Schiit Happened by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat (Part 2)

Isn’t the Symbol for USB the long flat rectangle? We transited from a headphone amp to a DAC/amp company. We are like both a hardware and software company. The problem with hardware are manufacturing while software is about service. A restaurant has both of these problems. When you talk hardware, you are talking stock. You will need capital upfront and also the added costs of personnel, facility, testing, shipping etc. For software, it’s about the salaries for programming staff, admin costs etc. However, distribution is easy. However, you must make sure your software can work with the existing OS. It is an ongoing business, where you need to keep upgrading. There are too many things that can go wrong with a restaurant. With Bifrost, we are a software company. We wanted 24/192, which needed Windows support as driver installation was a must. Firmware is not expected to change much. Software usually requires constant upgrading. Try not to allow pre-orders as if you can’t deliver on time, Schiit happens. The Bitfrost shipped out late. It was a nightmare as we ran into problems, one after another.

Although I’m a foodie, I have exactly zero desire to ever open a restaurant. Why? Because restaurants combine the problems of manufacturing with the problems of service with an extra problem of the stock actually goes bad. No thanks. – Jason Stoddard

Technical Help via Time Warner, and the World’s Most Irritating Failure Mode. Tony was our second employee and our first technician. It was late 2011. We have 4 products, Asgard, Valhalla, Lyr, Bifrost. Mike recommended Tony. He was laid off. He was a fast learner. The problem with employees are that they only do things by the book, have a stunning lack of initiative, prima donna-it is. It would be better to ask why and how they did something, rather than what. Tony was a great employee. However, one day, he pointed out that the Lyr was popping. The problem only happened with the back chassis on. We used brute force to fix the problem. However, that was the only batch of equipment with that issue. We might never know what the problem is.

Because people can’t be distilled down to a 2 page resume and a 1 hour interview. There are a ton of candidates skilled in the art of looking good on paper. There are plenty who can be friendly, intelligent, and make all the right noises in response to the standard interview questions. – Jason Stoddard

Selecting people with potential and ambition beats experience every day. – Jason Stoddard

DAC in a Toilet Paper Roll. One day, Mike showed me a USB card, which had RCA jacks on it. It was a USB DAC. Although Mike wasn’t fond of USB, this was an excellent device. We could get the chassis cheap and sell it for USD 99. This is for people who really want portability. It would be simply plug and play. Modi and Magni showed up in Dec 2012. Developing simple products take a lot of time. Modi needed a new chassis design and had to be simple as possible. It required huge production time too. Most companies would have just iterated on existing products to milk the cash out of them. We’re not like that. We set a price target on the chassis. Assembly would be simple at all costs. In the end, we only used 7 screws instead of 16. Modi was built in a steel case. We chose to save our own money rather than borrow money to grow. It might not be the best, but that’s the direction we took. We decided on a Schiit stack, a little DAC that was less than $99 or less too.

Assembly time is a function of chassis design. The simpler the chassis, the lower the assembly time. – Jason Stoddard

Growth, Garage Style. We mostly worked from our garage too. I was a conservative businessman and did not take funding. People thought we were stupid. My plan was to grow organically. By being picky and conservative, we avoided the web bust and managed to thrive. Even in 2011, I didn’t lease office space. Understand what a lease means. Note the lack of any outs. Subleasing sucks as any issue with the property is your fault. You’ll have surprises, and they won’t be good. There’s less space than you think. If you don’t pay, the landlord will chase you to no ends. We ran out of stock very quickly, and that was good. We didn’t need a lot of space. Mike were planning Mjolnir and the Gungnir. These were balanced amp and DACs, higher end things. It was the start of 2012 now.

The lease doesn’t give two craps if your business is in the toilet, if your cash flow sucks, if your sales forecast was wrong, or if you’re late on your mortgage as well. Pay us. Every month. Until the end. – Jason Stoddard

Leasing a space is very much one of those invisible lines in business. Once you do it, you won’t go back. Nor will you back out. So you’d better be damn ready to do it. – Jason Stoddard

Resurrecting the Circlotron and Other Mid-Centuryisms. This chapter is highly technical. Designing a balanced amp was ambitious. Some people argue for single-ended while some prefer balanced. There are pros and cons to both, just like everything in life. Whys, wherefores and design goals. Every car has its disadvantages too, there is no perfect solution. There are trade-offs. Single ended has lower noise and easier to connect. However, high rail voltages are required for high power and balanced input is problematic. Balanced has 4 times the power for the same rail voltages. No us, balanced offers better sonic performance. First law of audio: you can never have too much power. Second law of audio: see the first law. More power usually means higher noise, greater need for protection and paralleled output devices. I have a soft spot for circlotron designs for amps. There were none in the market at the moment. Our company is contrarian and I liked it. Some of the designs include JLH, Lin/ Blameless, CFA/ Current Feedback, Supersymmetry, CSPP / Circlotron, Chip / Integrated. Circlotron uses only P channel, however, it requires a complex power supply. We focused on the high-voltage VFT front end and the MOSFET output. Class A amplifiers run on the time and never turn off. They are hot and big and heavy, and no more than 25% efficient. Class B isn’t used for audio, the output transistors turn off as soon as they cross zero, because they are completely unbiased. Class AB, with bias on the output transistors so they run Class A sometimes. This is the most popular audio output stage and more efficient, with good performance. Class D are switching or PWM amps. Class H are class AB with voltage rail switching. Mike challenged me to include single ended option in the amp too.

Today, orthodynamics are actually becoming more efficient, so the need for extreme power is abating. The headphone amp power war, which never really existed, will probably seem silly in a few years time. – Jason Stoddard

The Pinch-Off Problem. We were developing the Gungnir analog stage. We ran into problems of our prototype boards. We had a pinch-off problem. We chased down the source of the distortion. Swapping parts didn’t help. Analog isn’t the real story. It is important to segregate the analog and digital sections carefully. We needed to look at clock regeneration too. We use one stereo DAC per channel, giving balanced hardware. However, the components cost twice. Digital music has to be stored. There are different formats of music. Lossless audio preserves the original bits. These use the PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) format. DSD encodes using a pulse width modulated datastream (PWM). The DAC wants to see the bit clock, word clock and data. That means 3 or 4 BNC cables. However, nowadays, we only use 1 cable because the clocks are buried in the data. This is SPDIF. Optical is a flavor of SPDIF. However, it has its limitations and can sometimes can only accommodate up to 24/192. Coaxial is another flavor of SPDIF, however, it usually performs better than co-axial. USB is not a SPDIF, but a packet-based system. Bandwidth is no issue with USB 2.0 and up. There is a reception to process the signals. Some manufacturers choose to upsample everything to a specific data rate, this eliminates clock management. However, asynchronous sample rate conversion (ASRC) is not bitperfect. For a bitperfect DAC, clock management is needed. For digital filters, bit-perfect transfer dies. 99.9% of DACs use delta-sigma technology. It can support up to 24 bit or even 32 bit. However, it is not bit perfect either. Some DACs are analog also. Philosophy is the most important (why you do something). Without knowing your why, your company is rudderless. Therefore, there is a need to ask the why and there is a need to be very specific over your answer too. At Schiit, we want to make fun, affordable products that are as true to the musical source as possible. For delta-sigma, the best you can do is to reduce the jitter.

Every Road is a Dead End, Early Adventures with Magni. There is value in starting all over. There is a need to always be adaptable when coming up with new products. We wanted the amp to versatile for almost any headphone. We wanted an aggressive price point too. We planned a simple topology and a switching wall wart. We didn’t want Class A as there was too much heat for the chassis. The noisy power supply was killing my ideas. The Lin amp would work well with an AC supply. I turned to Alibaba for supplies. The AC wall warts were cheap enough. I played with many PC boards and found that they worked.

The HOA Problem. We were working on Magni, Modi, Gungir and Mjolnir. We were growing bigger now. HOA means Homeowners Association. The HOA prohibited operating a business out of your home. They would start complaining. We cracked 7 figures in sales. When you have your own business, you can’t say ‘That’s not my problem’. You have to deal with every problem. Everything becomes your problem when you start a business. It’s a ton of work, but it can be satisfying. We need to look to rent a space. I tried a space, however it was not meant for manufacturing due to zoning rights. Valencia, California is master-planned. It was zoned as a commercial space, not industrial. We are now in Valencia Industrial Center. However, I managed to convince the guy to let us look at his space.

We started this with $10k. 18 months later, we’re into 7 figures annually. In a garage. This isn’t interested to be bragging. This is intended to be inspiration for you. Starting your own business is absolutely doable – without taking loans, leasing tons of space etc. – Jason Stoddard

But don’t start a business because you think it’s going to be easy. Or because you think you’ll have more freedom. Because, if it’s your business, it’ll always be your problem. Until you decide to sell it and get out. And when you’re small, everything is your problem. – Jason Stoddard

You Catch a Cold, We Die: Bigger Products, Bigger Problems. It was the second quarter of 2012 now. Our supplier screwed up and couldn’t make the Gungnir and Mjolnir chassis. We had to learn to number the parts. We had to give specific revisions for the metal parts maker to edit our stuff. It is important to set up a parts numbering system that covers at least every custom part. You will also have to document your changes and revisions made. The chassis was too deep and they couldn’t bend it. Eventually, we settled on a three-piece chassis. Instead of pre-orders, we wanted to do an interest list instead. The metal was crap and the supplier disappointed us. They did a rush job but the quality was not good. The Mjolnir launch was delayed because of the metal supplier. Even with a big bugger between announcement and scheduled ship date, things still screwed up. We were not planning to do pre-announcements anymore.

When your vendors catch a cold, you get sick. When they have a problem, it’s your problem. Your customers don’t care about excuses or The Reality of Making Things Today. They want their stuff. When it was promised. Period. – Jason Stoddard

Introducing the Schiithole. We took a bit of risk in the commercial space. We got the space. In Feb 2012, we moved into the office. There are many hidden expenses in running a business which can bite you. DIY might be cheaper, but it is definitely different from production. When you run a business, there are expenses like liability insurance, facility lease, upkeep, equipment cost, bookkeeping, tax, sales or VAT. We needed to spend on renovating the new space. We were afraid that the city inspector might come. The place was incredibly dusty and messy. The place we leased was a Schiithole. Once you spend a lot on rental, it will kill you. You should only spend on the things you need. You need a functional space, effective places to work, equipment for your work, right connectivity for your business. Don’t buy high-end office chairs. Learn to pick the tolerable and cheapest chair. You must control your spending, or you won’t last long in business. Start-ups shouldn’t have private offices. I was burning out from doing 14 hour days. We needed to hire again.

