I recently stumbled across a quote I try to remind myself of often:
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
My mind always gravitates towards complex solutions. I think it's because my mind thinks, "I'm smart, I have to think of something that isn't obvious and entails many factors to create the perfect solution." But when we try to "be smart" and make it complex, we haven't gained the clarity yet on what actually matters. And what actually matters is simple. True intelligence is making it simple.
There's been a meme circulating that summarizes this well. Here's one that is talking about entrepreneurs, and really anyone that creates/builds something.
Both people who are at the low-end & the high-end of the IQ bell curve do the thing that's important. Make stuff. Most people, who are in the middle of the IQ curve, try to "be smart". They spend all their time planning so they can make something perfect.
Now there isn't a problem with planning. But the problem is when you haven't gained the clarity to understand what the most important thing to do is (make stuff) & instead focus all your time and energy on activities that are less important (planning).
A final thought on this is the Pareto principle. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. So instead of doing 100 things, you can gain clarity on what are the 20 things it takes to get the results you are looking for.
I recently realized I was committing this error. I was overwhelming my students with lots of things. Weekly reflections, learning how to use tools, and plenty of other things that would prepare them to crush a role once they landed.
But all that time spent learning about the role, came at the expense of getting the role. There's a difference between interviewing for a job & actually doing it. We weren't spending enough time on the former.
So I asked myself a series of questions to simplify what Tech Sales Mentors students should focus and work on.
Now this may sound obvious to you, but for me, I sometimes overdo things. So this was really helpful in clarifying my thinking in what 20% of actions will lead to 80% of the results.
Write & answer a series of questions if you feel like you're overwhelmed by something you are trying to achieve or you aren't getting the results you want. It may bring clarity to what you need to focus on.
The quote at the start of this post and the following ones come from this Steve Jobs interview with Bloomberg in 1998. There's a lot of lessons we can glean from it that are applicable to the technology world today. History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme!
This was at a time when Steve was returning to Apple after being ousted a decade before. Yes, even a legend like Steve has had failure in life! Keep that in mind when you're getting down on yourself. (If you'd like to read the article & don't have access to Bloomberg, check out this site).
Back in the late 90's, individuals like you and I were heavily debating buying a laptop that cost over $1,000. Can you imagine that? I think the reason why is because of what you could do with a computer back then vs what you can do today.
While the internet was an exciting development in the 90's, it was still very limited in what it could do at the time. It was slow. It didn't have all of the fun, interactive sites you spend the majority of your time on today. But that's the thing about technology, it gets better and becomes more useful.
Over time, we were able to type in whatever we were curious about and get millions of potential answers to our question. We could connect, instantly message & even communicate over video with our friends. We could binge watch the best TV shows with a big bowl of ice cream straight from our bed. It became much more useful & valuable over time.
It reminds me a lot of crypto. Currently there is billions of dollars from the best technology investors in the world being funneled into crypto projects. A lot of people can see what is possible in 5/10/20 years. But right now we're in the phase like the early internet of the 90's. It's really slow, hard to use, and it's not that useful, yet.
Apple has an operating system called iOS. It's a platform. A platform is something you can "build on top of". Companies (and developers at those companies) like Uber, DoorDash, & Snapchat are all examples of companies who have built their app on top of the iOS platform.
Making sure you have developers building on your platform is incredibly important. Remember above how we said technology at first isn't that useful, but with time and money it gets better? This is an example of that. Imagine your iPhone without all of those apps you click into everyday, it becomes a much less useful (& less valuable) device.
So being on developers "good side" can be like the rocket fuel that propels your rocketship forward. This is another reason we make sure Tech Sales Mentors students work at startups that sell to developers. Developers power grows in our ever-increasing technology-dependent world. Being in that industry means you will have plenty of opportunities (and money) for many years to come.