The Importance of Choosing the Right Work


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 30, 2023

3 min read


The Importance of Choosing the Right Work

In today's fast-paced world, it's common to see people sharing articles on social media without actually reading them. The relationship between scroll depth and sharing is weak, with only a small number of people reading through articles in their entirety. This raises the question of whether those who recommend stories online have actually read them. This phenomenon highlights the fact that articles that are read deeply may not generate a lot of social media engagement.

When it comes to choosing the right work, it's important to consider the concept that the low end often eats the high end. Opting for the "entry level" option, even if it is less prestigious, can be beneficial because if you don't, someone else will and may outshine you. This idea challenges the notion that prestige is always a positive sign. Sometimes, being less prestigious can lead to more success in the long run.

The author shares personal experiences from their work on Viaweb and Y Combinator, emphasizing the importance of not getting caught up in stress and focusing on growth. It's essential to avoid hiring too many people and to aim for profitability. By doing so, you can control your own destiny. In retrospect, the author realizes they should have taken a vacation after selling their company, highlighting the need to prioritize downtime for rejuvenation.

Throughout their career, the author has noticed a pattern of success in working on things that aren't considered prestigious. While this doesn't guarantee being on the right track, it helps to avoid common pitfalls caused by impure motives driven by the desire to impress others. Pursuing work that lacks current prestige can lead to the discovery of something significant and aligns with the right kind of motives.

The author also shares a trick for writing essays: giving talks. The pressure to deliver valuable information to an audience acts as a catalyst for imagination. This idea led the author to give a talk on how to start a startup, aimed at helping others avoid mistakes they had made. Additionally, the author discusses the benefits of being part of a community, particularly in the context of a startup batch. Having colleagues who understand the challenges faced by founders can provide valuable support and insights.

The author explains their experience with Y Combinator, where problems came to them rather than deciding on their own work. Engaging with a new batch of startups every six months allowed them to learn extensively about various startup challenges. They also reflect on the importance of working hard as a leader to set the tone for the rest of the team.

To ensure the longevity of Y Combinator, the founders understood the need to relinquish control and allow others to take over. This shift would prevent the organization from being solely controlled by the founders and increase its chances of lasting for a long time.

Ultimately, the key takeaway is that attention is a zero-sum game. Choosing the right projects and work is crucial because if you opt for something that isn't the best fit for you, it hinders other projects that may be more suitable. The opportunity cost of wasting time becomes more apparent as one grows older.

In conclusion, it's important to prioritize work that may not be prestigious but aligns with one's motivations and has the potential for significant discoveries. It's essential to avoid getting caught up in stress and focus on sustainable growth. Additionally, building a supportive community and taking breaks for rejuvenation are crucial for long-term success.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize work that aligns with your motivations rather than chasing prestige.
  • 2. Take breaks and vacations to avoid burnout and gain fresh perspectives.
  • 3. Build a supportive community around your work to gain insights and support from like-minded individuals.

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