Xsplat said: “My estimates for business success have always been wildly wrong. Although I’m relatively wealthy here, if you looked at the success rate you would see countless failures. Failure after failure.”

walter2015london asked: Could you please break this down a bit more? Does it means that you usually thought your businesses had more probability of success than they really had?

I’m always very optimistic about the projects that I’m working on. No matter how often I see that my predictions don’t always pan out, it does not lessen my optimism.

That’s not a completely bad thing.

Many of my ideas really do have tremendous potential, and I do have real world entrepreneurial experience, so the optimism is solidly grounded in reality. Execution of great ideas is the challenge. For most ideas that takes a team. And to get a team of capable men together to succeed in executing big ideas is fucking hard to do with no outside financing.

And my experience so far with managing people as paid, and sometimes highly paid interns rather than salaried employees was mostly unsuccessful so far. It was unsuccessful because I started from myself and treated people as if they were similar to me.  I made three big mistakes:
1) I treated people as if they were self motivated autodidacts.
2) I treated people as if they were self motivated autodidacts.
3) I treated people as if they were self motivated autodidacts.

I wanted to work with the best peers that I could find and treat them with respect as buddies.  But business collaboration is by necessity and essence hierarchical, and so that attitude and business don’t mix well.  It is the responsibility of management to be a taskmaster.  Nobody wants to be a taskmaster over his buddy.  And buddies don’t like to have their best ideas vetoed.

The real business world doesn’t work as autodidact buddies being self motivated and working on a common cause. People go to expensive schools to specialize on a narrow career path, and you have to start them off at a high salary for x many hours per day, and you have to be a stern task master constantly giving them pressure and deadlines and critiquing their work.

You can’t just get a group of random guys together and assign them big picture projects and give them support staff to manage, even with detailed guidance.  Even if the random guys are smart.  You’d think you could – G is for generalized intelligence, and most of the stuff that I do is not taught in any schools anyway.  So you’d think my first instinct should have been right.

But the world is the way it is for a reason. I didn’t know that. I thought it was arbitrary that people worked in cubicles at jobs that they didn’t want to do. Nope, it’s not arbitrary. It’s because knowledge takes training (even if it’s just training to learn to focus regularly on that category of knowledge) work is hard, and 95% of work would never be done without some stern stick and some very important carrots.

I gave people all the room and board and fun they could handle, and left them loose to work. Recipe for failure.

There is no four hour work week.  There isn’t even any four hour work day.

I mean, yes, you can automate some businesses that can bring in a modest income, but if you have any ambition at all then you have to push yourself and push others to achieve.

This may all sound grade-school obvious, and in that sense I’m still learning the very basics of entrepreneurialism. Setting up websites doing online sales can be solid money, but to do the big ideas takes a big team, and that’s a whole different category of entrepeneurialism.

It’s like the difference between daygame for one night stands versus maintaining several passionate and strongly bonded LTRs at the same time. At first glance it seems the same category, but they require very different skill sets, so much so that the skill sets will make you into a very different person.

When it comes to business motivation is everything. You have to motivate the customers with persuasive marketing and self evident value. You have to motivate potential employees to join your team. You have to motivate people to put in effective focused work-hours for a full long day at least 5 days a week.

I had thought that long term motivations work for people; “let’s build this together and we will reap the long term rewards together!”

I was wrong. People want a secure salary at a secure institution, preferably in their home town, and they want the starting salary to be industry standard or better.

I’m still amazed how averse most people are to working outside of their own country.  And I may never understand why people are not more like me in preferring the higher risk longer term payout to the lower risk short term gain.

And people need harsh oversight. I did not know that before.  It’s more important even than a good environment and good salary.  People really do require stressful deadlines and a hefty amount of micromanagement in order to be productive.

That’s how it was when we were in school – very few students took it upon themselves to read ahead of the assignments.  A lot of us crammed before tests.  And that’s just how it is in general. We need to be pushed from the outside. That’s how teams work – people pushing each other, in a hierarchal fashion.

I did not know that before. My only experience was working as a lone entrepreneur, or with a team of Indonesian staff who I never expected to be capable of problem solving. I expected other Westerners to jump in and act like me, working hard to make real things make real numbers.

I was way off.

Live and learn.

That’s why I say that I’ve never really had any failures. I’ve had a lot of learning experiences.