The moment you build a palace is the moment you die. Now, it may take many years for that palace to kill you. You may end up with some very good years there. But the moment you start focusing on business wants, rather than needs, you’re dead. – Jason Stoddard

And that’s why we ended up with a space that was really nothing more than a large production floor, with no offices, in an ugly, run-down building. Because it had what we needed. And nothing we didn’t. And it was cheap. – Jason Stoddard

And I was quickly burning out from the long days. You can do 14-hour days for a while, but they’ll eventually kill you. – Jason Stoddard

‘I didn’t know people in the private sector were as lazy as incompetent as the people in schools’. We wanted to hire our first manager. Some level of management is necessary. You can’t do everything and you shouldn’t do everything. You can’t outsource everything enough. You still need to oversee some aspects to ensure things are going well. Hiring a manager will incur overheads. Why do companies have too much management? It is because of the 20/80 rule, where only 2 people are doing the work and the remaining 8 are hiding. Some people also think it ‘ain’t my job’. There is also a problem of title inflation. We needed to hire an operations manager. Rina’s own business was taking off and she had less time to focus on Schiit. Rina suggested Alex, Jen’s husband. I decided to give him a shot. He seemed smart enough. However, he worked in a school and I thought these people were lazy. Alex worked hard and suggested improvements and didn’t complain at all. He was the perfect candidate. Alex was an example of good management.

Management layers in a business is a necessary evil. Extra layers should be avoided at all cost. Like nuclear waste, you don’t want to get too much management on you. – Jason Stoddard

And that really is the challenge, more and more: not letting your company fall to the 20/80 rule, where a handful of good people do most of the work. Not letting the bozos on the bus. – Jason Stoddard

You can’t tread water. You can’t stand still. You have to sacrifice your babies. You need to look straight-on at cannibalizing your own products. You always have to be asking, “What can we do better, less expensively?” Even if it lays waste to your entire lineup. Because, you know what? If you don’t do it, someone else will. – Jason Stoddard

Getting Our Schiit Together. It was the summer of 2012. We now try to predict demand and buy ahead to meet it. The landlord wanted to spruce up the place. He suggested that I get the whole building. It was a reasonable and cheap price. I used to haggle in the past, but it has its disadvantages. To know whether someone is charging you fairly, you must know the general price of the product you’re looking for. You should do your research if you don’t know the general price. You should be aware of what is too good to be true. You have to be upfront too. I said yes to renting the whole building. The renovator hired by the landlord did a shit job. Finally, the space was ready and we were acting like a real company. Our space looked decent. Alex improved the business in the some aspects: 1) planning and scheduling; 2) facilities layout and production flow; 3) Shipping logistics and relationships; 4) General operations and vendor communication; 5) employee management, specifically hiring and training. However, on the planning front, we ran into some difficulties.

Dead Media Ain’t Dead: NYT Strikes. Learn to push the limits, common wisdom and experience. The Internet was a big push for Centric. We ignored much of the conventional press when we were at Schiit. We got money to do Adwords. Social media seemed like the leading edge of marketing. For an entertainment company, social marketing is definitely a must. However, if you are not, social marketing is dumb, with little returns. To capture your customers, you need a memorable brand and fast responses to queries. Invest in AdWords and constantly improve your product and not spend too much time on social media. If you are B2B, you need to focus even less on social media. You rather spend your money on advertising and PR. If you want social media, ask yourself, who’s going to create the content? Who’s going to respond to comments? Who’s going to decide what’s okay to say? Who’s going to measure and manage it all? Most of the content are posted by bots nowadays. It is more about crowd-sourced advertising. Paid advertising in big-name venues is here to stay. I said yes to the NYTimes, who wanted to review my product. After the article on NYT, customers posted a lot of newbie questions to us .It hit the print. Because of it, our Bifrost sold out and was on back-order. We had a huge backorder because of this news article. Old media isn’t dead, by any means. The mass media can be really powerful. The Magnis and Modis are targeted at first time audiophiles. One audio magazine gave a glowing review, but it didn’t bring much sales. Always stay open to traditional marketing.

Nobody is perfect. No matter how many degrees they have, no matter how high they scored on their IQ tests, no matter how many years of experience, no matter how many companies they’re launched. Period –  Jason Stoddard

And, while I’m absolutely for introducing everyone to great sound, we’re going to meet plenty of people who don’t care. And we have to be careful not to be tiresome proselytizers. – Jason Stoddard

Well, call me biased, call me old-fashioned, but I believe it will be done in only one way: with quality products made at a price that’s fair for its performance, construction, and looks. – Jason Stoddard

9781514355022-us

Schiit Happened by Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat (Part 1)

Foreword – Christmas Presents Until the End of Time? We were wondering whether our products could sell. Schiit Audio is about following gut feelings and not following the herd. Firstly, the name of the company was impressive. They did a direct sales model with no outside funding. Everything is manufactured in the US. Jason is the co-founder of Schiit and Mike is the business partner. Mike has experience in entrepreneurship and in audio. I am a science fiction author and a veteran of the marketing wars at centric.com. The key to our success is that we picked the right niche. You don’t have to make everyone love you, you just need to make some people love you. Go direct in your distribution. If you want venture funding, this book ain’t for you. However, your one big idea might not get any funding and fail in the end. This book is for those without any venture funding.

Bottom line, there are plenty of billion-dollar ideas out there. Making one into a real company that succeeds isn’t just a lot of work. It’s about money, luck, connections, money, luck, money, and luck. And more luck. – Jason Stoddard

The Line is Down. Here’s an Undocumented Test Rig. Fix It. It was first day of work at Sumo in 1989. There were many resistors, capacitors on the workbench. I was asked to fix it. The MOSFET matcher was down and it was affecting production. There was no schematics also. Everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to complete it. I wanted to be in audio and I had a speaker company on the side. Business Lesson 1: Say you can do it. Then deliver – at all costs. I managed to fix is as the connection was faulty. In 2 years, I was promoted to be chief engineer in designing amplifiers. Once, their products was faulty as it might catch fire, I ordered them not to ship them as it would have safety implications. However, customers kept sending them back to us to service. Thus, this took up a lot of our time. Business lesson 2: Don’t ship stuff that blows up. Ever. Never sell anything you haven’t made yet. Don’t lose customer returns, or use them to fix other customer returns. Don’t try to go too broad. Business lesson 3: Don’t dwell on the negatives – learn from them. I believe in subjective-objectivism in audio. This means that measurements are important to some extent. Amps with similar specifications might not sound all the same. Business lesson 4: Don’t discount personal experience. Mike was working in Theta and their profit was at least 8 times of Sumo. Business lesson 5: Be open to meeting new people, and transformative ideas. I started moonlighting for Theta. We wanted to create an inexpensive DAC. We made the Cobalt 307, a combination of our expertise. It sold like hot cakes. Selling direct wasn’t feasible in 1993. Theta Gen 5 was the first discrete output DAC that was made by them. Business lesson 6: Take a chance, do crazy things… a lot of times it’s worth it. The magazines at that time only liked to feature expensive DACs and amps. Mike eventually went to start Angstrom, a company into Surround Sound.

Fifteen Years on the Marketing Front Lines. What has marketing got to do with engineering? I wanted to make audio stuff all along, but somehow I returned to marketing. I founded, Centric, which does marketing for tech companies. We certainly can’t afford those SuperBowl advertisements. Tech companies do not have huge marketing budgets. Advertising agencies primarily develop and place advertising. Interactive agencies can do the above but also some web and mobile development. There are also social and design agencies, PR agencies, marketing agencies. Why is marketing necessary, you may ask? I started Centric when I was 28. It was fun as Centric rode the dot com boom in the early 2000s and went into web development work too. The fact is that most companies are too terrified to be effective at marketing. Don’t be scared to stand out from your competitors. If you keep second guessing what your competitors do, you might think that you are not able to come up with anything better and do nothing instead. Don’t benchmark yourself into mediocrity. Most companies have no idea what to do in marketing. Marketing should make money and the effort should be focused on the most effective and measurable tactics. Fear is the mind-killer. Kill the fear before it spreads. It is not necessary to have the products with the best specifications. Marketing is important, but don’t do it blindly. Focus on the stuff that works only. Don’t simply believe everything an agency tells you. Forget about chasing new/ easy/ cheap. Your best bet is to stay online, measure, refine and do better. Microsocial almost always works, unless you’re a dick. Find the small passionate community that you are interested in. Measure everything you do. Your website and e-commerce system are the most important thing. Get featured on the press, online and offline. Online ads are tricky, but find those that you can track all the way to your sale. I am a published science fiction writer now after my wife pushed me to write books.

Pay lots of attention to microsocial, and be prepared to post, respond, meet new friends, piss some people off, delight some others, and become part of your specific niche. – Jason Stoddard

Who’s going to kick you in the can? When will you do your writing, or company-building, or adventuring, or whatever you want to do? – Jason Stoddard

From Death, Rebirth: Armageddon 2009. All Great Things Come to an End. Centric was in trouble. However, after Centric, we got Schiit. I started writing after Centric started to grow again after 2009. Writing means time without distractions. When I was at home, I paired a pair of tube amp with my AKG 701s and I listened to blissful music. Headphones didn’t need that much power and Class A was possible. I tried the Cobalt DAC too, and the music was a lot more detailed. Was it possible to manufacture something in the US? And how would you go about selling it? Selling direct cuts out the distributors/ dealers. 48% to 65% of the cost can be in distribution. The dealer route was old fashioned and it was easy to start an e-commerce site. Let’s make it work.

