Entrepreneurs as Systems Designers

I realized recently that the most effective use of my time has become systems design. Most of my software projects suffer from entropy almost immediately,¬†faltering¬†without other people involved to spur them on. I can’t keep updating all the software and sites I want to write forever.

So now I’ve begun a completely new approach to the businesses and projects I take on. That is, I now have the following terms and conditions before I’ll touch any new project:

  • Other People’s Money
  • Other People’s Efforts
  • Other People’s Intelligence

Understand, I now understand that entropy is built into everything. If I don’t incorporate other people’s efforts and capital into my project, it’s too easy for them to wither away.

Business As Systems Design

So, instead of designing solutions in software, I like to view business as an opportunity to create new systems. These systems create new customers, and provide for their needs through creative application of other people’s talents.

Building a better world is a key motivation in my work. In doing so, in remains that the most important task of all is being a coach to others, including myself.

Business As Moral Imperative

So I don’t see business as a process of extracting a profit from as many potential customers as possible. I see business as a process of unlocking potentialities.

  • I take capital that would otherwise be invested in processes that were wasteful, and make them more efficient.
  • I take talented people who would otherwise be underutilized, and I push them to be better.
  • I take intelligence and ideas, and I apply them in ways that would otherwise not have been possible.

It is this flow and this design that really excites me. Because I see the potential within the organization to create better people, better products, and a better world.

Building Positive Feedback Loops

In essence, entrepreneurship is all about creating positive feedback loops. Becoming a systems designer, but the systems we are designing are actually life itself.

Getting even more meta, we are all reality designers, and our jobs as entrepreneurs is to create an even better reality than existed before.

Ycombinator itself is a great example of this systems design. Paul Graham is more of a coach and mentor to the people involved in the startup.

Focused on Unlocking the Potentials of People, Capital, and Ideas

Instead of focusing his efforts on building some new widget, he’s in the business of building new positive feedback systems. Unlocking the capital, the intelligence, and the wisdom to flow into new systems.

Truly effective people understand the wisdom in building self regulating systems, with positive feedback and growth continuing past the initial effort.

How to Scale Your Income

Last week was incredible. I had my first thousand dollar day in my newest business before it was even launched. I’m incredibly thankful and blown away by the transformation, and just wanted to share the key changes that got me here.

Stop Thinking Small

I never really understood what “thinking big” really meant until this week. Whenever you take on a task, you might as well approach it as a “big task”. Ask yourself how solving a problem for one client can solve the same problem for others.

For example, if you’ve got a freelance job working on a Doctor’s marketing and online infrastructure, build it with the idea of selling a franchise to the infrastructure later. It really takes minimal amounts of effort to be able to resell the bare bones software once the design has been put in place.

Hack Capital

Software as service is an incredible opportunity to hack capital. Imagine, for example, if Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection were billed at $40 per month, instead of $2,599 up front.

How many more people do you think would be willing to pay for Creative Suite?

This is the biggest hack we’ve got. Make it easy for companies to have access to thousand dollar software, and begin enjoying thousand dollar benefits for a fraction of the cost.

Nobody wants to blow that capital right away, especially not on your unproven product.

Solve Difficult Problems

My startup is targeted at small businesses. They’ve got the capital necessary to invest, and yet are lost when it comes to online marketing. I’ve chosen to solve that problem for them. I might not have the ultimate solution to local marketing for them, but I do have a proven system.

For them, this is a difficult problem. How do you manage marketing online, and build a presence, and cut through the bullshit? The Yellow Pages companies are scrambling to fill this market, and they’re not doing a very good job at it.

Put Yourself Out There

Writing and interacting with a diverse group are key essentials to building businesses. You must apply knowledge that is “stuck” in one group to another. And vice versa. I’ve found writing and putting myself out there helps broaden my horizons.

Always Give First

I just released an Open Source Personal Privacy distribution in my busiest week ever. And it won’t affect my bottom line. But I believe in giving first, and being a servant first.

This has been essential part of scaling my income to my first thousand dollar day. Pursuing projects which have the opportunity to provide a lot of value for many people. And if they can help them make more money, to charge for it.

However, giving must always come first.