There seems to be a bit of a cultural divide when it comes to the phone, and I’m prepared to be called out as a “young person” writing this. My philosophy is you see, that you don’t always have to answer.

There is something fundamentally off about calling people. We always (if we are polite) start off asking if you reached someone at a good time. The presumption is that we are disturbing them. And you know what, we probably often are.

Most people would argue that they are busy only when they are in a meeting, or doing something in the company of others (and sometimes not even then). I take a broader approach, and I think you should too.

For example, if I am sitting in my office deep in thoughts and working on a project and someone calls, I don’t always answer. That’s not rude. That’s just me being busy.

If you really want to be sure to reach me, you should go ahead and schedule a time to talk. That way I can give you my full, undivided and prepared attention. But don’t expect me to always answer when you call and haven’t. I have to protect my time to be effective.

So what should you do when you call and I don’t answer. Send a text or email and let me know what you want to talk about and I will definitely get back to you. The key there is letting me know what you want to talk about. That way I can prepare and talk informed. That makes for a great call.

It’s funny. Startups seem to have become such a holy grail that they are almost immune to critique.

No day goes by without me seeing articles touting this next startup that have raised X amount of money for some service. In a majority of these cases, a number of clearly relevant questions present themselves. Most often there is something odd in the finances, or the business model, or sustainability in the premise of the validity of the idea.

Arguably a startup is indeed in a constant search for a business model. True as it may be, we seem to be allowing these types of businesses much more leeway than they deserve. It is as if the entire broader startup/business community have developed a great fear of missing out.

I recently had an exchange with one such startup founder. Not fully understanding what made the company unique, I took to Twitter to try and find that out. What met me was an apparent lack of understanding why I:

a) wasn’t just trying out the service, but actually asking why it would be beneficial to me, and why it was different than others before, and,

b) was even questioning it in the first place.

As you might suspect, I got no real answers to my questions. This had me at a loss for words, and slightly worried. Apparently it did not seem to matter for this founder if someone did not at all understand at all what the company brought to the table.

Yes, startups are looking for a sustainable business model. But that is why we should be questioning their business models and logic constantly. It is in questioning, defending and thinking that we develop the greatest ideas.

Recently it has dawned on me exactly why I decided to found my own company and run my business instead of just getting another job. What struck me, is that it really boils down to one critical thing.

I believe in changing the world. It may sound pretentious, but it is true. Where others simply say “that’s just the way it works”, I decide to question why, and if it is something that could be improved, I want to improve it.

Practically speaking, I started my own company because it was at the time the only way that I could do what I wanted. Getting the job just wasn’t a possibility then. As the years have passed, I realize that part of my success is because I question the norm.

Those who follow me on social media know that I like to call out bad practices and question illogical and unreasonable things. My goal is not to be mean to anyone (though I do understand if that’s how you view it), but to spur discussion around improvement.

It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite philosophical “laws” is Hume’s Law, or the “is-ought problem”: Just because something is a certain way, doesn’t mean it ought to be.

I want to make the world a better place in the way that I can contribute. Having, broadly speaking, chosen marketing and business could then be seen as quite the paradox. It doesn’t have to be.

So when you hire either of my companies (or myself), you hire my grand plans of how great something could be. A wish to make everything function excellently.

And that’s why I take the lone road of running a business, being a public person and not backing off. Because someone needs to, and apparently, I’m one of those “someones”.

On Our Life’s Problems

It happens increasingly often these days. I see, and read, an article where someone astutely writes about their problems. Be it depression, never feeling as though they fit in, illnesses, loneliness, relationship struggles… the list can be made long.

As someone who have had his fair share of things to deal with (none of which are the subject of this post), I appreciate seeing these posts. The one thing you always think, regardless of whatever problem you are battling, is that you are odd, non-normal and alone in facing it. You’re wrong.

This is why I appreciate these insightful and in many ways exposing posts. It takes courage to write about personal matters in public. Yet, for every person, every article we see about it, we grow stronger. We realize that we are not alone. We realize that other people too battle the same things we do. We feel a sense of belonging.

It’s a fine act between writing about problems and letting them define you. I’m a strong believer in not creating a perfect public persona because that’s just fake. Yet, psychologically we like public personae to be more positive than what would be called “negative”.

Like so many others, I advocate writing healthily about problems and struggles in our lives. Through doing so we gain support from others around us, we relieve the heaviness we carry with us, and perhaps more importantly, we silently help others who find themselves in the same situation.
Isn’t that worth a few words?

Did you make any new years resolutions this year? Many people have already given up on theirs. Partly because they forget them in the daily buzz, and partly because we give up too easily.

Most new years resolutions are about building a habit. If you don’t allow yourself to fail a few times on the process, you’re probably never going to succeed in changing.

For this reason, I always write yearly goals. It’s a semantic discussion what difference this is to a new years resolution. But that’s not the important point. The important thing is that I write them down.

For both my business and personal goals, I keep a note (stuck at the top in Evernote) with the goals I want to reach this year. I make sure to refer to it continuously to remind myself of the goals. Otherwise I know I’m going to forget.

But here is the fun fact. Even if you never ever refer back to this list of goals, you are still more likely to reach them after having written them down! Fascinating isn’t it?

I have another trick for you in how you write them down. Write your goals as though you have already reached them. For example: “I am working out 2 times a week” instead of “Work out twice a week”. See the subtle difference?

It’s never too late to set some goals. Make them fair to yourself and you’ll be surprised at how many you can reach within a year. Just by writing them down.