You Always Say You Have Schiit to Do, Why Don’t You Just Call It That? I was out of the audio game for so long. There were a lot of questions when we started Schiit. Thank goodness the cost of electronics came down in recent years. We wanted to start with 10k funding at the start. Google gives a lot of things away for free. Google is really an ad company. Only recently did we get into 3D CAD drawings. We designed our products in a cheap simple and minimalistic box. Amps need heatsinks, especially Class-A amps. Instead of a heatsink extrusion at the back of the amp, we used the chassis as a heatsink. In the end, we went for a fairly thick aluminum. How were we going to make the DAC inexpensive? We could have bought the machinery to make it ourselves, or contact with someone who can supply finished parts. However, the second option has its problems as the metal supplier might screw up. Furthermore, most of them did industrial instead of commercial products. My wife suggested that I call the company schiit. That name would certainly catch the attention of others. We wanted to be unforgettable. There, the name was born.

$800 in Screws? The failures of building prototypes never bothered me. We didn’t have all the parts we needed. We were reliant on a critical part from one company and that company screwed up. I wondered if people would think we were a joke? There will be days you feel like quitting. We would try hand-soldering ourselves. We would try doing it in our garage. We would start building inexpensive products first. My wife helped with the soldering too. We did a WordPress template to our own custom design. We linked it to an easy-to-integrate payment processor. Next, our website was up and we were thrilled. Selling online is getting easier by the day and is definitely worth trying. Now, let’s talk business. Business plans are a waste of time. This is because it often sounds too intimidating to start. Venture Capitalists also know that business plans are bullshit. Business is evolving too quickly that a business plan can seem obsolete very quickly. Learn to pay more attention to the market instead of your business plan instead. You can write a short business brief, which is okay. Just incorporate a corporation, not a partnership etc. You should do it because of limited liability. My partner and I decided that we would not draw salary for 2 years.

If you start a business, there will be doubts. Lots and lots of doubts – Jason Stoddard

Trust me, if you don’t have a working product that’s making money, you’re not getting capital even if your business plan was written by the clones of Hemingway and Rockefeller. – Jason Stoddard

What will this company do that no other can do? If others can do this, or are doing this, how are significantly better? Why would someone pay money for it? How will they find out about it? How much money do you need to start it –  Jason Stoddard

The First Order Is… For Something We’re Not Selling. You can pick the date to launch the product. When you launch something, you bare yourself to the public. You don’t know how the public will react to your product. It was June 15, 2010. Perfect the product before launching. Find your press contacts and get their emails. Write a short article to them. We got the audio sites to cover our product. Our products were well received and priced to be affordable. Jude from Head-Fi called us and had some questions for us. He was surprised how we managed to keep the costs down. Jude liked the Asgard. The orders kept coming in and we had to keep shipping. The Valhalla metal came in and we were in for a big shock.

Launching a product isn’t like live theater in one respect: at the theater, you’ve got a play date. The show’s gonna go on, whether you’re ready or not. It doesn’t matter if all the costumes were lost because a drunk truck driver them down a ravine. You need to get on stage and do something. – Jason Stoddard

Metal Debacle, Valhalla Style. I hated the chassis that was made. They were all unsellable, some were cracked and the supplier tried to fix it. Your metal vendor will screw up eventually. I couldn’t find a metal supplier on such short notice. We started looking for a new metal shop. We finally found one that was suitable, but we had to wait for their products. There are many ways to finish metal, graining, bead-blasting, etching etc. It is important to work with an inexpensive chassis. We were facing back-orders for the Valhalla. Thank goodness the metal was great. The quality of the metal was acceptable and we were lucky. Now, we received positive feedback on the Valhalla. We were invited by Jude to showcase at CanJam.

If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick, work-two-hours-a-week-from-home deal, making things ain’t for you. Stuff will go wrong. You will have to deal with it. – Jason Stoddard

Bringing a product to market is like screwing a gorilla. You aren’t done until the gorilla’s done. – Mike Moffat

We Screw Up Sennheiser and Insult Some Big Guys. Trade shows are very tiring and have long hours. Setting up is actually very tedious. Even in this Internet era, trade shows are popular and people still like to visit. If you sell via distribution channels, trade shows are good for you. If you sell direct, then no. What could possibly go wrong at CanJam? We were late. I shipped the amps we were supposed to bring. However, Sennheiser couldn’t find them. The audio industry has grown a lot recently. Rina finally got the amps and we were all set. We had our fair share of interesting visitors. Schiit had its set of loyal followers. The ‘Made in USA’ label seemed very attractive. There was an anonymous guy who appeared to be jealous that our products were so good but they were not made in China.

Powering Up: Lyr. Product roadmaps are important. It is a product life cycle in the market. How would one product fit with the other? Is it upstream or downstream? You would need to refresh the product line also. We wanted the Lyr. There are Class A, Class AB amps. Class As are usually big, hot and heavy. Class AB introduces non-linearities in the end. Class A and Class B are well understood, but something in between is not. We looked to the past for inspiration and kept tweaking things. We didn’t have the capabilities to hand-make the products anymore.

Engineering is a lot of heads-down work. There’s not a lot of heroics or drama. You know, like everything in real life. – Jason Stoddard

Our First Employee, Our First Board House. Having employees is a line crossed, and it’s hard to go back. You can have a successful business without employees. However, it limits your growth. You have to meet payroll and have additional responsibilities once you have an employee. Can you afford employees?  With employees, you have more admin costs. We modified our house and added storage space. After Lyr, we needed help. I had a friend who wanted to help. He was Eddie. We hired him. He was meticulous and was okay being made the number of pieces he made. We wanted him as a contractor and not an employee, as being a contractor would mean we didn’t have to give so many benefits. Eddie was happy to work for us. Eddie also tried to improve our processes. He was a great friend. We outsourced the making of PCB Boards and they were in terrific shape. There are some things which you don’t have to do yourself.

USB Sucks! Or, Mike Joins the 21st century. We are in early 2011 now. It was time to talk about Mike. Mike was the guy who invented the DAC. We eventually invented Bifrost. Mike’s idea for a DAC was the Yggdrasil, one that costs 10 times more than Asgard. Mike didn’t like USB ports. However, most people only use laptops as their audio source and would need it. USB 1.1 and 2.0 were about the same. Sometimes going the grain is not the best idea. Mike was eventually ok with the USB, but he wanted an upgradable system. Like, you can upgrade the DAC when the technology changes. We got Dave on board to work on Bitfrost. It was a modular DAC and we went with the AKM chip. We took a long time over the USB input. The different type of USB modes concern data rate, not audio. 1.1 can transmit data up to 12Mbps and transmit audio up to 24/96. 2.0 can transmit up to 480Mbps and transmit audio up to rates like 32/768. USB Audio Classes are standards used by the industry and are not USB modes. USB Audio Class 2 usually requires drivers. 24bit is 144db dynamic range and the limit of the Stanford analyzers. Toslink is better than USB. Bitfrost was a truly unique DAC to be invented. You should be aware of what your competitors are doing and improve from there. However, how do you know your ideas are better than prevailing wisdom and can be realistic to implement? There are pros to doing what others are doing. You get the product out faster. However, if you do that, you expect disappointment from customers. You will just be like everyone else, with no ideas of your own.

Schiit Goes Evil? We received an email and it caused us problems. Schiit hit the fan on Head-Fi. NwAvGuy accused us of building dangerous amplifiers. He said our products were misguided and sloppy. There was some turn-on transient problem with the Asguard. We defended our products on Head-Fi. There was a discrepancy in our DC offset. Later, we added a relay mute on our Lyr. Anyone who wanted to return our Asgard to us could do so and we would give a refund. I wanted to pull the plug on Schiit as we weren’t making much money. Mike said we would add the relay and kill the current run. For future Asgards, we would add the delay. The problem occurred because we relied on a memory of a measurement that was incorrect. NwAvGuy’s complaint forced us to improve as a company and improve our products. We welcome feedback like those by NwAvGuy. We learnt that we don’t have all the answers.

We have a “live and let live” attitude at Schiit. We don’t think we know it all, and we don’t believe that our answers are always the best ones. We know how much work it takes to bring something to market, and we salute every company out there. – Jason Stoddard

Because no business, no matter how great the engineers, no matter how skilled the production team is, no matter how solid the logistics guys are, no matter how enlightened the management is, is infallible. You screw up. Bad things happen. And you make them good. – Jason Stoddard

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Do Over (Make Today the First Day of Your New Career) by Jon Acuff (Part 2)

Win the Way You Won Before. We have definitely picked up skills in the past. Ask yourself what skills did you learn in the past? It need not be work skills only. What were the circumstances that conspired in your favour? You might have an audience to drive your development of the skill. Sometimes, you could have been pressured by a tight deadline. Find a new crowd you share your skill with. You could devise a reward system once you have attained a particular skill. Set a countdown on your phone to motivate yourself to do something, it could be 60 minutes or something. Don’t be afraid to devise new methods in your pursuit of new skills. Learn the strategies employed in the past to help you improve and give yourself a better chance at success. Never reinvent the wheel and always learn from your past.

Kick-Start Your New Skills with Something Fun. You can learn by necessity or curiosity. Necessity are related to work skills. Curiosity is more borne out of desire. Both types of skills are important for us. A smarter approach is to start with something fun. Developing a curiosity skill is more fun and easier than a necessity skill. Keep it simple. You only need time and knowledge at the start. Time and knowledge are more accessible than money, time, gear. You can research about it for free on the Internet. You need to make time for learning your skill too. You must decide exactly when do you want to learn it. Macro means printing out next month’s calendar. You will realize that you have more time than you think. Fear likes to tell you that you don’t have enough time. Learn to utilize your time well and in a fruitful manner. The micro is exactly which days and how many hours you will use to hone your skill. What’s consuming your calendar daily? Start your day with what matters most and that will help you the most. Work on your skill before other things get in the way. Who will help you learn this new skill? Skills are no exception. It is more fun to learn with a friend. Someone should track your progress. This person should ask you for updates on a regular basis. Check in twice a week.

