If you have not read “Measure what matters” by the legendary John Doerr then read it today. For me the single biggest learning from it is simple – focus.
He says it out loud and very clear – “We must realize—and act on the realization—that if we try to focus on everything, we focus on nothing.” Most often entrepreneurs try to chase too many shining opportunities, all at the same time, only to realise they fell short of resources or simply their own bandwidth.
I admire InVision in this regard which has been razor focussed on their product and users. It has proven SaaS is the way to go for all imaginable type of softwares.
What differentiates an Entrepreneur from a Manager ? While I still do not have a definite answer to it, I do have an anecdote, shared by one of my mentors few years back.
A group of lumberjacks entered a forest with their manager to carry out a survey on how much wood log will they be able to generate from there. Few of them gave the feedback to manager that most of the trees they found till that time did not have good quality and the trunks were not all straight. The manager asked them to extend the area of survey.
They went back and carried on. Two days passed by but the results were not encouraging. Third day, manager’s boss, the owner of the small company (the entrepreneur) reached there and asked about the progress. The manager presented the report with number of trees his team had surveyed, how many trees were of good quality, how many hours did his team spend in surveying etc. along with explaining that he has now extended the survey area to find more trees with better quality. He listened intently and asked his manager if he already has an idea of the tallest tree his team has found in the surveyed area. Manager, beaming with a sense of achievement, said yes and offered to take him to the tree.
Once the boss reached there, he surprised everybody by saying he wants to climb the tree. Manager said that it is a bit risky, that he should reconsider it and maybe ask one of the team members to climb instead. He refused and started climbing. Atop, he spent about five minutes looking around in all directions, came down and asked the manager “Call everybody back, we are leaving”. The manager was dumbfounded, saying we have invested so many days already, maybe we should wait till we find better trees, that the forest is so big. Owner simply replied “Wrong forest!”.