Doing Something Hard, Making Hard Choices

We're confronted with a myriad choices in business and in life.

There is much discussion around making smart moves, picking one thing over another, optimizing the effective use of attention, time, and resources. Challenging the mental models that drive those selections is considered too nuanced — and just plain hard.

Yet, it is when we challenge the reality we have constructed around the recurring situations in our lives that we have breakthroughs.

Doing something hard, making hard choices

The two stories that caught my eye this week are:


1Chris Dixon shares a memo to investors and employees by Jonah Peretti, CEO that details BuzzFeed's strategy. Long term focus, respect for readers, building all the tools, luck, and treating the whole team fairly and with equal consideration are among the points Peretti runs through.

On doing something hard:

In the early days of BuzzFeed, I had several VCs say they were interested in investing if we could figure out a way to fire all the editors and still run the site. I’m not joking.

Tech investors prefer pure platform companies because you can just focus on the tech, have the users produce the content for free, and scale the business globally without having to hire many people. 

Startups that promise this vision have an easier time attracting funding which is why there are so many startups trying to be the next Twitter or Facebook or the Instagram or Pinterest for X, Y, or Z. 

Meanwhile, companies that employ reporters, editors, and creative people usually struggle to get funding which is why so few publishing companies or agencies are venture backed.

 Lucky for them — and for us — they were able to get funding. As Peretti says, the best reporting and the most entertaining media is usually created by people who do it for a living. It is.


2Timothy Burke shares a segment from the opening ceremony at the summer Olympic Games 2012 in London from the BBC. It is a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terror attacks in the city:

[…] it was a rather significant and emotional moment in the opening ceremony, coming just before the parade of nations—and it wasn't aired in the United States. Instead, viewers were treated to a lengthy and meaningless Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps. NBC regularly excises small portions of the opening ceremony to make room for commercials, but we've never heard of them censoring out an entire performance—especially to air an inane interview.

Several threads on G+ are discussing the editorial decision, and you can find several thoughtful comments in the thread at the post. And more discussion on G+ about NBC's decision of not live streaming the opening ceremony.


Doing something hard is making tough decisions about who we want to be as individuals and as businesses.

What mental model would you give up to keep that promise? What are the unintended consequences of sticking by a poor choice?

Have a great weekend everyone.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.

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