If you really want to learn something, you have to decide when you are going to do it. Otherwise, you dramatically reduce your odds of actually doing it. – Jon Acuff

Days are like snowballs rolling down a hill. I don’t care how perfectly you’ve planned it, something unexpected is going to get picked up as your day rolls down the slope. – Jon Acuff

An accountability partner you only contract when you are winning isn’t an accountability partner, it’s a cheerleader. – Jon Acuff

Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be miserable, especially if you start with something fun and easy. – Jon Acuff

Skills Get Sharp Slowly and Dull Quickly. Skills will go dull if not used frequently. If you are writer, you should write daily. Once you get lazy, it will be hard to kick-start the habit again. At that time, you need motivation from friends to kick you to start again. The hardest competition you’ll ever face. The key for sportsmen is to be disciplined and do the same time every day of the week, even during off season. Learn to outsmart yourself. There is a problem with first times. First times should be the worst experience. Every time you start a new job, the skills you learn in your previous job are not useless. For every repetition you make, you should lay another brick in your foundation. You work best when skills become second nature to you. This will free up brain space for other things. If you discipline your life, it creates freedom in another. For instance, you could buy many sets of the same clothing. This will help you pare down your decision making. Your career is not shampoo. Nowadays, videos are big part of blogging. You must step into the tension of skills. Some skills cannot be simply put on autopilot, but should be on fighter pilot.

The more you can turn an important skill into a repeatable habit, the more you can trust the power of autopilot. – Jon Acuff

When you refuse to practice a skill today, it makes it harder to practice it tomorrow. Weeds of fear grow stronger the longer we wait to hustle. Get in the garden today. – Jon Acuff

Grab the Right Kind of Hammer for Your Career Ceiling. Do not build your cage. When you are stuck, you can choose to accept it or change it. Your skills will help you break ceilings. The ceiling is challenging you to break through it.

The father of every good work is discontent, and its mother is diligence. – Lajos Kassak

Should you ever stay at a bad job just because other people in your field don’t have a job? What are you really saying? That until everyone in your field is employed you can’t apply somewhere else? You can’t have another job until everyone else does? That doesn’t make any sense. – Jon Acuff

We build elaborate internal campaigns justifying where we are. We trick ourselves into thinking it’s someone else’s fault or that maybe it’s not so bad. It’s not a horrible job, it’s a good-enough job. If we stay there long enough, we eventually forget that we are even allowed to change. – Jon Acuff

I can’t tell you if in ten years I will have written five more books. But I can tell you that this year I will write one. I can’t tell you if in 10 years my blog will have 5 million readers, but I can write a new post today. – Jon Acuff

Investment 3: Character. Character is who you are. Character is the reason why people will give you another opportunity if you fail the first one. It is a pre-requisite for many things to come. Everything is personal in work. Character is impossible to ignore. Character will also determine your resilience to move things forward. Start planting your orchard and be generous and empathetic. People with bad character might win, but they may not last.

A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world’s torrent. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Plant an Orchard. Character is a slow process and takes time to build. Character is like an orchard. The trees are the character traits and the weeds threaten to destroy your orchard. Which is one character trait that you want to develop? Ask a friend if you are clueless. Trust could be something you want to work on. Take a look at your whole orchard. I was addicted to chaos and busyness. However, if you like chaos, your character falls on the wayside. Write down the jobs you’ve had. Give a brief description of your job performance. List the way you left each job. Describe the strength of the relationships you left behind. Pull the weeds as fast as you can. Narcissism is a problem. Dishonesty is a horrible weed too. Pessimism is an issue too. Pessimism can grow and it can become a problem. Apathy is a big issue as well. Apathy cripples your ability to launch a career jump.

The future is purchased by the present. – Dr. Samuel Johnson

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Old Saying

Most destructive of all is that apathy cripples your ability to launch a career jump. No one who is apathetic has the energy or heart to try a positive, voluntary career transition. That entire quadrant is off the table when weeds like this have grown in your orchard. – Jon Acuff

Generosity is a Game Changer. We need to be generous as it can help us greatly in our careers. It helps to breed loyalty. People will support you if you have helped them before. Do not hesitate or hold back. Greed will cost you more than you think. Generosity is always cheaper than greed. Your generosity will pay dividends. It is for long term benefits. If you find that people are exploiting you, make sure you don’t have an itchy trigger finger. Learn to draw some boundaries. You can let the person learn from a painful experience. The worst case is to avoid them. Make your definition of generosity bigger. You can be generous with your time and skills. Ideally, you should be able to do something you are good at.

Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us. – Rachel Naomi Remen

Before you make a Career Jump give generously of your time, talent and resources without keeping score. If you keep a record of who you’ve been generous to with the expectation that they’ll return the favor, you’ll build transactions not relationships. – Jon Acuff

Empathy, No Longer Just for People Who Like to Cry with Friends. You need to navigate with empathy. It means understanding someone else’s needs and acting on them. Most people are the same and they all have hopes, fears, dreams, frustrations. Having empathy allows to work with just about anyone. If you have empathy, you can do sales and sell stuff. Take time to know someone’s real story. You will understand that they might have undergone to get to where they are. Compassion is important. Fear is an amazing storyteller. Care about what the people you care about care about. Character is an orchard, it changes over time. You don’t have to quit your job to engage in a career jump, but you can do something positive and voluntary. Read less minds, ask more questions. Instead of guessing, learn to ask them directly. Simply showing up shows empathy. It doesn’t have to be big actions. Make people bigger. Ask questions to your colleagues like ‘What can I do to make you look like a rock star to your manager?’ Put someone’s needs ahead of your own. What to do when empathy is broken. Be honest and admit you were wrong sometimes.

Everybody has a story. When we don’t take the time to know someone’s story or worse, create our own version of it, we lose the chance to understand what they need, which is the first step to empathy. – Jon Acuff

Be Present. Showing up at your job is important. You have to deal with your phone, your computer, and your meetings. We use our phones way too often. If you are not present, your relationships might be threatened. When you use your phone, you are putting other people on pause. Be present with your computer. People might surf the Internet at work in their free time. We are all guilty of it. Do work while you’re at work. Be present in meetings. Learn to take notes. It is easier to hide behind a laptop by being old fashioned and taking down notes is easier. Ask at least one question during the meeting will help you to stay engaged. Turn your phone upside down. You could just not bring your phone to the meeting or something.

Never Jump without Character. You need character when you decide to chase a dream. Character helps you navigate through chaos of change. You can always rely on your character. You can’t completely eliminate chaos from your life. Over time, you get used to living with chaos. It’s time to hustle.

Investment: Hustle. We are more capable than we think. Hustle means hard work. It helps you to build on relationships, skills and your character. You don’t get anywhere without hard work. There is a thin line between hustle and hassle. Use grit, awareness and flexibility.

‘Music is in the piano only when it is played.’ Jack Gilbert

Grit is a Choice, Not a Feeling. You will feel a sense of apathy if you have given up on your dream. Grit is not fun or easy. You might have to stay up late to work hard etc. It can be ugly and messy. However, grit is a choice. You might ask, what if I don’t have what it takes? You don’t need some ultimate goal to work on Do Over. Fear will always discourage you from working hard and acting on your goal. Tell yourself that you have what it takes to try. We all get to try. What if I pick the wrong thing to hustle on and miss my opportunity? The thing about life is that you will have many opportunities that will come your way. Therefore, do not apply the once-in-a-lifetime label to things you face. Regret is much worse than fear. Which would you rather choose, fear or regret? Make grit decisions. Give your hustle some time to succeed. Counsel and lean on your relationships. Ask for awesome opportunities. Give yourself permission to be kind. Be honest to yourself. Build a grit list. It’s like running, I don’t like it but I put in on my Grid List due to the benefits I derive from it. Go with grit, don’t be most people. Don’t wait until you feel brave to hustle, choose to hustle until you feel brave.

I didn’t want to be selling insurance at 40, wondering what it would have been like to do stand-up. – Steven Wright, Comedian

If you’re going to make new relationships, you need to have grit. If you’re going to learn new skills, you need to have grit. If you’re going to have strong character, you need to have grit. If you’re going to hustle, you need to have grit. – Jon Acuff

There’s no such thing as a perfect job. There’s no job where you get to do only the things you love doing. Those don’t exist. – Jon Acuff

There will be tasks, projects and activities you have to do in your career that you hate. No matter which stage you’re in, you’ll have to do some things you don’t love. That’s why we all need a Grid List, a short list of the skills we grit our teeth and do regardless of how we feel. – Jon Acuff

Hustle Has Seasons: Use Awareness to Recognize Them. Do not try to hustle at wrong points of your life. For instance, do not hustle on a holiday as you will not feel rested or recharged. You need to ask ‘what season am I in?’ Learn to focus. Hustle is a scalpel. Doing more action might not be the solution all the time. Do not hustle too much that you neglect your family etc. Instead of blaming your boss or colleagues, ask yourself ‘Did I expect this job to be something it never would be?’ It does not mean you are a failure. It just meets that you just took a wrong path and need to find a new one. Keep your head down and hustle on your work.

Be proactive about doing that in your own life. Work on your sense of awareness. Don’t wait for someone you love to call you out. – Jon Acuff

You don’t have to know the exact path, because nobody does, but are you roughly headed in the right direction? If you want to be a musician and you’re a pharmaceutical rep working 70 hours a week, not playing any music, stop kidding yourself. That path doesn’t lead to music. – Jon Acuff

Career Yoga. You need to spend time planning your day. Things rarely go according to plan. Hustling with flexibility is the best, as it leads to less disappointment. Be flexible with your dream. The work you end up loving might not even exist yet. You have to flexible about what you study as well. Your dream will change over your lifetime. Be flexible with your definition of success. Let new be different, not old. Humans love to idealize your past when our present doesn’t meet our expectations. Have fun storming the castle. Having fun is important as it helps you to get going and to push on. Having fun helps you to prevent burnout.

Always Use This to Multiply the Moment. Hustle offers you unexpected opportunities. Overcome your fear and learn to speak to a crowd. Say yes to small opportunities and learn to build from there.

Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other. – Mary Caroline Richards

Hustle works those two ways. You hustle hard to stir up more opportunities. And then when you have one, you hustle hard to blow it up as large as it can possibly be. – Jon Acuff

Three Final Words You’ll Tell Me Someday Soon. Work can be more meaningful than we think. We have to change ourselves. We don’t get to pick a transition permanently. Your work is a lifestyle. Anyone can have a Career Do Over.

