It’s been a year since I got really active on Twitter. As a thank you to the 12,356 people who’ve made the serious life error of following me, here are my 26 most contrarian/unique ideas. A thread for you.
1- Most people asking for advice really don’t want advice. They want confirmation on what they’re already thinking. Yucky, I know — but I’ve seen it dozens if not hundreds of times when people ask for mentoring.
2- You don’t *have* to move to Miami/SF/NY/LA to do great things. This used to be the case for the majority of careers, but it’s now entirely possible to dream and deliver big while living anywhere with an internet connection.
3- The best networking is actually just doing cool shit. All those gimmicky stories about how a magic email made a miracle are exception rather than rule. Better is just go out and do some cool things. It attracts winners to you organically because winners attract winners.
4- Successful people are both incredibly hard-working and incredibly lazy. Hard-working in that they really care and put in the work and sacrifice to achieve their goals. Lazy in that they’re always figuring out how to do things more efficiently or automating them.
5- Always run your business like a business. You can play games using company money for personal expenses like a “company boat.” What’s saved in taxes by these dumb schemes is dwarfed by the cost of having an unprofessional company culture.
6- Most people are 1/10th as prolific as they should be. It’s hard to predict what will work. Pick up a songbook of The Beatles. You’ll see that John+Paul wrote a ton of shitty songs for every Hey Jude. You should be placing a ton more small bets, then pursuing the winners.
7-If an industry is made up of mediocre talent, odds are it’s a crap industry to be in. The crowds are pretty smart and they have a habit of following the greatest opportunity with the least pain in the ass. Beware.
8- Every bankrupt person I know has owned a boat.
9- If you can pick a business, pick one with recurring revenue. It’s much, much easier to keep a customer than to find a new one. And project-based work sucks.
10- The truly rich people actually worth 10s of millions rarely go around telling everyone about it. Most of them look like pretty normal joes. Someone rubbing their wealth in your face is either an asshole or trying to sell you something.
11- Most entrepreneurs fail because they don’t understand what business they’re actually in. Restaurants aren’t actually in the food business, for example. They’re often in the “give mom a night off” business or the “help someone impress their date” business.
12- If you haven’t started and/or operated a small business, you shouldn’t try to buy one — especially with other people’s money.
13- Look for job applicants who grew up in places with bad weather. Those people usually know how to put in the work.
14- You’re likely not the very best person in the world to run your business. The *only* thing you have that is a unique advantage is that you own it. Beyond that, there is always someone smarter or more talented for you to potentially hire to replace yourself as CEO.
15- Want to be happier? Decide not to be offended all the time.
16- Being smart in one thing doesn’t mean you’re smart in other things. It’s entirely possible to be an exception, but you know what they say about the sun and dog’s bottoms.
17- Capital constraints forge better companies. You think money constraints are holding you back but they’re actually making you better. Limited money? Great, you get efficient as possible and therefore competitive. Otherwise, you just get fat and bloated — and doomed.
18- You get to decide if you’re happy or not by controlling your thoughts. This is called mindfulness. If you haven’t studied the concept, you should. Am I happy? Hell yes. Why? Because I decided I am happy. Unless you’re mentally ill, it’s that simple.
19- People radically undervalue reputations. Protect yours. And if something could maybe be seen as shady, don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
20- People undervalue nonverbal communication. Body language, how you dress, your level of fitness, personal grooming, smiling at coworkers — they all are sending messages. The question is: are those the messages you want to send or not?
21- Time spent solving already “solved” business problems is time wasted. If someone has made a great system for hiring, strategy, or customer sat, etc then why create your own bullshit process? Just use the best of breed and work on the unique problems in your company.
22- One can found a company without taking an active role after ideation and have that company succeed. Silicon Valley loves the “cult of the founder.” While it may be true for VC startups, the world has shown the opposite can work.
23- American governmental policies are to blame for the eroding competitiveness of the American worker. We’re underinvesting in education and have tax policies that encourage offshoring of jobs. The problem is staring us right in the face — and is unfair to US workers.
24- Building a social media profile isn’t a waste of time. While this isn’t contrarian to someone already on twitter, most people my age (mid-40s) think it’s a waste of time. If only they knew!
25- You can rigorously sort people’s thinking patterns fairly accurately to help in building great teams. Personality assessment tools are widely panned, but the good ones actually do work — assuming they’re based on real science (unlike Meyers-Briggs, which is snake oil.).
26- DMs become more of a cesspool the more followers you get. They say the “magic happens in the DMs” but frankly, that’s just wrong for most DMs* *unless you’re on Twitter to sell something, then I totally get it.
And that’s it! Thanks for being part of this journey on Twitter with me for the last year. Looking forward to another year!