Last year I was restructuring my company and eventually selling it.
I obsessed about doing the best possible work I could. I scheduled every minute of my day for anything that seemed useful — anything that would make me feel worthy and help me avoid any shame for being lazy.
But at some point, it didn’t matter how hard I worked anymore.
I was exhausted. My sense of self-worth was dropping, and my motivation plummeted. Once in this cycle of doom, it was hard for me to get out.
I wanted the confidence and clarity of whether I was on…
My former coach once told me the real meaning of my job title “CEO:” Customers, Employees, Owners. He said it was my duty to make all three happy.
But doing this is not that hard. Instead, it’s extremely hard.
Successful entrepreneurs must beat the odds and rise to the top among all the other start-ups that fail. We have incredible pressure to outperform our competitors — who are trying to outperform us. So we are going to push harder than ever to get what we want.
But in the end, we won’t make everyone happy.
People will disagree with us…
Never trust a salesperson.
When I was nine, I watched my mother yell at a salesman who knowingly sold her a broken washing machine and didn’t want to take it back. He grinned, and told her to piss off: “You broke it yourself.”
I just stood there sobbing as I saw my mother being treated with utmost injustice. That day, I promised myself never to get fooled by a salesman.
Fast-forward 20 years: with a Ph.D. in business and solid experience from a renowned management consulting firm, I became the founder and CEO of a growing multi-million-dollar-funded tech startup.
When I start a project, I feel like I have all the time in the world to finish it. Until one day I wake up to a terrorizing thought that the deadline is only three days away.
In the words of investor Marc Andreessen, you only ever experience two emotions running a start-up: euphoria and terror. And the lack of sleep enhances them both.
And hell, do I get terrified when we approach a deadline. In our team, we call time-critical projects the “trains of death.” …
In the movie “Who Am I,” Jackie Chan slides down a 24-story building in his death-defying scene. The craziest part? He did it completely unassisted.
The charismatic Hollywood actor Jackie Chan plans and performs his spectacular parkour moves, jump sequences, and mind-blowing fighting scenes by himself. He is his own stuntman.
Although he broke nearly every bone in his body throughout his movie career, he continues to risk his life just to keep his viewers on the edge of their seats.
The media calls him fearless.
But the legendary superstar was born neither privileged nor fearless. …
My heart trembled when I read the Forbes headline “3D Printing Company MakerBot Acquired in $604 Million Deal.” The founder and CEO of Makerbot, former primary school art teacher Bre Pettis from New York, left his company a wealthy man.
While Bre Pettis was packing his suitcase full of cash in 2013, I was still struggling to pay my office rent.
But Bre and I had one grand thing in common. We both worked in one of the most hyped tech industries since the invention of the hammer. …
It was a fantastic summer day in our corporate lawyer’s office. I had just signed an investment deal securing millions of dollars for my start-up. A heavy thousand-dollar Montblanc ballpen was still lingering in my hand.
“You can keep it,” said one of the investors, waving his palm at the pen: “get used to the good things now.”
For six years before signing the deal, I wore a budget business suit and drove to my shabby office in my wife’s screeching old Peugeot every day.
Now, with enough cash in my company’s bank account, the idea to upgrade my lifestyle…
“Everything in life is a negotiation. Life is a negotiation.“ — Chris Voss from The Art of Negotiation.
As a founder and CEO of a recently acquired high-tech startup, I receive up to twenty requests in my inbox every day. Some of these requests end up in a negotiation. But some requests I grant right away for free.
It turns out that if we want things for free, we must follow a distinct set of three social rules — different from those that help us negotiate a deal. …
When I published my first non-fiction article, I was just a bored CEO who wanted to share his ideas with the world after selling his company.
But doodling dull prose no one cared about was not good enough for me. I wanted my ideas to reach readers’ minds and hearts. I wanted to write well by mastering the craft of a wordsmith.
So I immersed myself into popular writing guides, such as John Hart’s “A Writer’s Coach,” William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well,” and Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style.” Craving to pimp my writing game, I attended writing courses, studied…
Copyright lawyers have this joke: “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a copyright-protected picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.”
I didn’t laugh when I first read it because I am a chicken when it comes to taking legal risks.
But, as a writer, I still have to use images in every article to support my storytelling and to reach my audience. And for my recent post, I needed pictures of five entrepreneurial celebrities: Ben Horowitz, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, Cal Newport, and Darren Hardy.
I could grab some pictures from Instagram, Twitter, or a Newspaper…