O you who sit over your full cup and do not drink, tell me, for whom are you still waiting? – Hermann Hesse

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Do Over (Make Today the First Day of Your New Career) by Jon Acuff (Part 1)

The Career Savings Account

You control more of your career than you think. You need to rescue and look forward to Monday. A better job begins with building a better you. This book is about building a career. Career ceilings are problems and also retrenchment is one of them. In some jobs, you know when you hit a ceiling and can’t go higher anymore. There are a few options: 1) find another job; 2) Do a job you didn’t want to do; 3) Suck it up over 30 years. Over 70% of the people felt disengaged with their jobs. Learn to embrace career transitions. How do we make career jumps, navigate career bumps, break through career ceilings, make the most of unexpected career opportunities? Learn to build a career savings account. You must keep making deposits into your career savings account. Relationships + Skills + Character X Hustle = Career Savings Account. Relationships are the people you know, skills are the things you do, character is who you are, hustle is how you work. You should have all 4 of them. Most people only work jobs, not build careers. Most people do not have anyone to turn to for career advice once they are in a rut. There are only 4 possible types of career transitions around. Some are voluntary while some are involuntary actions. When you are stuck on a career ceiling, skills will help you breakthrough. When you want to do a career jump and gain progression, your character is the most important investment. Great lives are rarely created in great comfort. Most people are afraid of the unknown. It is never too late to do a do over. It’s time to DO a Do Over.

We eat at TGI Fridays not TGI Mondays. We live for the weekends because we’ve accepted that the weekdays are where dreams go to die. Poke your head up if you’re reading this book at work. – Jon Acuff

Do This First. Fear and complacency are things we need to overcome. Choose your attitude and adjust your expectations. Don’t listen to feelings, but rather, learn to make choices. Adjust your expectations and write down what you see in a job. However, do not completely eliminate them, rather, you can adjust them.

Tomorrow at work, choose to have a good attitude. Choose not to be cynical. Choose not to act like you’re doing them a favor by showing up. Choose not to complain. Choose to cheer for the accomplishments of your co-workers. Choose to treat customers like superstars. – Jon Acuff

Relationships. Finding good people is the key for a successful business. Skills can be judged on a resume, but attitude can’t be judged. Therefore, relationships get you the first gig. During career setbacks, relationships help you too. This book provides some tips on how to strengthen relationships.

You Don’t Know Who You Know. People hate change. Most people despise networking. However, we acknowledge the importance of networking. Who is someone you can turn to for help with your career Do Over? Use note cards. Writing stimulates information retention. Please buy them. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do with your life. Find an accountability partner to monitor your progress on a skill. Answer the question ‘Who do I know that is wise about career issues?’ Answer the question ‘Who have I worked with?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I know that is influential?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I know that owns a business?’ Answer the question ‘Who do I follow online that is in my desired career space?’ Answer the question ‘What casual relationships am I forgetting that might have a career impact?’ Always remember that you don’t know who you know unless you spend deliberate time focusing on your relationships.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction. – Warren Buffett

Dentists say, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” The same is true of career relationships; only invest in the ones you want to keep. – Jon Acuff

Gives Your Foes What They Need Most. You must know what type of relationship you want to develop. You could meet foes along the way, these people are against your dream. They do not support your dreams. Friend is someone who will cheer you along. Advocate is someone who is significant in helping you shape your career. Start to label your friends in the different categories. How do you deal with your foes? This category doesn’t matter and your best bet is to ignore them. There is a difference between an idiot and a foe. Shrink your definition of the word ‘foe’. Don’t search for foes. That’s your best solution. Compare the Internet to Real Life. People are often critics only online and they do not like to criticize in real life. If you have such people, distance yourself from them. Stop hanging out with lobsters. Lobsters just want to make others feel miserable. Distance yourself from them. How do you deal with bad bosses? The first you can do is to improve your work performance to see if it improves your relationship. Admit you’re an employee. Turn the frustration of working under a bad boss into fuel. Your boss is essentially saying ‘I dare you to get a better job’.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to turn an accomplice into a friend is to simply tell your accomplice what you are working on. Most of the time just the act of telling someone what you are trying to do with your life changes things. – Jon Acuff

Sometimes, people who hate on your dream aren’t really mad about your dream. They’re mad because you’re making them jealous. – Jon Acuff

You can’t change someone, but you can impact a work relationship sometimes if you improve your work performance. – Jon Acuff

Casual Counts. Casual friends count too and you never know when they might be able to help you. You need to have a massive collection of these people. Throw as many boomerangs as possible. If you are lucky, one might come back into your life with a work opportunity. Use social media to connect with people whom you haven’t kept in touch. You should try to do some casual relationships. I hate asking people for help. Most successful people didn’t accomplish everything alone. We have to give the casual relationship information. If you’re looking for a new job, tell them that. Start with a small table. Say things like ‘it was wonderful seeing you tonight’. You need to find a table. Put a big table in your house and invite people over for dinner. You need to be a little brave and desperate for community. This is how friendships start. Find a table first. Make new casual relationships on purpose. Casual means deliberate. It’s impossible to predict whether someone can work with you at the start. Be a first responder and do not sit on emails for days. Don’t ignore people and pick up on the first ring. Learn to own the inconvenience. Increase the frequency of your interactions with these casual acquaintances. Friendships built on selfishness never work out. Increase the frequency you see them on their terms, not yours. Own the inconvenience.

Casual relationships run on (and deepen) based on your willingness to share information. – Jon Acuff

If people don’t know you need help, they can’t help you. – Jon Acuff

Whether you’re chasing a new dream or trying to climb the ladder at work, casual relationships won’t know how to help us unless we ask for help. – Jon Acuff

Great Career Take Great Advocates. Not all your friends can give you good advice. There are 3 characteristics that advocates must have. They have to be brave and to tell you the truth, even though it hurts. They have to be respected. They also have to be trustworthy. Cheat Codes make the game a lot easier. They will tell you shortcuts which actually work. However, you must be willing to listen to them. What do career advocates need from us? What’s in it for them? Expand your definition of the word ‘expert’. There are generally 3 types of expertise: Industry, life and You. A best friend can be an advocate too. Advocate is like a mentor and the advice mostly goes one way only. An advocate must be someone smarter than you. Join people in your profession and ask for advice. Know other people in similar firms. You might also build some long-distance advocates or heroes you have read about in books.

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. – Steve Garguilo

An advocate is only as good as the amount of access you are willing to give them into your life. The best advocate for your career can’t do anything if you stay surface level with them. – Jon Acuff

Don’t Burn Many Bridges. Sometimes, it is inevitable. However, do not burn many bridges as it might haunt you. Boomerangs will return, even bad ones. The fewer you burn, the better. Do you form hate clubs about people you don’t like. Sometimes, stupid people can be your boss also. Leave Jobs with your thumb raised. Do not raise your middle finger as the experience is not worth it at all. Keep your matches away from digital bridges too. Don’t do social media gloating. Apologize if you have to. Your industry is smaller than you think. Treat everyone like you’ll work with them again someday.

It is seldom indeed that one parts on good terms, because if one where on good terms one would not part. – Marcel Proust

I’m not asking you to be fake and give long, deep hugs to people who spent the previous day verbally assaulting you. – Jon Acuff

If you currently have a job, do not go online and criticize the company you work for. – Jon Acuff

Community Shines Brightest in the Darkness of a Career Bump. There are only 4 things which can happen: 1) career ceilings; 2) career jumps; 3) career opportunities; 4) career bumps. Relationships will pick you up. Friends will be there to help you. Rock Bottom is a Trampoline. Sometimes, you will spring back into life, just like that. A career bump will rock your boat and it will reveal who are your true friends. We need friends and advocates.

Investment 2: Skills. Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second. However, if you have no skills, you sink. The difference between an amateur and expert are skills. They give purpose for life. Skills are ability and provide you with natural talents. Old dogs can learn new skills. Your skills can come in handy. Skills are the key to getting unstuck.

Everybody wants to be somebody: Nobody wants to grow. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Once you have skills, they are yours forever. No one can take that skill away from you. When you leave a job, the skills you learned there leave with you. You must keep them sharp, but a skill you put in the Career Savings Account stays there. – Jon Acuff

You Have More Skills than You Think. Most people claim they don’t have many skills. This is because they are just things you do, but you don’t classify. Get more skills. You should write down a list of current skills. Write down ideas. Look for patterns. Ask what are you good at. Do not be humble. It could be personal skills as well, need not be work-related skills. Ask yourself what comes naturally? Write down ‘what do people pay me to do?’ Write down ‘what are you afraid of?’ Write down ‘If you wrote an eBook, what would the topic be?’ Bring the cards along with you. If you do not know what your skills are, ask a friend for advice. You need to be aware of the skills you might want to acquire.

Whether you want to get better at your current job or find a new one, chances are you will need new skills. – Jon Acuff

Somewhere on the road to adulthood we decided that dreams were dumb. We stopped wanting to be firemen and astronauts and settled for stuck and predictable. We accepted the lie that Monday must be boring. – Jon Acuff

Master the Invisible Skills. Everything is a skill, everything you do at work is a skill. Communication, fixing paper jams are all skills. The small things add up. The small skills do not seem flashy. You just need some tweaks to be great at them. Many people miss these invisible skills and overlook them. Going to work is a skill as it shows that absenteeism is not value highly by employees. Go to work and go on time. You will already be better off than others who don’t show up at work. Learn to add value. In every job, there must be something that you do which adds value. Ask yourself what is the currency of your company. How does what you do add to your company’s mission? You can tell your boss: ‘I’ve been thinking a lot about the best ways for me to continually add value to this company. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how I can do that.’ Employees must add value. Own your attitude. It is not the employers’ job to fulfil your career desires. When you have a bad attitude, it shows. It’s your job to enjoy work, not your employer. Attitude is a decision you choose on a daily basis. Express gratefulness. Show consideration for others. Focus on what matters. Play to your strengths and everyone else’s. Learn to be flexible. Respect their gear. Continue with your education and learn more. If the company wants to train you, you should be grateful.

