April 8, 2009

Don’t waiver

Steve Wozniak is an engineer who sits in the middle of the personal computer story.

The way I heard it, Wozniak was the last person who created a whole computer – pulled the hardware together, wrote the software, built the Apple.

I was reminded of Woz today by this post from Guy Kawasaki, who also spent time at Apple. Wozniak is an engineer but the parting thoughts are good for anyone starting or building a business. Now I realise I’m quoting a quote but, according to Kawasaki:

“The book ends with Woz’s thoughts on being a great engineer:

  • Don’t waiver
  • See things in gray-scale
  • Work alone
  • Trust your instincts”

Starting and building a business is a test of will. The problem has never been a lack of ideas. Any organisation that’s been around for more than five minutes is presented with more opportunities than it will ever have the resources to chase down. The difficulty is in choosing what not to do, which rocks to put down, when to say no.

The antidote to too many opportunities is to know what you’re up to:

  • Get it clear and firm in your head; then don’t waiver.
  • Understand the truth at the heart of the thing, what’s really going on; see things in gray-scale.
  • On your way to market, only work with people who care as much about the success of your thing as you do; work alone with that team, there’s plenty of time for interested parties after you’ve nailed it.
  • By definition, you’re doing something that no-one has done before. No-one knows whether to zig or zag, it’s your decision; trust your instincts.
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