stupid judges, stupid rules

#43 – Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers

dear kafka,

you may have rules in your life. for example, a rule could be “i must get married”. who made these rules? is it you or someone else? do these rules make you happy?

you may have an invisible jury in your life who judges you – “you must do it this way”, “you must have this by the time you turn 40”.

murder these idiots.

please yourself.

things i learnt

“I’m a student, not a guru.” – a philosophy for life.

make your own path – “Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.”

am i pursuing little distractions? stupid question. i am.

when i was young, i daydreamed a lot, creating many perfect worlds. i stopped daydreaming and my world isn’t perfect. – “When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.”

“Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it.”

“The key point is that I wasn’t trying to make a big business. I was just daydreaming about how one little thing would look in a perfect world.”

“Five years after I started CD Baby, when it was a big success, the media said I had revolutionized the music business. But revolution is a term that people use only when you’re successful. Before that, you’re just a quirky person who does things differently.”

what are the little day-to-day things that fascinate me?

“We all have lots of ideas, creations, and projects. When you present one to the world and it’s not a hit, don’t keep pushing it as is. Instead, get back to improving and inventing.”

“If you’re not saying, “Hell yeah!” about something, say no. When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” then say no.”

“Steve Blank: “No business plan survives first contact with customers.”

“I’m so glad I didn’t have investors. I didn’t have to please anybody but my customers and myself. No effort was spent on anything but my customers.”

“Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what’s best for your customers. If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, “How can I best help you now?” Then focus on satisfying those requests.”

“You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people.”

“The Hotel Café, a folk- and rock-music venue in Los Angeles, is a no-talking club. Big signs read, NO TALKING DURING PERFORMANCES! Performers are encouraged to stop the show if someone is talking, and let the person know that he can go to any other club in town to talk over the music. This is the one place in L.A. where you can sit and really listen to the music, which, of course, makes it the most popular music venue in town.”

It’s a big world. Even targeting the 1% of this world is good enough and they will flock to you when they hear you exclude the other 99% just for their attention.

what is a true business owner? you can leave the business for a year and the business will be better than when you left.

“Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.”

“Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were at a party at a billionaire’s extravagant estate. Kurt said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” Joseph said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have. . . . Enough.”

“The less I own, the happier I am. The lack of stuff gives me the priceless freedom to live anywhere anytime.”

“Business is as creative as the fine arts. You can be as unconventional, unique, and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.”

am i trying to impress an invisible jury?


Mark Zuckerberg inspired me to start an annual personal project – read a non-fiction book every week and write about it. 

My previous newsletters are here: https://isaiahlim.wordpress.com/category/isaiahlim_newsletter/

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