The goal of your first job is to teach you how to have a job. – Jon Acuff

Over and over again, career experts bemoaned the fact that employees who don’t show up to work get fired. – Jon Acuff

Attitude is a skill. It can be changed. It can be improved and it starts with owning it. You determine your attitude, not your day, not a job, not a situation. You. Own it. – Jon Acuff

If you need more to do, find more work to do. Finishing the work your boss thought would take you 40 hours in only 25 hours doesn’t mean you’ve just earned an extra 15 hours of me time that week. – Jon Acuff

Never Become a Dinosaur. There are people who don’t love to learn new skills. With technological advances, skills are important. If you don’t have them, you are a dinosaur. Your skills can get obsolete quickly if you are not careful. Old skills might not work all the time. New skills open the doors to wonderful opportunities. It will value-add to your resume. Sign up for classes is also a signal to your boss that you care about the job. Passion won’t show up from nowhere. You won’t find calling out of nowhere. There are hassles with learning something new. It’s not easy but you can pretend to be a tourist in a new country and ask a lot of questions to find out more. If you want a Do Over, you have to pick up new skills. It’s hard to get stuck in your old ways when you prioritize learning new skills.

I like being a beginner. I like the moment when I look at everyone and say, “I have no idea how to do this, let’s figure it out.” – Jon Acuff

If we all don’t want to become dinosaurs, bemoaning the good ol’ days, we have to stay current. We have to stay relevant. We have to stay employable and the best way to do that is by learning new skills. – Jon Acuff

New jobs always require learning new skills, even if that just means learning a different way a new company prefers to do something. – Jon Acuff

Learning a new skill can reveal a new dream. How can you know you love doing something if you don’t try it? – Jon Acuff

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How to be a Leader by Martin Bjergegaard and Cosmina Popa

Introduction. Kitty Genovese was murdered on 13 March 1964. Ever since, the 911 emergency system was used. She wasn’t famous but the murder was brutal. The strange thing was that nobody called the police. There were 37 people who witnessed the murder but didn’t call the police. When interviewed, they all assumed that someone should have had called the police already. People condemned the human race as being selfish. Researchers have termed this the bystander effect. It’s about the diffusion of responsibility. Social influence also reflects that it is okay to be like everyone else. Bystander apathy can be overcome and there are instances that prove it. Leadership is a choice too, you can choose whether to step up or not. In China, some babies died when their milk powder contained melamine. Melamine is known to cause severe urinary problems and kidney damage. We need to step up as leaders and be masters of our own lives. This book will introduce ideas, thinking and practices. Every moment is a potential for you to exhibit leadership qualities. There are 12 strongest leadership lessons. Leadership needs to evolve with the times.

You. You need to know thyself. Learn to discover one’s purpose. Connect your leadership with your purpose. Learn to become wiser. Be curious about yourself and have a thirst for knowledge. Become a touchstone of wisdom, awareness etc.

Is There Something You Really, Really Care about? For instance, can you stand up to bullies? In Naples, there is a culture where people would advance purchase a coffee for someone in need. It was then that John discovered the need to pay it forward through simple acts of kindness. This is a simple way to help someone in need. John Sweeney really cared about kindness as he was bullied as a kid. When someone does a favour for you, turn around and do someone else a favour too. Learn to lead a big movement of people. Look deep inside yourself to find out what moves you. Is there anything which you care about deeply? Leadership is for everyone. Stillness and solitude is important for self-reflection. Sit down and reflect on the moments where you have been hurt or pained. Ask yourself whether there is anything you care deeply about?

The best leaders in the world find what they really care about, and almost everything else flows from this point. But many of us live in a way that is out of alignment with our true purpose. – Martin Bjergegaard

Mind the Body. How will I be able to cope with jet lag? Extensive traveling can be draining on the body. We need to learn to pay attention to red flags. Please take care of your body. Modern leadership requires heart, body mind and soul. You can view your body as a temple which houses your consciousness. In the past, people believed in dualism, but we know our mind and matter are integrated. You must always take good care of yourself. Sleep is of utmost importance. Sleep is actually vital for memory consolidation. It is also associated with cell rejuvenation. It cleans away dead and dying cells. Poor sleep habits are associated with negative well-being. You should sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night. Learn to possess self-care and not abuse alcohol. Please avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Find the type of movement which you like to take part in, this could be in the form of dance etc. Your body is a sage. Researchers have discovered that we have both a heart and gut brain. Your body can also produce ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to everything. Our body is indeed really intelligent. How do we inhabit the body? Like artists, leaders have to step back and listen and be open to change. Learn to enhance your relationship with your body.

What’s important is that we acknowledge where we are, accept and love ourselves exactly as we are. – Martin Bjergegaard

If we consume information prior to going to sleep for a minimum of an hour and a half, this enables our brain to consolidate learning and we retain that information for a longer period of time. – Martin Bjergegaard

Unleash Your Curiosity. You must always question the status quo and how can you do things better. Always learn with an open mind. Curiosity is a habit where we can all develop. A world without curiosity could be extremely boring. It would kill the human spirit. Curiosity makes our lives richer. Children tend to be curious than adults. It is always possible to find something that you are curious about. Young people should be learning how to create the future. The problem with curiosity is that one might get too distracted and unfocused. What people need is focused curiosity.

A lot of people do it when retired – and those are the ones that seem to be getting ten years older during their first year of retirement. In order to thrive, most of us need surroundings and circumstances that change, develop and ideally improve. Our curiosity is what makes tomorrow interesting.  -Martin Bjergegaard

Infuse Your Leadership with ‘Ecosophy’. Churchill was fascinated by butterflies. Could this have helped keep him calm? Nature can indeed move and nurture you. One should be at one with nature. Learn to have a deeper appreciation of nature. ‘Ecosophy’ means a dynamic and evolving sense of wisdom required to live in harmony with the Earth. Nature can also be inspiration for buildings and structures. Learn to have a deep experience with nature. Nature can indeed be your teacher. Humans actually for form a subsystem with Mother Nature.

A moment that touches us and, with a gasp, allows us to see and feel the intricate marvel of the web of life of which we are a part. – Chris Nichols

You & Others. Culture matters. Communication is everything. Master the Art of Communication. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is extremely demanding and can take more than 10 months. Most of the crew were amateurs. Communication was the key for success. The skipper is the leader, who must communicate with his crew well. Here are 5 key skills for effective leadership. They are 1) storytelling; 2) understand what others are saying; 3) conflict resolution; 4) be open and transparent; 5) create a space for others to tell the truth. The second one is difficult to achieve. It is necessary to foster genuine conversations that lead to mutual understanding. The use of the talking stick works, as the person who holds it is allowed to talk. No one else is allowed to talk. The listener should be able to repeat what has been said. Strive to understand the other party. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be transparent. Do not keep your employees in the dark over problems in your company. Ensure that your employees understand your P&L statement etc. The owners shouldn’t cover up when the start-up is sinking. It is okay to be vulnerable. Find a way to pull through together. Talk to other people in your organization about going beyond small talk.

Trust is immediately eradicated when people sense we are not being honest with them. They might not know exactly where the fire is, but they will notice the smoke. None of us enjoys being kept in the dark, and the result is a quick drop in morale. – Martin Bjergegaard

Define your Riverbanks. We need to create culture and evolve it over time. When there are people, there is culture. It can be dynamic. It takes leadership for this to happen. The Container Store in the US aims to ‘help people organize and simplify their lives’. They pay their employees very well. Money is not the most important motivator. The 3 intrinsic motivators are 1) autonomy; 2) mastery; 3) purpose. The company invests in training. The employees feel valued and tend to stay. As a leader, you must be there with your employees. There must be a culture of taking care of your employees. For instance, the aim of a restaurant could be to leave people a little happier when they leave than when they came in. Pleasing guests were important. Learn to develop a ‘hospitality quotient’. Culture is like a boundary, just like a riverbank. Lead to design a culture where everyone can thrive. For instance, you could end meetings with voluntary appreciation.

Decision-making is a Team Sport. At Rainmaking, we were run by 6 co-CEOs. We make decisions collectively. Someone must be the natural leader. This is powerful collective leadership. Traditional thinking is that there can be only 1. As a group, we make better decisions. We also own the decision, so there are better commitment levels. This also leads to better team morale. In the past, direct democracy was possible, but it soon got evolved to representative democracy because there were too many people involved in the decision making. People should vote for those who best represent them to make a decision.

Grow Your Appetite for Altruism. I remember being in a sheep farm. I knew I wanted to move to the US. Marylyn Ginsburg was very curious about learning and was concerned with people in the orphanage. I respected her deeply. She also funded my education partially. I experienced genuine acts of altruism and wanted to pay it forward. Altruism and co-operation are deeply linked. Selfishness is not the only reason for altruism. One person can make the difference too. Never underestimate that. Altruism can build a more caring society.

Shadow. This is the dark side of our personality. We are reluctant to explore it. Invite fear and learn from it. You can transform uncertainty into creativity. Learn to build a constructive relationship with your ego.

Leadership During Crisis. The first tip to deal with crisis is to apply yourself as a human being and not a corporate CEO. Be authentic and deal with the problem yourself, and not use a spokesperson. Get help from the board and experts. Get help from PR advisers if necessary to prepare to face the media. Think about the landscape you are navigating. Treat crises as learning opportunities for your company to rebound and step up. Trust that the world is good. Ask yourself: what is the right thing to do under these circumstances? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

So when you experience a crisis as a leader, remember that we are all imperfect, never lose your perspective, and trust that you will eventually be forgiven. – Martin Bjergegaard

Welcome, Uncertainty. There is no blueprint for uncertainty. We need to live on the edge of the unknown. When something happens, we tend to classify it as either good, bad or neutral. You can start to practice mindfulness. It can help the pain to go away. Notice the sensations you feel but let them go, without an anchor. One can try the sensation or isolation chamber. You can learn to consciously deal with uncertainty. Mindfulness is a great way to deal with the problem.

