines what the players do.

more interactions >5

more reward for cooperation

less gain from cheating

low miscommunication, be a little forgiving

create win-win

Build relationships. Find win-wins. Communicate clearly.

to live and let live.


Understand the market.

Understand your options.

Understand their options.

Decide on your absolute walk-away outcome.

Decide on your ideal outcome.

Negotiate with absolute integrity.


During YC, we tell founders they should be building product and talking to users, and not much else besides eating, sleeping, exercising, and spending time with their loved ones.

“Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse”

“Know what people are asking you to be an expert in”

“People like us make our money in the seams of things”

100:10:1 to evaluating and rescuing software systems.

“To go left, turn right”

“Thinking is also work”

The art of maximizing the amount of work not done

Invest in improving structure

It’s more important to finish and deploy a leapfrog than to attempt perfection.

the art of economics = think long term for all groups

Design is a reflection of business even if it is not intentional. If you don’t care about your design then your design is telling people that you don’t care about your business.– Marco Suarez

under promise over deliver

Eliminate + Automate + Delegate + Procrastinate + Concentrate

hiring? paid weekend assignment + onsite discussion

don’t be a snob

“People don’t buy products because of what those products do, they buy products because of what they imagine they can do   with them.”

Managers are often risk averse. This is because in most companies, creating a large gain for the company will lead to modest rewards…while creating an equal-sized loss will get you fired.

Work has no inherent value: what matters is the results.

Do not take loans.

Internal transparency around metrics and financials


lack of momentum -> burnout


Sales really, really matters

Sales experience is golden

“The sales department isn’t the whole company, but the whole company better be the sales department.” Philip Kotler

build trust

identify pain

sell results

Do not take loans.

Use yourself as a litmus test – would you like getting this email? If not, there’s a good chance your buyer won’t either.

In general, always pick common sense as your guide.

weekly meeetings

name, goal, hit, comments

monday 5 min -> Friday 5 min

If you have skills, commitment and passion, careers tend to take care of themselves.

“I don’t know, but would love to learn more…”


Talk internally about strategy all the time, tell everyone what you’re hearing from customers, etc. The more information you share internally—good and bad—the better you’ll be.

Internal transparency around metrics and financials

No one cares about you. So you should quit focussing on impressing other people.


hire smart and kind people with potential

Agree with crystal clarity on the deliverables

Empower your employees

And get out of their way.

have soft deadlines

The quality of the product is more important than the time it takes to achieve it.

Don’t give the customer what they ask for; understand them, and revolutionize their world.

If you have skills, commitment and passion, careers tend to take care of themselves.

## trust in yourself and show a genuine confidence

politely assert yourself

ask, clarify

be systematic

due diligence

rise above the situation

be positive

talk smiling, loud, clear, thoughtful

think before you speak

keep your cool

don’t fill the gaps with your imagination, ask specific questions instead


if you want respect you should signal that you deserve it

Be proud of yourself, what you do, your past, where you work.

Don’t apologize for your situation in life

You are what you are

Handle yourself with pride and respect

Say only what you mean

Believe things that you say

İf you don’t mean or don’t believe, don’t say it

Show enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious

Don’t be over anxious, most things are not worth to be anxious, relax

Don’t knock

Tell something good or say nothing

Be shrewd be smooth

## People are busy and something being obvious to you doesn’t mean it’s obvious to them

December 3, 2019