Such a pretty shipwreck.

Focus ⇒

Posted Feb 11, '15 at 9:00 AM

It’s the hardest thing in the world, at least for me.

I’m a pleaser and a yes-man. I want to make people like me. Not just make people happy, mind you. I want them to like me.

Historically, that need to make people happy has made it difficult for me to say no. I’m a chronic over-committer. I’m addicted to yes, and – like most addicts – eventually the addiction gets me into trouble.

Whenever I think about focus I’m reminded of the following excerpt from Vanity Fair’s excellent interview with Jony Ive.

Steve [Jobs] was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met in my life… You can achieve so much when you truly focus. One of the things that Steve would say (because I think he was concerned that I wasn’t) [was], “How many things have you said no to?”

And I would have these sacrificial things… but he knew that I wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things anyway, so there was no real sacrifice. What focus means is saying no to something that with every bone in your body you think is a phenomenal idea… but you say no because you’re focused on something else.

For the past couple of years Technical Difficulties and its predecessor Generational have been that phenomenal idea, and now I’ve got to let them go. It’s extremely hard, and it’s unquestionably necessary.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team. In addition to being a great friend, Gabe is the best interviewer I’ve ever heard, while also being one of the most prolific and helpful writers around. It’s no longer surprising when I search for an answer on Google and his site is the first and most useful article on that topic.

Potatowire was the one who got me into this thing in the first place. His show notes have set the bar almost unthinkably high, gaining an impressive array of admirers along the way. Bob has been my best friend and business partner for years, and putting his thoughtful perspective in front of the sizeable audience it deserves has been one of the best parts of this whole experience.

For the last year it’s been a challenge to find something to say that’s truly worth saying. It’s affected me here, and it’s affected me on the air.

I’m still looking, but I’m as sure as ever in the rightness of the search.

Recent Posts

Read More