In order to do something extraordinary, to create something from nothing, you have to not only be okay with uncertainty, but actually welcome it. – Martin Bjergegaard

Double Your Failure Rate. Failure can be crippling. Success and failures are indeed very relative in nature. We like to compare our achievements with our past. Learn to view your genius as something external to you. Humans have the tendency to compare with people in our immediate surroundings. Failures are just part of your journey. There will be hits and misses. Humour is a great way to deal with failure. Share your failures openly. BVP has a website documenting their anti-portfolio, or list of failures. View failures through a philosophical lens. Failure and pain are necessary for growth. Failure is the greatest teacher of all. What is the optimal next step from all this? Learn to write a plan.

Without taking risks, we are not going to accomplish much. But taking a risk by definition involves a high probability of failure. 90% of all start-ups are said to fail, but still millions of people quit their job every year to start their own thing. – Martin Bjergegaard

On Ego and The Forces of Glamour. As a CEO, you have to watch your ego. How do you recognize when it is getting out of hand? It is a double-edged sword and it can also create something new. The ego is a ‘complex of ideas which constitute the centre of one’s field of consciousness’. It is like man’s best friend. It can cause mischief for our leaders. It likes to seek validation and attention. Glamour is something that distorts our perception and reality. If you like to find fault with employees, it is an example of being in glamour. Do not drag your negative energy home. Some people feel there is glamour in busyness and self-importance. Be aware and cultivate a detachment. When you observe your ego taking over, take a breather and a back-seat.

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How to Think Like an Entrepreneur by Philip Delves Broughton

Introduction. Most entrepreneurs fail. However, it is a good learning experience nonetheless. The main reason why people fail is that they become demoralized. Yet, the start-up scene is thriving and buzzing. However, one tends to only hear of the successful stories. This is a case of WYSIATI – What You See is All There Is. Optimism can be costly indeed. To succeed is a great achievement in itself. It is a way out of the corporate life. You are doing it for yourself. It allows you to innovate and to challenge what is already out there in the market. It gives emotion its proper place. Before starting, optimism might not be as useful as compared to when the business has been established. There will be ups and downs, successes and despairs. This book is a guide for those who want to take this path. You can also be entrepreneurial as an employee. Learn to pursuit a path of your own. Obama had his doubts before running for President. This book will describe the ways you need to think as you first decide whether to be one. There is a link between economies which thrive and the freedom of individuals to flourish. People must be free to use their knowledge and talents in order for society to grow. A modern economy can produce dreams into reality. There needs to be a balance between satisfying the corporatists and the individualists. We need to think about what is means to be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship offers a way out of corporate life, out of a system of task-and-reward allocation run by others, to one run by you. You get to decide how to work, what to work on, and how to divide the rewards. – Philip Delves Broughton

If you are a chef chafing on the line, yearning to create dishes which exist only in your imagination, finding investors and opening your own restaurant is a way to turn that yearning into action. – Philip Delves Broughton

People with so much to protect are not always inclined to support those agitating for change. Yet to think like an entrepreneur is to be modern. To want change, to search for opportunity and then be willing to pursue it. – Philip Delves Broughton

The Entrepreneurial Mind. The Material Question. George Gurdjieff was the founder of Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. He was taught to create new stuff since young. Through this, he was able to surmount many difficulties. He was tricky and pretended to repair other people’s goods for a fee. As a result, he became rich. This experience fortified him.

If you can find your customers’ pain and heal it, how you do it and how much you charge will scarcely matter. – Philip Delves Broughton

Cognitive Complexity. Some people say entrepreneurs are control freaks, risk addicts etc. The only common trait they all share is that they choose to be entrepreneurs. The two habits of mind is cognitive complexity and greed. You must be tolerant of new ideas and curious about the experiences which challenge you. You must trust that the world will take care of you. There is also a need to internalize different cultures. Your upbringing also plays a part. One way to learn is to be marginalized and to be forced into awkward social positions. Usually, difficult times will toughen you up for the subsequent challenges in life. Sometimes, over-specialization can cause you to lose sight of how to make connections between diverse fields. It would be good to have a mentally intensive hobby like music, painters, writers etc.

Wanting It. Entrepreneurs can have different attitudes to money. Some show them off and flaunt their wealth. Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt all the time. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all do something they are nuts about. Would you want to be ‘rich or king’? Would you want to be rich and cash out? Or retain control and manage a growing enterprise? Do you want to be a king over a smaller domain? There are 4 types of people: 1) Work for themselves and for no one else; 2) Join businesses and reach senior positions; 3) Work for others but unspectacularly; 4) Work for others but are not motivated to work hard or improve the organization. The first 2 possess the Millionaire Mentality. They know the value of a dollar and the importance of not to squander it. Some people only think of excess profits earned should be reinvested in the business. A greed for improvement and for success is nothing to be ashamed about.

An independent spirit and an appetite for success, of which money can be a significant market, is what sets the flywheel of entrepreneurial achievement in motion. – Philip Delves Broughton

Age vs Experience. Some of the tech geniuses are still in their 20s. Younger people have more resilience. They invest in the young. The average age of American entrepreneurs which started their first company is 40. VCs love younger people. The best time to start when you the right energy and competence. As you age, your energy level drops. Good businesses require credibility to attract investors and employees and managerial experience.

The Old Man and the Fish. One can get inspiration from old objects, like the oldest life forms. For instance, a designer got inspiration from the body of a fish to create a fish-inspired design. It was a unique architectural vision. Gehry was 69.

Closing the Experience Gap. You have to think of the inverted U of productivity and where you currently fall along the curve. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were young when they started their first search engine. Being ambitious is important. Eric Schmidt was hired as the Google CEO. In 2011, he stepped aside to let Page be CEO. Sheryl Sandberg agreed to be Facebook CEO. In 2012, it went IPO. Both these companies realized that they needed to move up the inverted U curve of productivity and age by hiring. Sometimes, you can’t do it alone.

A Brief History of an Idea. What does entrepreneurship mean? It was associated with being a merchant. They were also innovators who struck out on their own. Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged people to look inwards for inspiration. One has to be comfortable with solitude. The entrepreneur was more than just a manager of risk. John Rockefeller was the first billionaire. Business was about ‘survival of the fittest’. Schumpeter was an economist. He understood the importance of economics. Later, he lectured in Harvard. He was a very ambitious man indeed. He knew that growth in an economy was dependent on entrepreneurs. Because of them, entrepreneurship would be revolutionized. Change was the only constant. Peter Drucker had a similar career path to Schumpeter. To him, it was possible to learn entrepreneurship. He also identified entrepreneurship in other fields.

The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. – Peter Drucker

Searching for Opportunity. The Adjacent Possible. Chris Blackwell was fascinated by Jamaicans after they took care of him. Later, he got inspired to write music. The Jamaica’s Rastafarians music became popular throughout the world. Sometimes, you might find ideas in areas which you might least expect. This is known as the ‘adjacent possible’, which is discovering opportunities in the work that surrounds them. Gillette the shaver was a great idea and created a near monopoly effect for years.

Nearly 75% of entrepreneurs find their ideas while in their current job. A fifth find them by chance and fewer than 5% by systematically searching for new opportunities. – Philip Delves Broughton

The Gossip Test. Francis Crick wondered what he should do after WWII. He didn’t know what to do with life. However, he realized the lack of qualifications could be an advantage. He knew a bit about physics and mathematics. Later he saw Kreisel. Later, he discovered his love for antibiotics. Later, he chose molecular biology. Later, he went on to win the Nobel Prize, for the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA.

I had discovered the gossip test – what you are really interested in is what you gossip about. – Philip Delves Broughton

A bug Named Jim. Jim Collins often filled his notebook with observations of the world. He felt dissatisfied at HP. He observed bugs in a jar. Through time, he realized that he preferred academia and he eventually work many books on management and business success. Self-observation and self-awareness are very important indeed.

Shifts and Disruptions. Thomas Kuhn was a professor and a historian. To him, both Aristotle and Newton were right, just that they were in different paradigms. How do you figure out which paradigm is good for you. For instance, in sports, the paradigm might be discipline, strength and hard work. If you are not that fit, you could use another paradigm, this could be strategizing more on the field. This tactic might work over time as well. Disruption is a term which often means paradigm shift too. Not every star-ups need to disrupt in order to success. However, the start-up should understand the theory before you launch in practice. Too many layers in a company became self-reinforcing. This is why big companies are less creative and less nimble. IBM dominated in the 1965s but the mainframes were gradually less popular. The mainframe companies failed. Most companies who get disrupted could see it coming but didn’t do anything about it. Kodak was a failure who went bankrupt. Newspaper businesses suffered the similar fate. One needs to try to attack the prevailing mode of doing business. Even in surgery, balloon angioplasty revolutionized heart surgery. Now, the costs are lower as well. Disruption can occur in any field and we must be prepared for it.

The Slow Hunch. Inventions emerge from the mass of human experience. Every generation after should be better than the previous one. Someone figured out that freezing food fast could preserve the condition and taste of food. One’s curiosity of nature is important. Ideas packaged together in a new configuration is crucial.

Responding to Opportunity. Assembling Complementary Assets. You must consider which assets to keep in-house and which to outsource. You can self-publish or go via a publisher. In entrepreneurship, you will be involved in a lot of decision making.

People. Corporate executives spend days trying to manage volume. As entrepreneurs, you have to come up with your own options. Decision making is crucial as you must make decisions that also are in-line with the long term goal of the company. People are a huge factor. They may be difficult to fire if they turn out poor. Agents are employees but whose loyalty might be limited and be non-committed. You might issue some equity to employees so that they can work harder. You must also be able to be brutally honest to people. You cannot put off decision making as it is painful. Some things have to be done no matter what.

Loneliness can kill a start-up and the enthusiasm and presence of friends is reassuring in those early, uncertain days. But unless there is a sound business logic for their presence, you could be in for trouble. – Philip Delves Broughton

Entrepreneurs get to see their decision bear fruit. What they say goes, and that freedom, that actualization through action, is the thrill of what they do. – Philip Delves Broughton

Context. You must have a relationship with your landscape. Your success might not be easily measured.

It’s not about going where everyone else is going, where the contest will be fiercest and the rivalries intense. It is about going to the place where you will have a natural edge over every other sucker who rolls into town, where you can take the risk that others never could. – Philip Delves Broughton

Planning. You will constantly grapple between the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’. It is like building the plane at the same time as your hurtle towards take-off. Your business plan that you created is unlikely to suit the market. Plans need to be adapted to suit circumstance. The aim of the business plan is to get the entrepreneur to think. You must think both short and long-term for your business.

