Exercise daily. That's the best advice I can give. The rest of the post is what drains my batteries each day and why.
Mental and Physical Exhaustion
Once the glassy eyed daze of exhaustion sets in, it's too late. My productivity is either zero or negative (introduce more errors than value). Most nights after my day job I'm left exhausted*. Although that's only three days out of the week, those are three more nights I could be getting more effective work done. Never are there enough hours in the day to find a breakout market fit or develop an app with genuine value.
Startup Stuff that's important to me
These are a few of my favorite things:
- Market Research: researching potential products and tech. Reading and conversing with sharp folks to understand their biggest challenges in an area which overlaps with my expertise
- Building relationships with folks that are as excited about startups and hacking as I am. Understanding fellow entrepreneurs, how they prioritize, how they get shit done, what they sacrifice, and what they hold sacred aids in my decision making, heavily favoring any reasonable alternative over inaction
- Working on prototype web apps. Reviewing how expert hackers get things done with sample code and leveraging open source whenever possible. Embracing coding philosophies that are practical and just work.
- Reviewing Ad Performance for live apps. So far Facebook is getting more clicks than Google Ads, or TargetSpot's Internet radio. Follow the eyes. This feeds back and is part of market research
- reading docs, reading docs, reading docs, did I mention READING DOCS? Splash a blog, ebook or pdf into the mix to remain sane
- Learning about Pretty. Web app front end design is a way of life. In particular html5 visual transitions that enthrall unsuspecting sleep deprived browsers like myself. As long as I plan to utilize third party APIs I have to consider the horror of delayed response times
- Understanding sharp investors: they're a tricky and diverse lot. Understanding what my favorite angels and VCs value and why, is an important part about building a business even if I never need funding. Reputation, experience, their network and introductions are key value adds for partnerships. Brilliant, optimistic, eccentric with deep pockets are my preferred investor attributes. Give me a call if you fit this profile.
I can always find an important task that falls to the floor each week, and have accepted it as a way of life. If it's not catastrophic it probably wasn't as important as I thought.
If you got this far I'll share my secret weapon, my irreplaceable market advantage. I always save enough energy to give my wonderful wife Michelle a huge bear hug each night and each morning before we part ways.
*= my Monday-Wednesday schedule is 4:30-5am read/wakeup, exercise for 3 hours and write a post, then work until 7:30pm after which I go home to eat dinner. I can muster enough energy to work one of those three nights.