Only one thing has to work (Ricky Weekly #61)

This is where I share 3 things every week with my friends and anyone else interested.

A picture from my life:

Saw a lowrider in the Inner Sunset yesterday. A little bit of LA in SF?

A thing on my mind:

I have decent work hygiene everyday. I try to plan out my day and sometimes even do it the night before. The goal is to figure out what my Most Important Task (MIT) is so I can work on it when I have energy. Sometimes the MIT is obvious, sometimes it isn’t, especially as a startup founder who has to do everything. Most of the things I have to do won’t move the needle at all, but what will move the needle? There are days that go by where I simply never figure it out. It feels like I’m thrashing, and I’m learning to be okay with it because when you zoom out, only one thing has to work.

In the startup world, when something really works about a business, it covers up a lot of mistakes. The job of the team is to find the one thing, and then do everything to make it work better faster or find the next thing (should you be so lucky). That’s what differentiates startups designed for growth with software margins from other kinds of businesses. It almost feels like you have to play fast and loose, but not quite, it’s a very selective kind of fast and loose. It’s a tricky. Some founders I know are too fast and loose, others are too conscientious and love the operating side a bit too much.

Reminding myself that “only one thing has to work” helps me get out of conscientious operator mode, and having a high bar for growth keeps me playing fast and loose. Stepping back helps me see if the balance is right. I’m writing this as if I do it well. I don’t, but I try.

A piece of content I recommend:

We Need To Talk About Anti-Asian Hate - Eugene Lee Yang from The Try Guys

This video was surprisingly good. Probably judged it a bit because it’s posted to The Try Guys’ channel, but it’s the closest thing to Asian American studies I’ve ever received (which probably tells you something about how we teach history in the US). I think it’s good as a “primer,” and he talked about it with enough nuance and emotion to help you stay engaged as you listen.

If you want something more nuanced, here’s a conversation between Darrell Owens and Jay Caspian Kang about the tension between Asian and Black communities in the Bay Area.


As always, you can find out what I’m thinking in more real-time on Twitter and my essays are on my website. My primary focus (and where I focus) is on Flow Club.