Writing in public, startup make-believe, and Steve Jobs

May 3, 2024
Z Fellows

1: Writing In Public

How Stripe built a culture inside their company around writing:

“Writing shows up within a company in two primary ways: paper trails and curations.

Paper trails are documented accounts of what happened, typically produced in the run of work while it’s happening. Meeting notes are the most obvious example.

Curations are artifacts of work produced to contribute to the system of shared knowledge. These are typically editorialized summaries of work that has already happened or an outlook on work that will happen soon.

The audience for curations is those who might not naturally encounter the work but might benefit from knowing or understanding more about it. A 6-page Narrative at Amazon would fall into this bucket.”

Source: Writing In Public, Inside Your Company

2: Startup Make-Believe

“Just like young kids, young companies love to play Startup Make-Believe: Pretending to be something that they’re not, in particular a much larger and more mature business.

Signs that you may be playing Startup Make-Believe:

  • Data Obsession
  • Process Obsession
  • Hopping Onto Every Hype Cycle
  • Creating Weird Roles

If you catch yourself playing Startup Make-Believe, I recommend that you consider very heavily whether the behaviors you’re emulating actually make sense for you.

In the earliest days of a startup, all that really matters is finding product-market fit (PMF); once you’ve found PMF, tightening it by building everything that your customers need (and finding more customers) is the next order of business.”

Source: Startup Make-Believe

3: Thinkers And Doers from Steve Jobs

“The doers are the thinkers.

Did Leonardo have a guy off to the side who was thinking five years into the future about what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it?

Of course not. Leonardo was an artist, but he also mixed his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist and knew about pigments and human anatomy. Combining all of those skills together—the art and the science, the thinking and the doing—is what resulted in the exceptional result… There is no difference in our industry. The people that have really made the contributions have been the thinkers and the doers.

It’s very easy for somebody to take credit for the thinking and say, ‘Oh, I thought of this three years ago’. But usually, when you dig a little deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well.”

Source: Steve Jobs on Thinkers And Doers