Zen

16 posts available


Eliminating Distractions

zen

When man’s primary job was to find a way to eat each day, distractions were probably not a big deal. Primitive man had no facebook, no twitter, no IM, no cell phone. He just had a rumbling in his stomach and the grim realization that either he found some food or he and possibly his family wouldn’t make it past winter.

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The Starbucks Paradox

zen

I would say in the past month I had been going to Starbucks an average of 4 times per week. One visit of $4.25 is easy enough to swallow, but when I started running the numbers, I was surprised to learn that $4.25 x 4 days per week x 52 weeks per year = are you telling me I spend almost $900/year sipping a latte?

I long ago realized that the value proposition of Starbucks is much more than just coffee. Howard Schultz’s original vision was not to “make premium coffee and earn a profit,” but to transport the community-ness of espresso cafes he saw in Italy to the USA, where he felt our society had only grown more isolated over time.

Abstract as it may be, I think the stores do ultimately deliver on that concept. I don’t go to Starbucks solely because I like the taste of my drink. I go with a colleague, we know the baristas, we see people we know, it’s close by, it takes about 15 minutes…and so on. Basically, it’s just kind of a nice way to take a break!

Nevertheless, I needed to cut down the frequency. So here’s the strange part.

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A Series of Stresses or A Series of Adventures

entrepreneurship zen

Although I love what I do, one of the more frustrating aspects of running a business is that YOU are always the bottleneck for everything. The reason we don’t produce sites faster is because I, personally, have to review them. The reason sales are at X but not Y is because I personally have not yet hired the right salesperson and because I personally am too busy to proactively follow up with every single lead. The reason we haven’t developed our new products faster is because I personally have to do some user interface designs but have been busy with other things.

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Honesty

general zen

Whew, it’s been a long time since I’ve written on this blog. Nearly 4 months!

I feel like I have so many things I’d like to write about, but one thing in particular seems to keep popping up these days: the idea of being honest with people.

Maybe it’s my nature, maybe it’s my upbringing, but I just really feel uncomfortable when I’m not being forthright with someone. If I feel like I’m withholding something or not disclosing something it makes me feel manipulative and uneasy. I feel like I have to just come out with the truth, all of it.

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Connecting with Your True Purpose

general zen

Okay, so watch this video for just a little bit before you continue reading:

One of the things I really love about music is that when we hear great music performed, we aren’t just hearing great music, we’re also hearing an individual who has risen to his or her full potential.

The guy in the video is of course Bono, U2’s lead singer. The song is “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” As you watch Bono singing to thousands of people, you can just tell that Bono has 150% embraced his role. You don’t get the feeling that he’s thinking “Gosh, am I enjoying singing this song? Is this really what I want to be doing with myself?” You can just tell that he is totally congruent with what he’s doing, and is expressing himself to his full potential. Sure enough, thousands of people came out to hear it.

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Sometimes, Actually Pursuing a Goal is the Worst Way to Achieve It

general zen

There’s a strange phenomenon I’ve discovered in business and in life: I call them “Counter-Goals”.

So what’s a Counter-Goal? Well, it’s a goal which is achieved best by not pursuing it in the first place. Huh?

Okay, an example. When I was in my first year at Wharton Undergrad, I took a class called Management 100. The concept of the course was (and probably still is) quite novel. I was a member of a group of 12 other freshmen, and as a group we were tasked with completing some kind of major project. One group had to build a playground. Another group had to hold a major fundraising event. Our goal happened to be teaching the basics of economics to sixth graders.

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