What it shouldn’t be
Sometimes the best way to know what your product should be is to decide what it shouldn’t be.
When I started working on Routino, I knew that there were tons of personal health products already out there with millions of users. But instead of fearing any one of them, I used them to help define what Routino shouldn’t be.
Routino shouldn’t be for leveling up. It shouldn’t be for broadcasting personal bests, lifting more weight, or getting more points. It shouldn’t be for setting goals and reminding yourself to work harder when you fall behind schedule.
Routino should be for enjoying the process of taking care of yourself right now. It should be for finding new ways to connect with people you care about in the context of diet and exercise.
Use what you believe your product shouldn’t be to help you define what it should be.
How to think about anxiety
Think about anxiety as a choice.
I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life because I never thought about it that way.
I never thought about anxiety as a choice because I wanted to avoid being responsible for who I was close to and what I accomplished.
I wanted to avoid that responsibility because I wanted to protect myself from getting crushed. If I told myself that I was just an anxious person and there was nothing I could do about it, I’d never have to answer for ending up alone or going broke.
I used anxiety to always give me an out. It never helped me get what I really wanted, but at least it protected me from getting blamed for failing. Nobody blames a cripple, so I decided there was something fundamentally wrong with me. I decided I was too shy, too quiet, too introverted, too weird, and that’s just the way it is.
Here’s a good heuristic - if your explanation for an action is that there’s just something fundamentally wrong with you or someone else, you are making a mistake.
You only say something’s fundamentally wrong with you after you’ve chosen to avoid being responsible for the results.
You only say something’s fundamentally wrong with someone else after you’ve chosen to see in them something you hate about yourself.
If I had thought about anxiety as a choice, I could have chosen to feel anxious about getting what I really wanted. The people I’ve gotten close to and the missions I’ve accomplished are just the ones I chose to feel anxious about losing.
Don’t make the same mistake I did for so long. Don’t think about anxiety as a flaw you just can’t fix.
Think about anxiety as a choice, and make it work for you. It can be one of the most powerful impulses of the spirit.
Here’s a list of books I’d recommend to you. It’s a work in progress: http://macdilis.com/books
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Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition. A modern stoic knows that the surest way to discipline passion is to discipline time: decide what you want or ought to do during the day, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble.
Don’t treat new relationships like they’re smaller versions of good ones.
Good relationships require effort and attentiveness to continue. Effort and attentiveness strengthen the commitment each person has already made to each other.
New relationships require convenience and excitement to form. Convenience and excitement give each person a reason to start a new relationship when they both don’t have to do it.
In the past I’ve failed at building new relationships because I tried to build them with effort and attentiveness. I just did what people in good relationships did because I knew they had what I wanted.
You can’t get what you want by blindly imitating people who already have it. What they do now is completely different from what they had to do to get it.
Effort and attentiveness don’t strengthen new relationships - they make you look desperate to commit to someone you don’t really know, even if you know that you aren’t. People don’t trust an accommodating man with important things.
Convenience and excitement make it easy to start a new relationship when you don’t need it. They show that you have lots of other options and you’d be just fine without it, but it’s so easy and fun that you might as well try it. The rest takes care of itself.
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.