Reading Design Observer: Everything I Know About Design I Learned from The Sopranos
I was struck by how many of the quotes he chose applied just as nicely to running your own start-up. With excuses to Beirut’s hard work at selecting these quotes (and do go read his original…)
On your userbase (and pricing):
“When you’re bleeding a guy, you don’t squeeze him dry right away. Contrarily, you let him do his bidding, suavely. So you can bleed him next week and the week after, at minimum.”
Pricing is tough. Your customer is your partner, and when your partner goes out of business, you go out of business. Anytime you find a way for your customer to make money and you take your piece of the action, that is better. More suave.
On creative blocks:
“My advice? Put that thing down awhile, we go get our joints copped, and tomorrow the words’ll come blowing out your ass.”
Paulie’s advice to frustrated amateur screenwriter Christopher: good advice for us all. When you are banging your head against the wall trying to work on the slide set, or the forecast, or whatever… sometimes walking away is the only answer. Getting your joint copped is a bonus.
Sometimes sitting and staring at a problem actually cannot produce the solution. (in my case, I’m blogging instead of working on my slides, and it’s loosening up my writing muscle, getting me warm.)
On professional behavior:
“You don’t think. You disrespect this place. That’s the reason why you were passed the fuck over.”
Some founders think they can go crazy because they are a wacky founder: goofy t-shirts, weird behavior, etc. Hey, you are the genius who founded this beauty! But if you don’t want to wake up morning to a freshly appointed CEO sitting in your chair the next morning, respect your board, respect your customers and respect the place. And always, always think. I don’t care what Blink taught you, thinking is still a useful skill.
“Fuckin’ expresso, cappucino. We invented this shit. And all these other cocksuckers are gettin’ rich off us.”
“Oh, again with the rape of the culture.”
Steal: good stuff everywhere, and you are dumb or proud or both if you don’t copy the good stuff. Every time I hear the story of Apple and Xerox parc and the mouse, the storyteller suggests Parc was the bad guy because they were too slow to do something with the cool item they had invented. The road to bankruptcy is paved with good intentions.
On the unintended consequences of technology:
“It sounds to me like Anthony Jr. may have stumbled onto existentialism.”
Those of us in the internet business have to remember we are not in control of the ‘net, nor our users, not the interactions between the two. The winners will ride those wild waves, handing over control as often as possible to the users and let tehm show us what we’ve built is really good for. 50 times more true for us platform-types.
“I came home one day, shot her four times. Twice in the head. Killed her aunt, too. I didn’t know she was there. And the mailman. At that point, I had to fully commit.”
This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. A start-up means you do not
* think about quitting
* think how nice the lunches are at google
* think about doing a little something on the side, for a couple bucks for a new ipod
* start another company (dilution is death)
You are in, or you are out, and if you are in, you are in all the way. Or else you might as well walk over to the toilet and empty your savings straight in.
“More harm is done by indecision than by wrong decision.”
Dang! Too true…