‘The process of coming into existence or prominence’
And that’s what the first post for 2024 is about.
For as long as I can remember I kept the headline on the front page: Emergence Through Creativity. And it’s part of the DNA. Not only from my activities but also how I operated in 2023 and continue to do so in 2024.
I never really explained how I got to this headline. But It was not something I wanted to explain in 2023.
2024 however makes a lot more sense for myself but I encourage others to take a closer look at their own trajectory and define the part where emergence comes into play.
There were dozens of items I talked about, deployed or started that didn’t make sense for the outside world. But that’s because I mainly only look at 24-36 months horizons. Patience is not a virtue in business, it’s a skill.
I Don’t Ship Fast
Lots of people go with a ship fast mentality to ‘validate’ their business but they more often than not abandon it as fast as they started.
And that’s a problem in my opinion. The mentality creeps up into different areas leading to wrong inputs, wrong decisions (or too early for that matter) and for me that does not display a sense of entrepreneurship, but rather a see what sticks at the wall kind of thing.
The problem with shipping fast is that you might skip or lack the fundamentals to survive long-term or fail to see that process of something that’s going into existence.
Yes, low-code and no-code tools made it a lot easier but it also made a lot of people lazy.
Lazy in the sense that lots of discipline gets lost into translation and that can lead to costing you your business or project.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against low-code or no-code tools but the newer gen thinks it’s a proven way to success.
However, there are a few things I want to point out.
Building A Business Is Not A Sprint
It’s not built overnight. The entire thing is a fucking marathon, but broken down in an endless log of shorter sprints that make it an actual marathon.
If you would look at every element of starting, building and growing a business then you soon realize it’s a clusterfuck.
The problem is never starting one, but the discipline of maintaining it and turn it into a net positive.
So I wanted to create a checklist for the readers I have/run to turn nothing into something.
My Actual Process
Every concept, idea or business goes by strict parameters. (I am not talking about the useless stuff) And I added my estimation of time attached to it.
- Research – Most of it is data driven because I have access to data that others do not. Takes me about 1 week up to 12 months before making proper conclusions. Time spent is dependent on the complexity and if I consider it a growth experiment or a major bet.
- Ideation – On paper/iPad Pro. But preferably paper notes first. Usually done during the research. Not lots of text but rather keywords. 2 days
- Transition – In Obsidian or another note taking tool. A more extended version of the ideation phase with a thesis behind it and resources collected 3-7 days
- Risk Evaluation – Risk aversion is critical. It determines how much variance I can expect in business or a particular project. This can go from time spent, economics, trend shifts, and so on. I have a set of risk parameters in a private playbook that help me determine to pull the trigger or not. If the number is under X — I will kill it. If over Y — I will deploy. 1 day
- Validation – And no, I don’t talk about validation through sales. I am asking external non-biased people (usually paid consulting) to strengthen my thesis or idea. If they agree with my perspective, that means research, ideation, transitions and risk are on point. If they can counter my thesis, I need to either question my own research or find the leaks. 2 days
- Execution – If I am on point through validation, I will build a framework and canvas to deploy a series of sprints on a 1-6 months timeline. Again dependent on the complexity.
I know before entering a build or business what my weaknesses are.
Some of them are found through the RITRVE process, but most of them are already known. Two critical pillars I have NO knowledge in is Development and Design.
So by nature, I know that I would have spend a lot more than a developer on a business or someone that is more skilled using no-code tools or low-code.
But is that really true?
I am no builder, and I cannot write a single line of code. And even no-code tools require a steep learning curve. But I do not consider both pillars a weakness.
In fact, I love not being able to code or to design. Because I can just off-set the MVP to someone else and pay for something tangible. But here are the main reasons why I never made serious attempts learning it.
When someone else is designing or building for me:
- I can map out my initial GTM strategy
- I can fine-tune copy and cold e-mail
- I can prepare the entire business and backend logistics
- I can build my marketing strategy, which is dependent per niche or vertical
- I can already work on content for SEO
- I can refine ICPs based on my RITRVE process
- I can build a roadmap on the commercial side
- I can start baking in contingencies
- I can set up a business framework
- I can think about onboarding and flows
- I can work on stress testing models
- I can work on financial trajectories
- I can deep dive into data
- I can think about customer success and retention
The list goes on. But the ones listed above are the ones I am preparing in ADVANCE before launching anything.
The difference is that I can do that when someone else is building it for me. If you’re the builder – you have a harder time catching up on that, unless you are super efficient in time management or skilled enough in the field you’re going to enter.
Because I am able to spend my entire focus on the actual side of business I don’t lose money. In fact, by outsourcing the MVP I am gaining. And I am also gaining momentum because I prepare distraction-free.
Whilst I would start at a net negative cash wise, the time spent on anything else makes up the difference. If I were to count my usual rate which is on average $700 USD per hour (I charge anywhere between $400 and $1000) and just spent 200 hours minimum in all of the above, I would have spent $140K in labor.
Whilst MVPs would cost me anywhere between $1K up to $20K, it’s only normal I would delegate the concept instead of building it myself.
I recognize that I will never be a fan of DIY coding, nor make serious attempts to learn enough to build something that can classify as an MVP so I have to make a trade-off which is perfectly fine.
Starting a business is also about making those trade-offs. And know when to make them.
Execution Eats Strategy
Yes. But that doesn’t mean I have to ship fast. Better prep in strategy will imply faster execution. More experience in both will accelerate you even faster.
Remember: ‘The process of coming into existence or prominence’
I can’t build or launch something decent with a clean strategy. I cannot turn nothing into something without execution. And I can definitely not succeed if I lack the fundamentals in starting a business.
Execution will eat strategy every single day of the week, but execution is tied to all the moving elements that turn that nothing into a business.
If you have leaks or weaknesses, then become more creative reaching those sprints. Make the much needed trade-offs in early-stage when you can afford to make them. Being resilient as an entrepreneur means also being able to react into dire situations. And that requires creativity.
Hence, Emergence Through Creativity.