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Falling in love – again – with your mission

Francisco Homem de Mello

This is a sample of Unlocking Potential: my newsletter about how to unlock your potential – and that of your team. Views are my own, and do not represent Qulture.Rocks’ views in any shape or form. The newsletter goes out weekly(ish) and you can subscribe to it here.


Howdie,

How are things on your end? All good over here ???? 

About a year and a half ago, while living in SF for YC W18, I listened to an episode of Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale with Evan Williams, cofounder of Medium. In it, Hoffman says[1]:

… Ev launched his third venture: Medium, a one-stop shop for every thoughtful, medium-length article online. Medium is Ev’s third attempt to reinvent the world of self-publishing in his long, but not so winding career. Make no mistake — while a career that twists and turns and nearly flies over a cliff is certainly fun to watch — it’s not necessarily the path you should follow. In fact, if you’re a thoughtful, reflective, mission driven entrepreneur, like Ev, you may find yourself chasing the same big idea. Again and again, you return to it, sometimes wittingly, sometimes unwittingly.

– Ev Williams

If you don’t know Williams’ story, he’s the cofounder of Medium, Twitter, and Blogger. All companies on a mission to help us broadcast our thoughts, albeit in different ways, shapes, and forms.

I’ve thought about this interview a lot.

Whenever I’m going through tough times, I – like 100% of other entrepreneurs – consider what life would look like if I wasn’t running my startup. What if we sold the company? What would I do the next day?

What’s really interesting – and comforting – is that these exercises invariably take me back to where I am.

Whenever I think about day 1 after an exit, I imagine maybe two weeks of vacation and then calling my teammates at Qulture.Rocks to build another SaaS company. And when I think of what type of SaaS it’d be (that’s where Ev Williams’ interview fits into this subject) I inevitably think we’d tackle the same problem we’re tackling at Qulture.Rocks, which is to unlock people’s and organizations’ potentials.

I have been focused on essentially the same problem throughout most of my career.

– Ev Williams

This single-mindedness about our mission got me thinking about what made me love it so much. What made me feel that it’s my life’s mission.

Falling in love – again – with our mission

What made me start Qulture.Rocks was the pain I felt as an individual contributor, but more importantly, as someone else’s direct report. It had to do with leadership (or the lack of it); with not feeling I had leaders that were motivated and/or equipped to do their jobs. Some of these people didn’t want to deal with people; some thought it was a less-than-noble job, compared to doing deals or handling customers.

Then I started Qulture.Rocks, and became a leader myself. And after almost 5 years in, I can tell you I’m even more thrilled to see this problem from the other side of the table. It’s just amazing to appreciate such a tough challenge from all sides, as a leader, as a CEO, and as a shareholder. It’s just so much more intricate than what it looked like back when I was an IC, focusing narrowly on my own problems and wants and needs.

… you shouldn’t feel fatigued by the repetition. Instead, you should celebrate your single-mindedness, your focus. I believe you can never know the full reach of your first idea. It could span your entire career.

– Reid Hoffman

Being a founder and CEO got me in love all over again with the problems we’re solving at Qulture.Rocks, in a way that feels that this is my life’s professional mission. And I think that’s great. Knowing I’m right where I should be gives me staying power for the long run. Makes me really think this is Day 1 of my journey. And since I am convicted great things take long to mature, I’m also grateful for the amazing competitive advantage I have in making a dent on this space.


Recommended readings:

This article has some interesting points about why big companies become disconnected to customer needs. I don’t agree with his line of reasoning, but it has interesting thoughts.

This one talks about “Superhuman onboarding”, a theme we’ve already discussed.

You probably already know about Farnam Street’s blog, podcast, and newsletter. Did you know 3555 Farnam St, Blackstone, Omaha is Berkshire Hathaway’s address? Now you have a cocktail bomb to drop.

Farnam Street talks a lot about Peter Bevelin. He’s got some really interesting books!


That’s it for today. I hope this helps you unlock your potential ????

How am I doin’?

Cheers and have a good week,

Kiko

[1] Here’s a transcript of the interview.