Live in the future, then build what’s missing

samfloy~15 February 2020 /Random

One evening this week I got chatting with a friend about what business/ freelancing ideas he could do.

He’d been spending a lot of time lately getting inspiration on the latest “no code” technologies (i.e. how to build apps without being a coder) and subscribing to cutting edge services being developed out of Silicon Valley.

It reminded us of the quote:

“live in the future, then build what’s missing”

Paul Graham

The quote comes from the venerated start up veteran behind some of the biggest start ups of the past decade.

The full essay is here (the rest of his essays are worth reading too).

My friend was saying how the founding story for most new technologies these days is:

  1. Someone spends their days working in a tech start up that pushes the boundaries in one domain
  2. This gives them a vantage point for how the world will change in other (tangential) domains
  3. They leave the start up to focus on the new problem they see coming down the road

With most of this work being concentrated in places like Silicon Valley, it ends up being the place for people to go to develop new ideas.

My friend is trying to get a similar “Silicon Valley vantage point” from Copenhagen and then build things here.

Start, scale or sustain?

This reminded me of another conversation I’d had a while back about what part of working on a business/ idea interests you most.

Each has pros/ cons and can be an interesting exercise to reveal what role you should play in a company, or what types of partners you should find when working on a project.

For example, you may like starting an idea but the joy gets lost once you have to do the work to put it into practice. You’d rather move on to figuring out the next challenge.

For others, that’s just the moment they want to get involved! For them, they’re less interested figuring out exactly what the idea is, but instead want to know how to scale it up.

People who like sustaining things will be drawn to seeing something that clearly works and making sure it keeps on doing so. For startersscalers that doesn’t sound like fun, but sustainers see that as the real value in the process.

Which of these do you feel most aligned to? Do you feel you’re working on the right stage of an idea in whatever projects you’re currently doing?

As ever, it’d be great to hear your thoughts on the above.

In other news…

I’ve recently done a redesign of my website, including converting a number of these newsletters into blog posts 

You can have a look through them here:

If you have any feedback on any of it that you’re willing to share, then do let me know, I’d really appreciate it. 

This post originally featured in the newsletter I write. If you’d like to sign up to receive it at the start of each month, you can do so below: