the worst business advice i’ve received

Really bad advice is just great advice in reverse.

(To protect the identities of the following well-intentioned bozos and mogul wannabes, names are being withheld.)

Constantly innovate.

I live to innovate. It’s one of my favourite practices. Howevah…innovation for the sake of innovation is masturbation. Innovation fascination can distract you from what’s already really working. It’s disruptive by nature. The pursuit of new n’ flashy can block you from going from good to great.

Once you have lots of online traffic, then you can figure how to monetize it.

That only works if you’re playing a very big league game, and you have stupid amounts of time and money to burn through. And even then it’s incredibly risky. For the rest of us babies, we need to stick to making stuff that people want to pay for—immediately.

Take the money.

Most of the time (not all the time) the source of the money is as important as the money itself. When you’re the start-up beggar, it’s tough to be choosy. But remember the rules of nature: otherwise cute and friendly animals tend to get vicious when their territory or uh, nuts are threatened. Hang with friendly creatures.

Leave your emotions out of it.

I had an investor tell me to calm down when (unbeknown to him but very known by me,) the hired fox was robbing the hen house we’d all invested in. And I, being the Head Hen n’ all, had my feathers very appropriately ruffled.

“Look, the best thing for you to do is leave your emotions out of this, Danielle,” Dudeboy told me, rubbing the key to his Mercedes and twisting his espresso cup round in the saucer.

Sad but true, this tends to be a male/female thing. A Dudeboy gets angry and it’s cool, it’s warranted. A Chickwoman gets pissed and she’s just “freaking out.” Men go by their “instincts.” Women follow their “emotions.” Same thing, asshole.

In a quagmire of politics, my “emotions” were the most effective radar system I had—my “emotions” were telling me exactly what was going on, before it could be proved. You can let your emotions rule without over-ruling your good sense and integrity.

Just do one big thing at a time.

When it comes to actual time management I’m a big fan of focus. You need to tune out Twitter and email to make some creative, productive headway.

But in terms of overall development strategy and creativity, the singular focus route has never worked for me. I just can’t do one project at a time. I need to feed different parts of my brain and spirit. And with more than one iron in the creative fire, the fire just gets higher.

It doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

Screw that! It matters. A lot.


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