Netflix has no OKRs (Objective and Key Results). It has “freedom and responsibility”.
This is not entirely true. Reed Hasting later added processes for employee safety and sexual harassment, customer data privacy, and financial reporting. Stating its importance in “high-volume, low-error” or safety-critical environments.
Comparing it to Intel, where OKRs are the backbone of the management success, Netflix believes that OKRs stiffen creativity and create operation overhead.
When your product is creative, beware of the tradeoffs.
The same is true for startups who have yet to a product a people love and recommend.
No one has told me how hard it is to declare failure before the world has called it a failure.
I interviewed 200 producers, hired two, created a show bible, learned about storytelling, one episode, and another. Then it stop, I stopped.
It beginning of the end started with a feeling of annoyance.
I was in Italy. I need to record a session. I booked a meeting room to record the podcast, too echo-y. I tried the hostel. They couldn’t allow me to book a room for 2 hours. I tried again, in Amsterdam, in a WeWork. Again, plans failed. I won’t go into details.
It was a lot of friction. Perhaps it’s supposed to. After all, I’m doing something new.
I remind all the people that might learn something from this podcast. All the praise I would get. I would have a podcast season that benefits future new coaches, just like me. I focus on the outcomes and tell myself the suffering is worth it. It’s part of the process.
It’s a passion project. If I’m not getting paid, isn’t it supposed to be enjoyable? After all, isn’t the moment all there is?
There is a war happening on the inside. I started to drag waking up. I was not looking forward to the day. Days were dark. I escaped to food, learning, reading, porn, cigarettes, podcast and other work.
I started asking myself why am I doing this? I couldn’t come up with a good answer.
I was driven by momentum. A well-laid-out plan. All the successful outcomes I dream of. But I couldn’t come up with a reason why it is important enough.
After weeks of introspection, (1) the podcast wouldn’t be great if it was a drag every day. (2) If things stay the same, I would hate my passion project till the very end (3) I overweight a beautiful plan, a great outcome (4) I am stealing myself the opportunity of doing something I enjoy and enjoying the same results.
Other factors: (1) I was lonely. (2) I was burnt out. (3) I was conflating learning and sharing coaching to the podcast (4) My skill didn’t translate well (5) it wasn’t aligned with my life goals
Would I still make the podcast? Yes, knowing what I knew then.
What would I do differently? Write a “specs sheet”. Why do I want to start this? What’s the outcome I want? What does success look like? What milestone to achieve to prove this endeavor is a good idea? Me and my audience? How does it align with my life goals? Is this a full-body YES? If it’s not a success, how can I make this worth doing personally for me?
When I feel frustrated, I can look back and see what assumption I’m making.
If you’re facing a similar situation, what to do? Pause everything that you can and make time. Isolate other causes of frustration (jet lag, family relationship, health, grandma funeral, and cleaning my environment.) Come to a sense of peace and boredom. Be impatient with journaling and be patient with decisions. Writing down the question swirling in the head (why am I doing this? is this worth it? how long it’s going to last?). The only way to make decisions is to think through all these questions.
After going through the intellectual information, ask the body and heart, and see if it’s a full-body YES.
If it’s not, then STOP.
What’s next? Back to the drawing board to find the idea where my curiosity meets my genius meets what the world needs.
Thank you, Steve Schlafman for the generous questions. And writing out his failure, closing a VC fund and podcast before it got published.
For Jim Collins that it takes 4 years to find your hedgehog.
People did not meet your expectation → you get angry → you blame and discharge to them → people dislike you more → people act unwillingly (out of fear) → people do not meet your expectation (loop)
Own your feelings and your part to the outcome
Reveal your feelings and pause the conversation (I want to reveal that I’m feeling some anger because I tell myself the story… And I anger myself by believing the story. Can you give me some time to process my feelings so I can…? )
Process your anger and get to peace.
Anger is something that needs to be cut off or boundaries to be set.
Invite curiosity and understand the causes (Can you help me understand? I’m not attached about being right.)
Clarify commitment (who is to do what, by when).
Brainstorm ideas for a long-term solution.
Show appreciation and be closer to people (I want to thank you for revealing, being in curiosity, helping me find a long-term solution.)
Align commitment/ask for recommitment/change your expectation/set boundaries.
When my parent gave me advice, (to brush my teeth, sleep early, have better posture), I never followed.
Years go by. My back start to hurts, painful visits to the dentist, and hangover mornings. I suffered the consequences and change my habits. I took their advice.
In between, it was unpleasant years of nagging.
The trouble is when we seek to help the people we love we offer unsolicited advice. We rush, we didn’t get the full context. We forget that they don’t want what we want, they don’t see what we see, they don’t know what we do.
Good advice begins with enrolment. Are we going to the same destination? Are we on the same journey?
That’s the difference between unwanted and heartfelt advice.
A secret hidden from everyone is that our loved ones, friends and family have experienced trauma in the journey of their life.
We hide these experiences to ourselves because we think that we are the weird ones and our friend just wants to get through a pleasant dinner.
Although the latter might be true, not dealing with these traumatic experiences can result in a sub-optimal life.
We enter new relationships carrying the baggage of past experiences. At times, the past can be beneficial to gain self-awareness, helping us communicate better with a posture of generosity. But at other times, it is contained inside us in the form of a charged emotional field. Ready to leash out when we spot similar patterns from our past.
This disconnects us from the present reality and diverts our mind. We expand effort to repress and suppress these activated charges so as not to look crazy to others.
In our culture of immediacy, we run away from traumas through coping mechanisms. It works, for a certain time, to a certain point.
Solutions are out there. The healing begins with a choice.
Forcing, renouncing and avoiding, do not work. At least not in the long term.
The alternative? Truth.
By understanding, accepting, seeing the cost and the benefit, clearly.
Yes, we get hungry. But when we try the Broccoli test, we realize most of our hunger is emotional hunger. it is an excuse to eat. And then, you get to see that the cost of health is not worth the short-term pleasure. You allow desire to wash through you, get back to present, and make a decision.
This goes for sleeping early, smoking, gaming, or saving.
Of course, you can force your way to sleep early. You can expand effort. And more effort again, tomorrow. Until… it runs out. And you find yourself watching another episode of TV.
The other way is to know that you really want it in the short term. But in the long-term, it’s not worth it. Pause for 3 minutes. Then decide.
The desire comes back. But this time, you welcome it, accept it and it goes away, in a second.
You can self-improve your way through it, or you can understand it.