Focus on the right things for yourself
💡JC’s Newsletter #132
In JC’s Newsletter, I share the articles, documentaries, and books that I enjoyed the most in the last week, with some comments on how we relate to them at Alan. I do not endorse all the articles I share, they are up for debate.
I’m doing it because a) I love reading, it is the way that I get most of my ideas, b) I’m already sharing those ideas with my team, and c) I would love to get your perspective on those.
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👉 Okta CEO: Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Startup (Future)
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about work-life balance, and I think the sentiment is well intentioned, but it overlooks a key opportunity. Running a company is hard as hell. Even in good times, it can be a grind. It’s definitely critical to carve out personal time, but you should also think about ways to bring more of your life into your work. I like to think of it as work-life integration.
➡️ That is something I share often internally too!
Building a company is very hard:
The rigors of startup life are certainly difficult in the beginning. Unfortunately, they’re also difficult in the middle, and even after you’ve gone public.
My company brings in more than $1 billion dollars a year in revenue, and yet I still wake up in the middle of the night obsessing over work.
Take care of yourself:
Follow the “oxygen mask” rule. You know the old flight-safety advisory: “Place your mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” You can’t help your company if you’re not able to perform at your best.
Create routines to stay physically, emotionally, and mentally fit.
Startup founders tend to be competitive. Of course they want to know how they stack up. But there’s no single roadmap to success. Every company is different. Consumer companies are different from enterprise ones.
Startups selling to small businesses will grow differently than those selling into the Fortune 100.
It’s useless to compare other startups’ performance to yours. It might give you the illusion that you are assembling some kind of useful insight. But you’re not. It’s a waste of time – time that you don’t have to waste.
Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing or how they’re performing. Just focus on your own road, your own race.
➡️ We focus on our own road. We only use other companies as a mean to foster creativity.
Focus on the right things:
Building a startup really is a marathon. A trade-off now in favor of everyone’s physical and mental health will pay dividends down the road. Don’t drop the big stuff: the numbers you have to hit for the year, the money you have to raise in the next round, the international office you have to open in three months. But the smaller stuff ? Every now and then, give yourself permission to let things slide.
🏯 Building yourself and focusing on the right things
👉 Brain Food: Active Patience (Farnam Street)
“Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength.” ― Bruce Lee.
People wait in different ways. Some are passive. Others are active.
Active patience demands action and intention, even while waiting for results. Active patience means not only applying for the promotion but taking your time to build the skills you need to put yourself in the best position to succeed. Active patience means starting the business, writing the book, going after the love of your life.
Active patience puts you in the best position to get what you want. There is almost always an action you can take to improve the odds.
Active in the moment but patient with the results.
👉 The Ultimate Guide to Running Executive Meetings–25 Tips from Top Startup Leaders (First Round Review)
Adjusting your perspective to realize how much time you're sinking into the weekly meeting with your top executives — and recasting it as a team-building exercise — is important.
A few of the tips from C-suite folks at top startups like Superhuman, Asana, Lattice on how to run executive meetings may contradict each other. Some advocate for bringing in guest speakers from across the org, others always stick to just the executive team. Some leaders prefer to carve out time to review the KPI dashboard, others would rather focus on topics that can’t be covered asynchronously.
“Folks who are leading larger orgs sometimes feel like they don’t have peers in the same way as when you’re on a specific functional team as an IC,” he says. “When we eventually formalized the exec team and started having team meetings and events, it helped our execs realize they have a peer group at SeatGeek rather than being on an island alone.”
➡️ I hope the micro-offsites, the business reviews, pairing will help solve that feeling.
“We focus on the headwinds and tailwinds for the business across each department. Rather than the exec meeting being a decision-making meeting, we use it as a triage meeting”
That means figuring out the next steps to tackle the problem more in-depth and who to loop in from across the organization.
➡️ Each week ask senior Alaners what are the top problems to solve for the company.
👉 Brain Food : Faulty Narratives (Farnam Street)
"There’s a tradeoff between the energy put into explaining an idea, and the energy needed to understand it.
On one extreme, the explainer can painstakingly craft a beautiful explanation, leading their audience to understanding without even realizing it could have been difficult. On the other extreme, the explainer can do the absolute minimum and abandon their audience to struggle"" — Debt
➡️ It is important in our GitHub issues (our asynchronous meetings), to put yourself in the shoes of other stakeholders when sharing an idea to make it easy to digest and comprehend.
➡️ If you are pushing an intuition you want to test, state it clearly and how it is going to be tested and how accountable you are for the test.
👉 Brain Food: Quitting to Win (Farnam Street)
One big mistake people repeatedly make is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome. This is the wrong side of right.
“I notice that when all a man's information is confined to the field in which he is working, the work is never as good as it ought to be. A man has to get a perspective, and he can get it from books or from people — preferably from both.”
👉 Why B2C2B will be the future go-to-market strategy for virtual care (MobiHealthNews)
The Achilles heel of digital health has always been the go-to-market strategy.
Most went to payers directly, self-insured employers included, and sold them a new product to offer to their members. After the B2B contracting was complete, these companies were allowed to market to the members of the payer included under the contract, adding the 2C in B2B2C.
The digital health B2B2C market exists because new digital health companies needed a way to get paid by payers, but also needed to go around the rigid benefit categorizations and benefit designs implemented by payers and plans.
Sometimes these companies got paid a small amount per employee or member, regardless of whether anyone actually used the product or service. This approach was really pioneered by Teladoc the Great, which made the most money of any company in history relative to actual use of their product. Most often payment was somehow tied to enrollment, or engagement, or even a real outcome like weight loss.
Some might think B2B2C is the path to riches and $17B exits, and it will be the way for some, but the truth is that B2B2C can be a slog where you often do not control your main lever of growth, and thus, revenue.
We are about to see a proliferation of virtual care companies formed, funded and launched, and many of these will attempt this new B2C2B go-to-market strategy.
With this direct acquisition model, we will see a lot of condition-based virtual-first solutions and offerings targeting specific populations.
➡️ That is why we started by building an insurance company, to control our destiny.
👉 Marigold Health, a digital peer support platform for mental health, raised $6 million. Link.
➡️ Did we check the product? What do you think about peer support?
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