The Insightful Optimist - Nº1
Welcome to The Insightful Optimist, a bi-weekly newsletter that will cover insights on running a startup, health and a few ramblings about basketball, all through my optimistic lens (there’s enough negativity out there already) ❤️
Some of you will know me already, some of you won’t. This is my first ever newsletter and this is where I will be unapologetically me. Some of you will love it, some of you will hate it, and I guess that’s the point, but at the end of the day I am doing this as much for myself as for you guys.
Firstly, I don’t write much. Unless it’s a social media post, an email or a Slack message to my team, that’s pretty much where my writing ends. And I feel like writing is a creative outlet I am yet to explore. I’ve done audio, I’ve done video, and while I do enjoy doing content in that format, there’s something about sitting down alone, with a glass of red wine while listening to hip-hop jazz and putting down your thoughts. Just like this.
Second, I tend to read books and articles, listen to podcasts, speak with brilliant minds and I tend to forget some of the valuable nuggets within them. So doing a newsletter gives me a chance to write those down more often, use that information by sharing with you and hopefully that will not leave my brain so easily.
And finally, I think it’s truly valuable sharing insights and learnings from what I go through when running a startup and discovering ways to hack my physical and mental health. I know this was definitely something I was looking for when I first started, and am looking for to this day, just on a different level.
My newsletter will be split into 3 parts:
- Startups - sharing findings from my personal experience as a startup founder as well as insights from the content I consume, whether it’s books, podcasts, people, you name it.
- Health - similar to above, but for health. Latest experiments, studies, personal experiences and findings.
- Basketball - the absolute passion of mine. I use basketball for analogies all the time as this particular sport and culture has shaped me and my mindset to make who I am today. I will be sharing different aspects and fascinations about the sport and what stood to me the most in the past few weeks.
Let’s get to it.
2020 has changed a lot for a lot of people and businesses. One of those changes is, of course, how we actually do work.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, it is expected that
25-30% of the workforce will stay working remotely by the end of 2021 and beyond.
And there’s a lot of reasons why: less time spent commuting, reduced carbon footprint, reduced costs on maintaining office spaces…the list goes on.
But does remote work for startups? Especially early-stage ones? I know there are people that swear by the fact that it does, but as a founder myself, I would have to disagree.
I don’t think remote work suits an early-stage startup.
I’ll use Ken Kesey’s famous saying as an explanation why: you’re either on the bus or off the bus.
What I mean by that is that it’s already ridicoulously hard to successfully go from an early-stage startup to an established one and then a scale-up. Doing all of that remotely makes it 10x times harder and at this stage, everything that improves your chances to succeed by at least 1% is crucial.
I believe that the whole team has to almost have this “Group Consciousness” at the early stages. Whatever your background, differences or preferences, every individual should become part of a group, an attuned group. And the best chance to achieve that is through a full-time, in-house team who have some sort of a stake in the company and the company’s vision. Part-time employees don’t work. Consultants don’t work. Freelancers don’t work. You’re either on the bus or off the bus.
And unfortunately, based on my own and many other’s 2020 experience, for this specific goal of achieving “Group Consciousness” and for this particular stage of your company, remote doesn’t work too.
As Peter Thiel says:
No company has a culture; every company is a culture.
No wonder at PayPal, the main team was famously called the ‘PayPal Mafia’.
Having the whole team in-house brings a sense of oneness. It’s easier to share ideas, stories, emotions. These moments when you start a new business are rare, and special. So going through the good and bad times at the start builds unmatched chemistry, relationships and friendships that in a lot of cases, become lifetime friendships.
In our case at Orfi Active, most of the development team is remote, and our marketing and sales is in-house. The difference in relationship strength and chemistry is like day and night. Hence we, as a team, have not yet achieved “Group Consciousness”. But hey, we’re getting there and still learning!
Remember the very recent hype with PS5 and Xbox One X launching? I was part of the crowd who really badly wanted a PS5, I was excited to get to play the new generation 2K21 game and a few others. So what happened?
Not only did I not buy a PS5, I sold my Xbox One and we also sold our only TV in the house and we’ve replaced it with a fireplace.
The view instead of the TV at our living room
Why in the world would we do that you ask? The person who bought the TV off us asked the same question.
She was a nice lady who came with her son to have a look at the TV before committing to buy because when I told her that the reason we’re selling the TV is purely because we don’t want to have one in the house anymore, that was something that simply wouldn’t register in her mind. And one thing she said really stuck with me: “…you have a baby, how will he watch all the cartoons?!”
Somehow, having a TV at home became an absolute necessity in our lives. I and my wife looked at our living room and noticed that every piece of furniture was facing the TV. We would sit down on a sofa or a chair and would almost be forced to look at the screen. For no reason, apart from a forced habit from way back when. And now when I visit other homes, I notice the same exact layout.
By doing this we simply reduce the amount of space we leave for what I personally feel is crucial: conversations, looking someone directly in the eyes for a long time and not feeling awkward, being able to sit still with your own thoughts…you get where I’m going with this. We need space for our minds. Yet, we always seek distractions. We walk down the street with headphones listening to someone else talk, we go into an office with radio and advertising on, we constantly watch YouTube clips, get notifications for likes and comments and then when we come home we immediately turn on the TV.
Getting rid of it was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently as the ‘TV time’ is now being replaced with reading books, writing this newsletter, planning and dreaming about the future, self-development, spending quality time with the baby and wife. It’s super exciting and entoxicating. Highly recommend it. If not getting rid of, at least making it more difficult to turn it on (idea: have the power cable unplugged and placed far away from the TV)
So last weekend Stephen Curry scored 62 points. While this is impressive, it’s not that uncommon in today’s NBA for superstars to score over 60 points.
So why am I mentioning it here? The backstory.
You see, this was the second meeting between Blazers and Warriors. It was hyped up because of the matchup between two very similar superstars: Curry vs Lillard.
In the first meeting, Curry had a bad game and the Warriors lost. Lillard was the high-scorer of the game. It was Warriors’ home opener for the season.
After the game, the media, fans and all of the Twitter-fingers started talking about how Curry is overrated, how he shouldn’t have won 2 MVP’s, how he was only able to win titles because of Kevin Durant or injuries to other teams.
A career-high 62 points to destroy the Blazers in the second game.
Stephen Curry is one of the nicest and kindest players in the NBA. But there’s a reason he’s called the ‘Baby-faced assassin’. His competitiveness and ability to back it up with actions, not words, is inspiring.
He doesn’t boast about his achievements or how superbly great he is like some other superstars (*ghem*Bron*ghem*).
He was always the littlest guy on teams growing up. He was drafted no.7 and critics said that’s way too high. He was underpaid most of his career due to ankle injuries. And yet, he’s the greatest shooter of all time, he completely changed the game and will be a guaranteed Hall of Famer.
My point here is this: don’t talk about how great you are, show it. Work at your craft to a point where nobody can question you. The dude recently made 105 straight threes in practice. That doesn’t happen overnight.
If you have the right work ethic and put in enough reps, the rest will come. It’s simply inevitable, that’s just how the world works.
So, why did I get rid of my TV, Xbox and didn’t buy a PS5? I am focusing on getting the reps in.