ROSL90: What was I thinking when…

ROSL90 — Reflections on startup life, week 90

Good progress was made last week with the new connectors page finished and launched, as well as a new Quora connector (held up by some debugging, but almost ready to go) and another two connectors in the works that should launch this week. Feels great to keep pushing changes.

Things are really looking up, honestly there are so many options on the table, it’s all about staying in the game. It’s amazing just how much of a “lift” releasing code is and what it does to the mood. It reminds me that there is a lot of merit in just every now and then doing something that your passionate about as opposed to “have to get out” in order to keep the spirits up.

This morning we had a great discussion about strategy and what our next steps are after Alex met with some people over the weekend and came back with a range of input. Often these new ideas really challenge your existing sense of direction. While acknowledging that pivots are important, it’s also crucial to really question and understand WHY you want to change. The new shiny idea always looks brighter because it is new and shiny.

It’s why I think a basic plan, written down, is really important. I could call it a “business plan”, but I think that’s loaded and fairly negative in the startup context. What it is, is a “what was I thinking when” document. That way you can review and refresh in your mind WHY you decided on a course of action before you decide to chase a different approach. In reality, I don’t re-read it that often (I tend to be the type of person that the act of writing something down cements it into my memory enough), but it’s worth having there.

I touched on the opposite side of this a long time ago now when in Week 15 I spoke about how in order to keep your momentum up, you need to stop “second guessing yourself”. What did the “me” of four weeks ago know that convinced them this was the right decision, or alternatively, what did I learn in the last four weeks that invalidates that? Sometimes, the best approach is to stick it through. Changing direction all the time also incurs switching costs too (from Week 63).

So when you do have to change and the new shiny idea is better, it’s great to be able to refer to the “what was I thinking when” document that helps you know why this is now a better approach.