Systemizing and writing
I’ve heard it said that if you can put a job in writing, then the job holder is replaceable. I don’t remember the context in which I heard it, but I think it pointed to some tasks as remaining either uniquely human (unable to delegate to a machine) or uniquely belonging to the leader (unable to delegate to someone else). For all else, go for it.
I’m reading The End of Power (2013) by M. Naím right now. Great reading. It reminds me other books I’ve read that note a similar trend in the world today – flattening hierarchies in business, the preference to outsource, decentralization of work, of governments, the blurring of borders, the decreasing relevance of gatekeepers…
What he coins as barriers to power (as in barriers to entry from economics), are weakening. The sheer volume of persons, the widespread availability of computer/mobile technologies, plus changing attitudes, point to ever-decreasing barriers.
The More revolution (more of everything), overwhelms barriers. The Mobility revolution of advancements in communication, transportation, and finance, circumvents barriers. And the Mentality revolution of perspectives, undermines barriers. Anyway, I don’t intend to write a book report about it here.
I mention The End of Power (2013) because Moisés Naím highlights a hopeful and accurate story about the world today – it’s getting better everyday. He also mentions the rise of the micro-power.
On side hustling, technology lets you sell to customers anywhere in the world or hire an online freelancer from anywhere in the world. I believe technology has created a new generation of successful micro-entrepreneurs, or micropreneurs (as I’ve seen it written on other sites).
I finished conducting five interviews through Upwork.com today. I appreciate websites like Fiverr.com, OnlineJobs.ph, TopTal.com, and Upwork.com. There are some really smart people in other parts of the world, with amazing talent, and at prices that bring entrepreneurship within reach of even more people.
WORK THE SYSTEM
In Work the System (2011), the Founder and President of Centratel.com, Sam Carpenter, shares the story of how his business rose to its present success – through written systems and through continuous updating of those written systems. If I had to summarize the book as a how-to, it’d look like this:
1. Identify a job function
2. Write it down
3. Post it somewhere useful
4. Improve the written system
The magic cranks up in step 4. I don’t remember the book as actually outlined in those steps. I last read it about five years ago. I emailed Sam Carpenter. He replied. That was really cool of him.
I want to develop useful mobile phone applications. I haven’t developed any apps yet. And, I’ll probably never develop one by myself; the amount of time it’d take to become even moderately proficient, remains beyond me for now. But…
I can learn enough to connect with someone smarter than I am. And together, we can build something amazing to help solve many problems, for many people.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES · IT WRITES BOOKS FOR YOU TO COPY
Before I posted a job on a freelancer site, I did a lot of homework on non-technical app development. I read each of the following six books, twice:
• App Empire (2012) by C. Mureta
• App Secrets (2017) by S. Casto
• Don’t Hire a Software Developer Until You Read This Book (2016) by K.N. Kukoyi
• How to Build a Billion Dollar App (2017) by G. Berkowski
• Mobile App Marketing (2014) by A. Genadinik
• The App Factory Playbook (2017) by D. Gorham
I started in May of this year, 2018, and read other books in between them, but after a while I realized that I was just procrastinating. To break my procrastination, I decided to pick one of the books and start writing about it. More specifically, I decided to write an outline. I wrote down a system.
Then, I threw in elements from other authors after I finished the outline. I improved the system.
I labeled it my SOP (standard operating procedure), which I fashioned into a two-page laminated reference sheet, like those made by BarCharts.com. I finished the SOP in September. I did my first wireframe diagram in October. I posted my first job just this month.
No need to re-create this wheel. These authors are champs at non-technical app development. Success not only leaves clues, it writes books that say, “Just copy what I’m doing.” Starting the outline was easy. Just start copying the contents page.
I created all of the work (business) documents in Google Drive. In the cloud. Now I can work on business from just about anywhere and easily share work with anyone.
It took a bit of time getting used to Google’s suite of office documents. It’s not as robust as Microsoft Office. The seeming lack of robustness, however, helped discipline myself into simplicity and clarity.
It also helped break my habit of perfectionism, as it doesn’t allow for some of the precise adjustments I tend to make in Microsoft PowerPoint, for example – adjustments that make absolutely no difference to my audience, like the alignment of borderless text boxes. Yes. I’m OCD.
WORK THE SYSTEM · RELOADED
Creating the shareable, update-able documents on Google Drive wasn’t enough. I also wanted a file naming convention that would make immediate sense to someone other than me.
A naming convention that intuitively implied a direction in which to move next. Files labeled in the sequence of use. Here’s an example of some of my documents’ names (thanks goes to Chad Mureta):
000 · SOP
040 · Wireframe (template)
06A · Job post (template)
06A · Job post response (template)
06B · Interview questions (template)
06C · Interviewee log spreadsheet
06D · Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) (template)
08A · Milestones (template)
10A · Metrics
10B · App updates log spreadsheet (template)
For a new app project, I simply create a folder with the name of the project, then copy-paste the templates into that folder.