Startup vs Family, Take Smart Notes, How to Evaluate Startup Ideas

Sunday Beam #


December 15, 2020

Hey everyone. Good day!

Christmas is around the corner, but my family has prepared nothing for it (oops!), mainly because our baby girl is arriving on Jan 2. All our focus has been on expecting her.

But ... I still got time to learn and write. This week let's talk about:

  1. How I steal the startup concept of values and principles and inject into my family
  2. Why I'm using a smart note-taking system
  3. How you can know whether your startup ideas are worthwhile

I'm stealing a startup concept to implement in my family

Lydia and I are both planners. Our hobbies are planning ahead (I guess that's why we're married). In the last few weeks, we've been thinking about raising Avery (our girl).

I used to run startup teams so I love the concept of setting values & principles so the team can be aligned on these "bigger things".

One day, I was thinking - how come this concept isn't that popular in families? Well, at least no one is really advocating for it.

I didn't care. I wanted to do it anyway. So I picked up a blank notebook at home and wrote: "KL Parenting Principles" (KL stands for Kevon & Lydia).

Over the last few weeks, we agreed on 5 points so far . They're all actionable principles instead of vague ones like "Create a happy environment".

Kevon's Parenting Principles

We want to revisit this list often to remind ourselves the most important things to build a happy and healthy family. We know that when things get chaotic, we will likely forget.

The plan is: we will be adding a few more points to it if we stumble upon any good ones, but we don't plan to have more than 10, because then it will be too hard to revisit. And the list will be abandoned. We don't want that!

A new way to read and to take notes

At one point in my life, I was proud of myself for reading a lot of books. I even bragged about that on my blog (shame on you, Kevon!)

Now I'm slowing down my reading so that I can really get the "jizz" of the books. I also learned a new note-taking system to help me absorb these ideas and thoughts.

A new way to read and to take notes

I learned it from Nat Eliason.

By taking physical notes, I am careful in choosing what to write and therefore I process the knowledge. Highlighting on Kindle or typing out on laptop are too easy, so I tend to type a lot without filtering them first.

By writing in my own words, I am not taking the idea as it is. The context in the book is actually meaningless to me, what is useful is my own way of thinking.

By organizing my notes on Roam, I'm able to organize and connect ideas so that I can revisit them later in my future writing or thinking.

I just started doing this and so far feel pretty good about it. If you enjoy reading and deep thoughts, I think you'd like it too.

Article: How to Know If Your Startup Idea Is Worthwhile

In the 18 months from 2019-2020, I ran a startup called Toasty. It was not an easy journey, in which our first 6 months were completely wasted because I didn't validate our idea sufficiently before we jumped into building. The experience was painful.

These days, from my conversations with other founders, I get a sense that a lot of founders often jump to the user interview step right away, and neglect this part of validation that can be done by the founders themselves.

So I took some time to write down why the idea we spent 6 months working on was such a terrible idea, and developed a simple 8-question framework that I will use to evaluate my future startup ideas.

If you're currently exploring new ideas, you definitely want to think through them carefully because (my favorite line now): not all problems are worth solving.

Click here get the whole story.

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