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Thoughts & Musings

Ocean rowing, breath measuring, dehydrated beef and pie charts

Products That Count (hosted by Yelp, thanks Yelp) had another fantastic speaker swing by. Last month's was Hiten Shah (@hnshah) and this month's was Sami Inkinen (@samiinkinen), founder of Trulia. He shared about his ocean rowing trip from CA to HI, and used examples from that and his triathlon experiences to accompany the 5 tips he had for us: normal people, some of whom may be building extraordinary things. PTC likes getting the inside scoop of things so I believe this may be the first time Sami has ever given this presentation.

I apologize for all my sketchnote pictures looking yellow... the light in my room/apartment is determinedly not-white.

So how can ordinary people build extraordinary things?

  1. experiment. Yes, ask the experts for advice, but there won't be breakthroughs without experimentation. When preparing for his ocean rowing trip, ocean rowing experts told him 2 hrs sleeping 2 hrs rowing (alternating between the rowers) was the best schedule, but Sami and his wife experimented with a different schedule and found out 18 hrs rowing, 6 hrs sleeping (12 hrs of rowing overlap) worked best for them.
  2. iterate constantly. Test, learn, improve, repeat. Each time Sami does a triathlon he thinks about what he can do better the next time and iterates his style/method/strategy.
  3. keep track of what matters. It'll focus you... on what matters. The sheer act of measurement can be what keeps you on course.
  4. stop doing the things that don't bring you towards your goal. Sami recognizes that this is difficult and also a lifestyle choice, but after making a pie chart breakdown of how he uses his time, he realized he could cut out ~90% of the things he was doing and focus that time on his work instead.
  5. embrace the process. At the core Sami thinks that, to accomplish something, you need to have a passion for it and make a way to get there (believe it's possible). But to get through the daily grind, passion and believing it's possible are most likely not enough--you need to accept, acknowledge, endure the daily grind. Each stroke of the oar on his ocean rowing trip was painful, but acknowledging this gave him strength to accept the pain and revel in the process.