Falling in love - again - with your mission

A newsletter by me, Kiko Homem de Mello, CEO of Qulture.Rocks

Howdie,

How are things on your end? All good over here 🙌 

About a year and a half ago, while living in SF for YC W18, I listened to an episode of Reid Hoffman's Masters of Scale with Evan Williams, cofounder of Medium. In it, Hoffman says[1]:

… Ev launched his third venture: Medium, a one-stop shop for every thoughtful, medium-length article online. Medium is Ev’s third attempt to reinvent the world of self-publishing in his long, but not so winding career. Make no mistake — while a career that twists and turns and nearly flies over a cliff is certainly fun to watch — it’s not necessarily the path you should follow. In fact, if you’re a thoughtful, reflective, mission driven entrepreneur, like Ev, you may find yourself chasing the same big idea. Again and again, you return to it, sometimes wittingly, sometimes unwittingly. - Ev Williams

If you don't know Williams’ story, he's the cofounder of Medium, Twitter, and Blogger. All companies on a mission to help us broadcast our thoughts, albeit in different ways, shapes, and forms.

I've thought about this interview a lot.

Whenever I'm going through tough times, I - like 100% of other entrepreneurs - consider what life would look like if I wasn't running my startup. What if we sold the company? What would I do the next day?

What's really interesting - and comforting - is that these exercises invariably take me back to where I am.

Whenever I think about day 1 after an exit, I imagine maybe two weeks of vacation and then calling my teammates at Qulture.Rocks to build another SaaS company. And when I think of what type of SaaS it'd be (that's where Ev Williams’ interview fits into this subject) I inevitably think we'd tackle the same problem we're tackling at Qulture.Rocks, which is to unlock people's and organizations’ potentials.

I have been focused on essentially the same problem throughout most of my career. - Ev Williams

This single-mindedness about our mission got me thinking about what made me love it so much. What made me feel that it's my life's mission.

Falling in love - again - with our mission

What made me start Qulture.Rocks was the pain I felt as an individual contributor, but more importantly, as someone else’s direct report. It had to do with leadership (or the lack of it); with not feeling I had leaders that were motivated and/or equipped to do their jobs. Some of these people didn't want to deal with people; some thought it was a less-than-noble job, compared to doing deals or handling customers.

Then I started Qulture.Rocks, and became a leader myself. And after almost 5 years in, I can tell you I'm even more thrilled to see this problem from the other side of the table. It's just amazing to appreciate such a tough challenge from all sides, as a leader, as a CEO, and as a shareholder. It's just so much more intricate than what it looked like back when I was an IC, focusing narrowly on my own problems and wants and needs.

… you shouldn’t feel fatigued by the repetition. Instead, you should celebrate your single-mindedness, your focus. I believe you can never know the full reach of your first idea. It could span your entire career. - Reid Hoffman

Being a founder and CEO got me in love all over again with the problems we're solving at Qulture.Rocks, in a way that feels that this is my life's professional mission. And I think that's great. Knowing I'm right where I should be gives me staying power for the long run. Makes me really think this is Day 1 of my journey. And since I am convicted great things take long to mature, I'm also grateful for the amazing competitive advantage I have in making a dent on this space.


Recommended readings:

This article has some interesting points about why big companies become disconnected to customer needs. I don't agree with his line of reasoning, but it has interesting thoughts.

This one talks about “Superhuman onboarding”, a theme we've already discussed.

You probably already know about Farnam Street's blog, podcast, and newsletter. Did you know 3555 Farnam St, Blackstone, Omaha is Berkshire Hathaway's address? Now you have a cocktail bomb to drop.

Farnam Street talks a lot about Peter Bevelin. He's got some really interesting books!


That’s it for today. I hope this helps you unlock your potential 🙂

How am I doin’?

Cheers and have a good week,

Kiko

[1] Here's a transcript of the interview.