I’ve come to realize that the best way to evaluate people in the startup scene, and maybe in life, is their ability to get shit done.
In school, we’re taught that the number of words we put into an essay somehow makes it more work, and therefore, better. This has led to something I’ve noticed where new graduates will send you emails that could be printed out, and used as mini-tables.
Getting shit done for the sake of getting shit done is probably the worst way to go about it.
What I’ve noticed works really well is focusing on one meaningful metric, and making it something so audacious and ambitious that you and those around you direct all of their efforts to doing so: and when it starts demonstrating results, that carries you all forward with momentum.
World Bank President Jim Kim recently targeted the World Bank’s resources and energies to one difficult but very clear goal: reduce the global poverty rate to 9% in less than seven years, lifting about 510 million people out of poverty around the world. His rationale for doing so was simple, as he explained in this video: he wanted to get everybody to carry forward their energy into one productive, focused direction.
It didn’t matter what you wore, how many hours you spent chatting on Facebook, how many people you called, or annoyed: what mattered was how much the poverty rate was going to be reduced—and in consequence, the huge number of people who would be able to live fuller lives.
Getting shit done isn’t the end-all, be-all: you still have to do the right shit, at the right time, for the right reasons—but your ability to move the needle, whether you consider it a failure or a success, should matter much more than what shirt you happened to pick out the day of.
Worry about getting meaningful shit done. The rest will follow.