I’m currently in Florida visiting my parents, my grandmother and fleeing the freezing cold of Montreal so I was expecting to have a robust second edition of Advice From Grandma to share, but unfortunately that hasn’t quite worked out… A couple days ago we were planning to go for dinner with my grandmother, but she tripped and fell outside the restaurant and is now in the hospital awaiting surgery for a broken hip. Thus advice has mostly been limited to “don’t trip and fall” and “stay away from hospitals.” Both good points, but not directly relevant to my career path… In any case, just wanted to share one of the reasons I’ve been quiet here.
That said, hanging out in the hospital brought to mind a few apps/platforms that seem like they would be useful in the medical/patient care space. I’m by no means an expert in this arena and I know some of these things exist, are in development, etc. but clearly there could be more widespread adoption. So, three for now:
1. A simple way to store basic medical history and regular medications and then share this with the hospital. Like an electronic and more robust medic-alert bracelet.
2. SMS or e-mail updates for authorized family or friends on patient status, surgery schedule changes, room number, contact info, visiting hours, etc.
3. Simple audio-visual aids for doctor presentations to patients and family so they can more easily understand their condition and the plan of action. More informed consent, more ease of mind, better outcomes… Jiffpad is a cool new example of a product in this realm.
I’m sure more will come up, but that’s all for now. Time to get back to thinking about ideas I actually know something about and spending time with family!
- Advice from Grandma, Part 1 (thisisnotajob.com)
Just a song for this freezing day. It’s too cold to write much else… Stay warm!
No, this isn’t going to be a post saying you (or I) need to stop thinking about doing something and just fucking do it already. If that’s what you’re looking for, there are plenty of those out there and as usual Mark Suster’s is one of the best. No, I really just want to be able to stop thinking sometimes. Switch it off, go to sleep and dream pointless dreams. Instead, I’m left lying in bed each night awake with my thoughts of startup ideas, company names, landing pages, useful features, blog posts, job search ideas and eventually, though never before 3 am, non-sensible half dream, half awake plans and ideas.
Often this time late at night is when I have my best and most creative ideas that hopefully get added to the notes app in my phone, but it also leaves me stressed and tired every morning and I can’t help but think it’s not really the best way to work. So I started thinking about some possible solutions to make me more productive during the day and at night if need be…
1. Ambien. I know people who swear by it, but developing a dependency on drugs isn’t really my style. Also I don’t like swallowing pills. Don’t make fun of me.
2. Have a drink before bed. A partner at my law firm once advised us to do this if we couldn’t get work out of our heads when we got home. Of course if you got drunk or fell asleep and then he wrote you an email at 3 am and you didn’t respond right away he’d be angry, so he was a bit crazy. Nevertheless, while drinking is more my style…still doesn’t seem like a great plan.
3. Schedule some time during the day to disconnect and brainstorm. The real reason I think I end up doing so much thinking when I go to bed is that it’s generally the first time all day I’ve gotten away from email, twitter, phone calls, texts, blogs, podcasts, etc. This is less fun than drinking, but I think it’s what I need to do. So from now on I’m going to try to schedule some disconnected quiet brainstorming time each day: just me and a notepad or whiteboard. If you need me then and it’s not an absolute emergency, too bad. I promise I’ll have better ideas and clarity of mind for you when I reconnect if I stick to this.
4. JFDI. Ok, I know I said I wouldn’t but I guess I could also just take one of the ideas and just try to do it. Start a startup. And then I’d be up all night working anyway, so the problem would kind of be gone.
For now I’m going with number 3, but I won’t be surprised if it leads to number 4 since I expect to be more productive and have better plans and ideas as a result.
Some other semi-related thoughts… This blog is supposed to be about finding a job, so I’ll quickly say that I’ve had some interesting and productive conversations that may lead to something on that front. At the same time, the more I think, the more entrepreneurial I’m feeling. I wanted to get experience in startup first and still think that would be ideal and allow me to meet a lot of useful people while gaining skills and experience, but sometimes things aren’t perfect… I’m also planning to participate and possibly pitch for Montreal Startup Weekend the first weekend of February. Thinking about possibly pitching and trying to lead a team there is, as you might have expected, one of those things that I think about late at night. If you’re in Montreal, I hope you’ll sign up too, I’m excited to work with others to build something in such a short time!
So last night Kanye West went on an amazing and epic twitter rant where he unveiled his plans to launch a design firm called DONDA that would employ “architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts, app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionist, doctors, scientist,teachers…” across “over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford” and (among 400 other things), “help simplify and aesthetically improve everything we see hear, touch, taste and feel.” So basically Entertainment 720, but without Detlef Schrempf and Roy Hibbert since athletes are pretty much the only thing missing from the list of people he’s looking for.
“We’re taking everything 10 steps at a time LOL!”
You can say that again (LOL!)… Tons of people, over 22 divisions, seven screen experiences, redesigning the world, reforming education and, of course, designing the MTV Awards: it’s pretty safe to say ‘Ye isn’t envisioning a lean startup and that Steve Blank and Eric Ries may not be joining Donda anytime soon.
Thinking about this obese startup reminded me of a recent blog post by David Lee (unfairly…I should say I have huge respect for David, enjoyed his post and agree with much of what he’s seeing) on how it has become more important to perfect the “Fit and Finish” of your product right from the start, rather than pushing out more of a beta product and field-testing publicly. It’s worth reading the post and comments to get a full picture of David’s thoughts, but suffice it to say that what he’s espousing runs somewhat counter to (though is not necessarily incompatible with when you think carefully) the basic understanding of minimum viable product that has become the startup dogma du jour. In any case, David’s post and ‘Ye’s insanity got me thinking that it might be fun to look at what the tenets of a Kanye Viable Product methodology might be.
The Kanye Viable Product (KVP) Principles
- If the product doesn’t make you think of Michael Jackson, Alexander McQueen and Steve Jobs and exclaim “that shit cray” it’s time to pivot or iterate. Don’t waste any more time pursuing products that don’t rise to this standard.
- Customers need to be told what they want, this is “semi sic-fi [sic]” level shit. Remember when Taylor Swift won that award instead of Beyoncé? That’s what Donda thinks about field-testing.
- When in doubt, more is better. More people, more divisions, more screens, more snakeskin, more diamonds, more fur, more times playing the same song at the end of your concert… Oh, but also simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, so reconcile that and you’ve got a KVP.
- Hire the best, make it beautiful, make it perfect.
Ok, so clearly I’m joking around with this a bit and the vision of a bloated 22+ division firm is pretty cray, but doesn’t some of this/the last one sound like the so-called Steve Jobs method? And is that method actually incompatible with the lean methodology? If Kanye’s serious and he brings together some talented people to create innovative and beautiful products, I say good luck and I look forward to seeing what comes of it. And since I think I qualify as at least one of those types of people he’s recruiting, consider this my job application? Please feel free to forward this post to Mr. West (and some really busy email reading interns) at contactDONDA@gmail.com.
- Kanye West: KANYE WILL BE THE NEXT STEVE JOBS!!! (cultofmac.com)
- Kanye: I will pick up where Steve Jobs left off (news.cnet.com)
- Kanye West Launches Design Company: DONDA (kineda.com)