When I talk to founders in the Midwest, I’m constantly asking:
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
Some think it’s a good way to make a lot of money.
- That type of thinking never works. Greed can be super powerful for some, but typically, those folks have the attention of a four year old. Their greed will take them to another project before they finish this one.
Some have no idea.
- I can’t help these people. Hopefully, they paid for my coffee.
Some just want to do it, whatever it may be.
- These individuals intrigue me. Often, after enough questions, you realize something really pissed them off, or they found society’s solution inept, and could not let it go.
I, too, have to work on something that really pisses me off.
Last week, I talked to Elyssa about an idea I’ve had for a while—a problem that needed a solution. It’s not a particularly good or unique idea, so I asked myself the same question I ask other founders.
After weeks of seeing this problem a hundred times a day, which obviously prompted me to talk to her about it every day, she dropped a bomb of glory on me.
IF IT PISSES YOU OFF SO MUCH, WHY DON’T YOU JUST BUILD IT?
So, I asked myself the following questions:
“Why would I do this?”
A. It pisses me off. A lot. I haven’t been this pissed off about something since I started Dwolla.
“Do you have time to do this?”
A. Not really, but I could make time. I schedule study time for myself three nights a week from 9-10 p.m. and I’ve stopped using it recently because the subject got monotonous.
“Will you build a company and give it away like you did with the last few?”
A. It’s possible. If I build something usable in three hours a week that people like, then who cares. It’s better than losing those three hours to Family Guy.
“What will you learn from this?”
A. Something, I imagine.
“Is it worth dedicating half your life to?”
A. Probably not.
“How much does this really piss me off?”
A. Tons. Shit, I hate this. I see it everywhere. I sign up for new services hoping it does it differently, and it never does.
Something I hope you can take away from this:
you can’t solve the problem while you are contributing to it.
So, I know it bugs me to no end, and I know I can’t let it go. It’s not a personal issue, and the more I think about the time we all lose to this junk, the more it bothers me.
This may not be true for others, but for me, if a problem:
- Doesn’t get me out of bed
- Make me lose sleep
- Drive me to the point of getting angry when I see strangers doing it
- Make me swear constantly about how obnoxious it is that I’m doing it
- Isn’t systemic in society (a lot of people deal with it)
Then I shouldn’t solve it!
If you’re an habitual starter, but have problems following through, start asking yourself questions before you start.
It is odd how concentrating on the things that make you angry are sometimes indicative of how you’ll choose to manage the priority of a project in your life.
ANGER IS A GIFT. ~ ARISTOTLE
That is all from me for the day. Commence building 😉
6 thoughts on “Solve problems that piss you off”
I try to get my students to think this way before they just randomly choose to dive into something they care nothing about…. Problem lately is that with the epidemic of Eship sweeping the country noone’s pausing to do much reflection…
This is an excellent view and explanation of human motivation and incentive.
Great article. I often forget that it’s anger/passion/resolve that motivates me beyond the novelty. thanks–
This is all true! I invented a product because there was no safe AND effective solution to rodent damage in cabins, cars, farm equipment, more. The cost and stink and clean up from damage pissed me off enough to create the first patented and epa certified solution, and then turn it into a business to reduce the feeling of being pissed off by thousands of customers. I’m not sure how a cosmetics company gets started, or a baby clothes company, but being pissed off does fuel the fire!!!
Keep having my students read this. I’m a huge fan. Thanks Ben!
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