The Small Things

When I was young people used to always say “don’t sweat the small stuff.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only things I should sweat are the small things. After all, they are the only things I can control.

In the end I can’t control what happens to the country. I can only understand the issues, share my opinion when asked, and care deeply about my vote. In the end, the success of a product is so much bigger than just me. I can only sweat the details: the animations, the graphics, the interaction, the customer relationship. In the end, I can’t control how my daughters turn out as grown-ups. I can only teach them to mind their manners and make sure they do their homework and teach them what it means to put heart and soul into the things they care about.

I’d like to think that sweating a lot of details means I’ll have an impact on my world. But I don’t sweat that; just the details.

Happy holidays everyone. I’ll see you in the new year.

3 thoughts on “The Small Things

  1. I love the way you turned the phrase here. It’s similar to “I don’t pay any attention to the macro since I can’t impact it. Instead, I spend all my energy on things I can impact.”

    My dad said something to me early in my teenage years. “Focus on the 2% you can have impact on. Spend 100% of your time on it.”

    • I have a good friend who is writing a book on competitive analysis. This has been his expertise for something like 20 years. He is working on a new book, at which point I was going to see if you wanted to read it. I tell you this because he has a story in the book that relates perfectly to your 2% comment. When Dubinsky and Hawkins started Palm they did a market study. (my friend was an executive there.) It turned out that 98% of participants could care less about pocket organizers. The people who did the research for them thought they’d quit the business and product because of the survey but when they went to the Palm executive team, that team was ecstatic with a 2% positive response. That’s 6 million interested, site unseen, at $400 per device was $2.4B in top line revenue, and that was only the US market.

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