Go big

I’ve already written about how I was a little too focused on publishing during grad school. However, as I focused on publishing, I learned an important lesson about going big.

At the start of grad school, I viewed myself as a newbie. So, I set small goals, and then gradually made them bigger and bigger. My first goal was to get a workshop paper published. The next was to publish a small conference paper. And then, a top-tier conference paper.

One of my biggest realizations were that each paper was a lot of work. The top-tier paper didn’t require much more work than the workshop paper. The main difference was the size of the idea that I was working on. Given X hours to work, I realized I was much better off working on something that could be a top-tier paper.

This extends to much of what we work on in life.

Are you trying to get by? Are you simply working to finish the job? Are you trying to complete small goals? Or are do you see something big in your work? Do you see how you’ll gain leverage, and move towards even greater things?

We all only have 24 hours in a day. We all work hard. Yes, luck and talent are important. But in my opinion, at any particular level of luck+talent+skill, the main differentiating factor is simply how big one thinks.

Since quitting my job, I have apparently forgotten this lesson. That is, until last week.

For the past few months, I’ve been working on Soulmix, which was a social news sharing site on the topic of good living. It was interesting, and there was a steady number of repeat visitors to the site. It seemed like there was some promise, and I was happy about it.

Last week, while I was writing about simplicity and unboundedness in consumer web products, I had an epiphany. The ideas in the blog posts directly applied to my work! I realized that the site I was building could actually be something bigger. There was a larger vision, if only I would let myself see it, and then let myself work towards it. So, I’m shifting things around, and working hard on changing Soulmix to allow it to become something bigger.

It is one thing to write about life and startups. It is another to be taking my own advice at the same time. Fortunately, I am, and I’m super excited to see where things go 🙂

(Photo credit: wave-finder.com)

P.S. This is post number #42 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter: @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

2 thoughts on “Go big

    • Hey Jesse! Good to hear from you.

      The epiphany was realizing that (1) those two blog posts on consumer web are true, and (2) I should be taking my own advice.

      On the web, it turns out to be really powerful when you create a set of simple mechanisms/concepts that can be used in an unbounded way. For example, blogging is simply a stream of posts, but people can use it in an unbounded way to express themselves.

      I realized that with Soulmix, I was actually building mechanisms for curation and that constraining it to one specific niche is a bad idea. I’m going to focus more on curation, and open it up for curating any topic, as well as style of content (images, URLs, videos).

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