The business plan can be an invaluable checkpoint for the rational entrepreneur. It allows you to think about what you might need before you actually need it. – Philip Delves Broughton

Exploiting Opportunity. The Struggle. Elon Musk was in bad financial shape in the end of 2008. He had ventured into SpaceX and Tesla. At that time, he thought he was doomed. Thankfully, his investors bailed him out at the last minute. Then SpaceX won a billion dollar contract with NASA. He managed to pull it off. Musk has a tremendous ability to take pain and be hyper-rational about decision making. Failure might inevitably set it for an entrepreneur. Most people are not strong enough to overcome their struggle.

Being and Becoming. Those who have followed Elon would have earned rewards. His engineers would work all day and night. The work culture was addictive. They also were ingenious and could improvise at rates inconceivable at larger companies. They managed to build engine within 3 days. They built rockets from scratch. Falcon 1 failed in 2006. Musk painted them an image that their work was worthwhile.

SpaceX is in this for the long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work. – Elon Musk

It is the difficulty of entrepreneurship that leads to the fullest imaginable life. Work provides the framework for self-discovery, for finding out who we can be when we meet great challenges. – Philip Delves Broughton

Failure 1 and Failure 2. There are two types of failures, there are trivial failures and soul-shaking ones. Failure 1 are failures intrinsic to the scientific method. However, this eliminates one possibility. This is like one of the materials that won’t cause the lightbulb to light. Nowadays, you can start something off as a prototype and gain traction. However, iteration is important and iteration is a form of beauty in itself. Failure 2 are those that tests you as a person. An example of this is being on the verge of bankruptcy and emerging from the abyss. You don’t want to mess around with Failure 2s.

Most attempts fail not because of lack of brains but because the investigator gets stuck in a cul-de-sac or gives up too soon – Francis Crick

Indifference and Lightness. Stoics recommend we contemplate the worst possible experiences in life. Always anticipate the worst. Seneca was a famous stoic. Zen is a form of emotional therapy which is useful too. Steve Jobs established Apple University. It was a leadership programme. Steve Jobs’ character defined Apple. They were focused on good design. Jobs was fascinated with Zen Buddhism. For people to practice this, the past does not matter. Building a business was for the passionate and persistent. Learn to trust your gut. Value your loss as it gives you time to work on your work and family. Sometimes, you will meet success along unconventional paths. The rewards of the work matter little to the work itself.

To think like an entrepreneur is to think in terms of change, often dramatic change. And to change anything, one must move lightly, unburdened by the drab expectations of others. – Philip Delves Broughton

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Quitter by Jon Acuff (Part 2)

Falling in Like With a Job You Don’t Love. In the past, I was obsessed over quitting my job. Later on, people encouraged me to quit because of my dreams. Quitting your day job is not fulfilling the American dream. People assume your dream is more lucrative. However, writing doesn’t pay well. Dreams rarely pay well at the start. Your dream needs time to incubate. It takes very long indeed. Without incubation time, it will die. Keeping at a day job allowed my dream to have incubation time. What you do in one area of your life will affect the other areas too. Your work attitude tends to follow you home too. Remember why you work. I work to support my family. When you chase your dreams, sometimes you become selfish in your ways. Look for parallels. Starbucks is going to teach you accounting, marketing etc. You can learn from any job you have. Learn to start small and work from there. Look for purpose. Ask how can your day job benefit your dream job and vice versa. How can your chase for your dream job positively affect your day job? People was my purpose. Every dream involves people. You can definitely find purpose in your day job. Do not ever steal from work. This means working on your personal goals while at work. You are supposed to do work in your job description. One way to overcome this is to work very hard in your weekday evenings on your dream so you won’t feel pressed for time. Another way is to take on more assignments at work. Your employers didn’t pay you to work on your dream during working hours. Be honest and diligent with your day job hours. Think of your job as your adversary, not your advocate is a screwed up way of thinking. Protect the way you look at your boss and your company. The next wrong way is to demand that your job meet the needs of your dream. You are not entitled to anything.

The truth is, we need to learn to fall in like with a job we don’t live because it’s actually the best way to set up your dream for success. – Jon Acuff

Bad employees make horrible dreamers. You can’t loaf on your day job all week and then expect to magically throw the switch on the weekend and hustle on your dream. The things you do on your day job tend to follow you home. – Jon Acuff

We get really focused on our own stuff and our own dreams and we lose sight of the many, many reasons it is critical that you do great work at your day job. – Jon Acuff

The romantic way too look at it is that my dream job bled over into my day job. The candid way to look at it is that I was stealing from work. When you do your dream on work time, that’s stealing from your employer. – Jon Acuff

Wait on the Main Stage. We have to get on the main stage. It can be very nervous to speak on the main stage. To many, speaking at a lab is a failure. However, we all need to speak on the side before moving to the main stage. Plans are important, however, do not plan too much. Plans always change and they are fluid. The problem are that plans are too vague and no detailed steps are necessary. It’s like soccer, you can’t plan for everything as every moment is different. There are too many variables in life. You will not be able to script every detail. You do not need a plan. You need passion to drive you forward. The second thing you need is practice. You must show up every day and make it a habit. Just keep practising and practising. The conditions of your dream will change all the time. We like to see the underdog defeat the best. It is like David and Goliath. When you are small, nobody likes and respects you. Developing our dream job is more about hard work rather than grand moments in life. Start small and go along the way. We all need the gift of invisibility at the start. It’s harder to take risks when many people are watching you. Anonymity is the best because you have nothing to lose. You are a free man. Cherish it while it is still around.

Focus on your passion first. Your passion will always fuel your plan. Rarely will a plan fuel a passion. It will contribute. It will shape it. It will most certainly help it. – Jon Acuff

There Will Be Hustle. I have never taken blogging seriously. Things worked out because I hustled. Our desire to complicate matters is because we are lazy and fearful. Hustle is not hard. Sometimes, you will have to do the things you don’t enjoy. Dreams start in the morning. When you wake up, this is the best time to hustle. You don’t have excuses in the morning. One tends to have less excuses in the morning. When you start on your dreams in the morning, it will leave you happier throughout the day. As you grow older, you waste less time. It will force you to prioritize. The clue is to do more of the things you love and less of the things you like. Chasing your dreams isn’t all rosy and shit. The more you practice, the better you become. There is a lot of practice involved. Put quantity before quality. You have to learn 3 things about people. They won’t pay for what they can get for free. You will have to differentiate the product before they will pay. You have to weigh the long-term benefits of doing something for free. If there is a bigger gain from you not charging at speaking events, then don’t charge. Free pays dividends towards expertise. Doing stuff for free improves your exposure. Competition can be a big motivator but it is not a good measurement tool. If you feel you are better than your competitor, then you will get complacent. If you realize how much your opponent is better than you, you will get discouraged. Try not to measure your dream against someone else’s dream. Blog stats could be one potential measure. Your message must stay true to yourself. The best measure is the amount of work you have put in. This is the factor which you can control. Measure the number of days which you woke up early.

I love the title Quitter but still think that a core element holding this entire book together is a need to hustle. To push harder than the other person. To dream further. To work longer and faster. – Jon Acuff

Hustle is not hard. If you write your blog every day, at the end of the year you will have more readers than when you started. If you get up early and work on your dream two hours more than somebody else, your dream will progress faster. – Jon Acuff

The reality is that when you get busy doing the things that matter to you, you actually have more time to do the things you love and less time to do the things you like. – Jon Acuff

Learn to Be Successful at Success. You do not become an overnight celebrity. Do not misinterpret what success looked like for a dream. Success is the Bermuda Triangle of dreams. There are challenges associated with success too. Another problem is that we get arrogant. Overconfidence is scary. Do not let success kill your dream. Learn to define what is ‘enough’. You can send future emails to yourself. Write yourself a letter in the future. Success will often tell you that it is never enough and that you should strive even more. Define your enough. It is important not to burn out. You must always invest in relationships or they will die. Burn your dream bright but do not burnout. Please understand that the land of later is a myth. Kids do not believe in later. There will always be trade-offs. It is important to spend time with your family and kids too. Don’t turn your platform into a prison. Learn to have multi-generation dreams. Build a legacy that is bigger than individuals’ lives and actions. If you have a dream, share it with others. Do not take on opportunities which are not linked to your dream. Avoid saying yes to the wrong things.

Quit Your Day Job. I left my day job. My boss expected it. How do you know you’re really ready to leave? Learn to fill up this scorecard. 1) You have worked hard on your dream for more than a month/ a few months. Please understand that not everyone needs to quit their day job. The author had 6 reasons for quitting his day job. They are 1) He had somewhere to land. Next, the opportunity fit our opportunity filter. The author tested the dream before he quit. It is important to practice what you want to do with your life. I had a support network. We could afford to move. God seemed cool with our dream. It is important to establish some important ground rules. Share the rules and others hold you accountable. Make a list of risks that might appear after you leave your day job. Friendships might take long to form. In addition, you might be required to travel more. Money could be an issue too. You might need to pay rent for a home. We really can’t have two different versions of ourselves ‘work me’ and ‘life me’. To some extent, your work defines you. You think your job just funds the rest of your life. This cheapens the value of work. Some people think work is never meant to be fulfilling. There will always be hard and difficult moments at work. However, you have to do things you don’t necessarily enjoy at times. However, work can be fun sometimes. A menial task has meaning too.

You can’t spend 40 hours a week doing something and think it won’t impact you. You can’t spend half of your waking hours somewhere and think it doesn’t affect you. You can’t make a perfectly clean break between your life inside and outside work. – Jon Acuff

You can fake that you love your job for months, maybe even years, convincing everyone you work with that you care about the company, the business or the job. But your apathy for a job always comes out eventually. – Jon Acuff

If you quit your job without understanding why you’re quitting, you’ll just jump from job to job to job. You’ll become a serial quitter like I was. The things you didn’t like at the job before will show up in your next job. And the next. The common denominator in every bad job you’ve quit is you. – Jon Acuff

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