The simple rule for start-up survival is to focus on the 80/20 rule – the 20 percent of tasks that generate 80 percent of the benefit.
My first year at business school, I thought my professors were trying to kill me. Each night, I had more reading and homework than could possibly get done in one evening even if I stayed up all night. I quickly realised that one of the key lessons of survival was prioritisation – figuring out what portion of the work was most important and what just was not going to get done.
I remember one night, working on a term paper with a group of students. We had worked hard on the paper and we all thought it was in good shape. We had other work to complete that night and were not anxious to pull an all-nighter so we were ready to move on. One of the team members, however, felt it was not “A” material and wanted to keep working on it. I remember thinking even back then that this guy did not “get it.”
My life in start-ups has been the same experience as business school. To survive and flourish, you have to quickly figure out what is “important” and what is “noise.” You can’t do it all…
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