ᴅᴀᴠɪᴅ ᴘᴇʀᴇʟʟ ✌+ Your Authors @david_perell "The Writing Guy" | Host of the North Star Podcast: perell.com/podcast | Writing at perell.com/ | Teaching at writeofpassage.school/ Feb. 23, 2020 4 min read + Your Authors

My business is one-year-old now.

Here are 18 values for the kind of business we want to build:

1. Stay nimble: I want to keep the business small. I want to have a personal relationship with everybody I partner with. I have no plans for an IPO, so I'm here for the long-term.

2. Build for the long term: I want to build a business that lasts for decades. That means I have to make decisions on a long-term time frame and build a business that’s a joy to operate. It should be challenging, but meaningful. Then the business can become a compounding machine

3. Do what’s interesting: Rationality is a tool for optimization, not invention. I follow the compass of maximal interestingness. I do boring tasks, but only when I absolutely need to. I never work on boring projects. I only work on things that excite me and spark conversation.

4. Hire when it hurts: Resist the temptation to hire people. If there’s a problem, I try to solve it myself. If I need help with something, I look for a plug-and-play software product or build a checklist for a personal assistant to execute.


5. Quarterly Meetings: I tend to underestimate the benefits of planning. Commit to quarterly meetups to reflect and plan. Divide projects into small, week-by-week chunks. I check-in every week to confirm progress, but I avoid unnecessary meetings at all costs.

6. Knowledge Management: Personal and organizational knowledge management is a competitive advantage. Everybody in the business must be an expert on our shared knowledge base and develop their own knowledge management system. This is priority #1 for new full-time hires.

7. Build Once, Benefit Forever: I make things that stand the test of time. I only publish articles that will be relevant in ten years. Inside the business, I build re-usable systems that I can share with students, readers, and friends of the business.

8. Differentiate: The economy is bigger than you can possibly imagine. Avoid competition. I pick distinct slices of the economic pie, define my vision for improving it, and build a product unlike anything else on the market. Differentiation is free marketing, especially online.

9. Share our story: Everybody in the business is encouraged to write online. By sharing our knowledge, we help other people build their businesses and build a distribution advantage for ourselves. By sharing valuable information, we attract loyal students and employees.

10. Community Effects: Don’t just build products. Build communities. Like Network Effects, communities get exponentially stronger when the right kinds of people join. We measure our success by the number of friendships we create.


11. Remote-First: We hire from a global pool of talent and find employees ourselves. We look for under-rated signals of talent, such as well-written personal blogs. People find us by writing online, taking our courses, and pursuing their craft with soul, spirit, and tenacity.

12. Software-first: We live in the Age of Leverage. Information spreads at zero-marginal cost, so you can reach anyone on Earth with an Internet connection — 24/7. We embrace the gifts of software and smartphones, and use them to create serendipity and economic opportunity.

13. Profit from the start: Cash is the blood of a business. Profit allows us to treat employees exceptionally, enjoy running the business, and reinvest in the business so we can better serve our students. When we launch a new venture, it should have a clear path to profitability.

14. Work with obsessives: I want to partner with artists — high-agency dreamers with loud imaginations and bold beliefs about the future. We give them the freedom to eat, sleep, and breathe their craft with vigor. Instead of work-life balance, we pursue work-life integration.

15. Write it up: Thinking well is a competitive advantage for a company. We write consistently in order to think well. The more we write about our thinking, the farther our thinking will travel and the better our decisions will become. And we publish our best thinking in public.

16. Teaching is Marketing: We open-source our strategy. First, we learn as much as we can. Then, we share the best of what we learn. Through Twitter threads like this, we attract like-minded people, build trust at scale, and create serendipity for ourselves.

17. Remember the Deli Shop: The workers at a good deli shop know your name and remember your order. They have quirky decorations and memorable names for their sandwiches. They treat customers well, and assume long-term relationships with them.

18. Citizens of the Internet: The Internet isn’t just a new technology. It’s a new way of life. Like electricity in the 20th century, software in the 21st century will impact every aspect of human life. With software and education, we help people become citizens of the Internet.

This thread was inspired by @dhh and @JasonFried. I read this book in 24 hours, and it's going to be my go-to read as I build this business.

Big thanks to @BrentBeshore, @Austin_Rief, @ForteLabs, and @AWilkinson who also inspired these thoughts.



I'm going to publish an extended article in my newsletter on Monday. In it, I'll share my philosophy of experimentation and share my go-to tactics for knowledge management.


Experiment: We pursue a collection of projects with big upside and low downside. These experiments are low-cost and low-risk because they are independent from the core business and do not threaten its survival.

Full article below, with some new ideas.


You can follow @david_perell.


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