Daniel Gross on How to Accomplish Something Extraordinarily Great – Indie Hackers

Key Takeaways

  • As a founder, you need be able to step out of first-person and move into a third-person view where you can see problems from different perspectives and make rational decisions instead of emotional ones
  • If there were two gifts Daniel could give people, he would give:
    • An innate sense of curiosity
    • The belief that you CAN follow your curiosity and figure things out you haven’t yet done before
  • As a founder, you should almost feel like you’re talking to your users too much
  • If possible, move to a city or work at a company that’s inspiring or will influence you in a positive direction
    • If you can’t, use the internet to find peers and mentors to learn from – you can also read the biographies of great people
  • A lot of people with the goal of changing the world, don’t change the world – instead, find something you enjoy doing and just try to better at it each day
  • Focus on the stuff you’re excited and motivated about – “Turn your day into something that’s as fun to play as Fortnite”

Intro

Who is Daniel Gross?

  • Daniel grew up in Isreal and was into computers as a kid
    • When he was getting ready to join the Isreali army, he filled out an application for Y Combinator
      • He got in, started a company (Cue) which was acquired by Apple, and then went on to then work full-time at Apple
        • He then left Apple and soon started Pioneer

What is Pioneer?

  • Pioneer is somewhat of a search engine for ambitious, creative and talented people
    • They try to find the best people willing to work on the world’s hardest problems and then fund them to do so, all the while giving them access to mentors and other Pioneer participants
      • Pioneer supports engineers, artists, musicians, and journalists – anyone who is great in their field of choice can join
        • “Our mission is to 10x the amount of extraordinary people around the globe”
        • Anyone from anywhere can join Pioneer, the goal is to elevate people that otherwise would never be seen or have been overlooked
  • Pioneer is built as a repeated 30-day tournament, where you try to accumulate points by being productive on whatever your passion is – the more productive you are, the more points you get
    • Winners get a round-trip ticket to Silicon Valley with access to mentors, $1,000 cash, $6,000 in Stellar Lumens, $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, and other goodies
      • Daniel found that both winners and losers were coming back to play again because Pioneer helped people plan goals, track progress, and motivate them to achieve more
        • Pioneer acts as a community where people motivate one another – every person can review your status and you can see the progress of everyone else

Running A Startup

  • Being a founder is like being a club promoter – you have to constantly promote your product, company, and brand to get people to buy the product and employees to buy into the vision
    • You have to also constantly motivate people and help them accomplish their goals
  • As a founder, you need be able to step out of first-person and move into a third-person view where you can see problems from different perspectives and make rational decisions instead of emotional ones
  • If there were two gifts Daniel could give people, he would give:
    • An innate sense of curiosity
    • The belief that you CAN follow your curiosity and figure things out you haven’t yet done before
  • The best and biggest companies start out small, in an underrated community
    • Facebook started as a service just for elite colleges
    • SpaceX was initially formed just to get a drone to Mars to take a picture of the planet
  • As a founder, you should almost feel like you’re talking to your users too much because one of the biggest mistakes founders make is not taking to enough users and getting feedback
    • This doesn’t mean adding every feature users want, but it does mean considering their requests and feedback when deciding what to work on next
  • Daniel is also running a startup called AI Grant, similar idea to Pioneer, but with a focus on AI projects
    • Winners receive:
      • $2,500 in cash
      • Access to the AI Grant network
      • $20,000 in Google Compute Engine credits
      • 50% off the first $15k in Scale API spent
      • $5,000 in Figure Eight (previously CrowdFlower) data labeling credits

Additional Notes

  • Daniel is trying to make work more like a game
    • Just think – millions of people play difficult games that require group collaboration to solve quests or defeat opponents even though there is no economic incentive
    • Pioneer also has a referral leaderboard where people get bonus points for recruiting ‘good players’
  • Daniel keeps a to-do list of things that need to get done every single day
  • If possible, move to a city or work at a company that is inspiring or will influence you in a positive direction
    • If you can’t, use the internet to find peers and mentors to learn from – you can also read the biographies of great people
  • The difference between Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs is not value creation, but value capture – both men were geniuses, but only one found a way to capture the value created and become a billionaire
    • Pioneer is focused on having people follow their dreams and become value creators
  • A company isn’t going to tell you to take care of yourself – it’s your responsibility to get a good night’s sleep, exercise, eat healthy food, etc.
    • “Treat yourself like an adult and take care of yourself…set yourself up for success”
  • A lot of people with the goal of changing the world, don’t change the world – instead, find something you enjoy doing and just try to get better at it each day
  • Focus on the stuff you’re excited and motivated about – “Turn your day into something that’s as fun to play as Fortnite”

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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