Anything You Want
Anything You Want

Anything You Want

I hope you find these ideas useful for your own life or business. I also hope you disagree with some of them. Then I hope you e-mail me to tell me about your different point of view, because that’s my favorite part of all. (I’m a student, not a guru.) (Location 76)

Tags: derek sivers

Note: I like how he encourages others to email him about their different point of views

Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams. You need to know your personal philosophy of what makes you happy and what’s worth doing. (Location 82)

Tags: goal

Note: .goal dont pursue little distractions rather than big dreams

Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself. (Location 86)

Tags: startup

Note: Improve the world and improve yourself

You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people. (Location 95)

Tags: favorite

Note: Dont try to please everyone. Exclude people

When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia. (Location 135)

Tags: startup

A few days later, I realized that $35 feels about the same as $25, so I bumped it up to $35 per album, which left me room to give discounts and still make a profit. (Location 144)

Note: Charge more and give discounts more freely

We’ve all heard about the importance of persistence. But I had misunderstood. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working. (Location 164)

Tags: quotes, persistence

Note: .persistence success comes from persistently improving (compound effect), not from persisting at something that isnt working

When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say, “Hell yeah!” (Location 173)

Tags: priotitise, notes

Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what’s best for your customers. If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, “How can I best help you now?” Then focus on satisfying those requests. (Location 203)

Tags: customer focused

Note: Focus on whats best for the customer

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless they are executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions. Explanation: Awful idea = -1 Weak idea = 1 So-so idea = 5 Good idea = 10 Great idea = 15 Brilliant idea = 20 No execution = $1 Weak execution = $1,000 So-so execution = $10,000 Good execution = $100,000 Great execution = $1,000,000 Brilliant execution = $10,000,000 To make a business, you need to multiply the two components. (Location 233)

Tags: execution

Note: .execution

I was in Las Vegas for a conference, taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. I asked the driver, “How long have you lived here?” He said, “Twenty-seven years.” “Wow! A lot has changed since then, huh?” “Yeah. I miss the mob.” “Huh? Really? What do you mean?” “When the mafia ran this town, it was fun. There were only two numbers that mattered: how much was coming in, and how much was going out. As long as there was more in than out, everyone was happy. But then the whole town was bought up by these damn corporations full of MBA weasels micromanaging, trying to maximize the profit from every square foot of floor space. Now the place that used to put ketchup on my hot dog tells me it’ll be an extra twenty-five cents for ketchup! It sucked all the fun out of this town! Yeah, I miss the mob.” (Sure, we could bring up other issues with the mob, but let’s just leave it as a metaphor and a lesson.) I told this story a lot at CD Baby. Sometimes MBA types would ask me, “What’s your growth rate? What’s your retained earnings rate as a percentage of gross? What are your projections?” (Location 344)

We all grade ourselves by different measures: ▸ For some people, it’s as simple as how much money they make. When their net worth is going up, they know they’re doing well. ▸ For others, it’s how much money they give. ▸ For some, it’s how many people’s lives they can influence for the better. ▸ For others, it’s how deeply they can influence just a few people’s lives. For me, it’s how many useful things I create, whether songs, companies, articles, websites, or anything else. If I create something that’s not useful to others, it doesn’t count. But I’m also not interested in doing something useful unless it needs my creative input. How do you grade yourself? It’s important to know in advance, to make sure you’re staying focused on what’s honestly important to you, instead of doing what others think you should. (Location 361)

Note: How do you grade yourself

When we yell at our car or our coffee machine, it’s fine because they’re just mechanical appliances. So when we yell at a website or a company, using our computer or our phone, we forget that it’s not an appliance but a person that’s affected. It’s dehumanizing to have thousands of people passing through our computer screens, so we do things we’d never do if those people were sitting next to us. It’s too overwhelming to remember that at the end of every computer is a real person, a lot like you, whose birthday was last week, who has three best friends but nobody to spoon at night, and who is personally affected by what you say. Even if you remember it right now, will you remember it next time you’re overwhelmed, or perhaps never forget it again? (Location 436)

Note: Dont dehumanise others you talk to online

If you find even the smallest way to make people smile, they’ll remember you more for that smile than for all your other fancy business-model stuff. (Location 474)

Note: Make people smile

Every outgoing e-mail has a “From:” name, right? Why not use that to make people smile, too? With one line of code, I made it so that every outgoing e-mail customized the “From:” field to be “CD Baby loves [first name].” So if the customer’s name was Susan, every e-mail she got from us would say it was from “CD Baby loves Susan.” Customers loved this! (Location 484)

Tags: email, customerlove

Note: .customerlove

Sometimes, after we had done the forty-five minutes of work to add a new album to the store, the musician would change his mind and ask us to do it over again with a different album cover or different audio clips. I wanted to say yes but let him know that this was really hard to do, so I made a policy that made us both smile: “We’ll do anything for a pizza.” If you needed a big special favor, we’d give you the number of our local pizza delivery place. If you bought us a pizza, we’d do any favor you wanted. When we’d tell people about this on the phone, they’d often laugh, not believing we were serious. But we’d get a pizza every few weeks. I’d often hear from musicians later that this was the moment they fell in love with us. (Location 487)

Tags: customerlove

Note: .customerlove

Ten years later, I was running CD Baby, and for the first time, an employee told me he needed to quit. I said, “Drag. Well. OK. I wish you the best! Who’s your replacement?” He looked confused. I said, “Have you found and trained a replacement yet?” He looked a little stunned, then said, “No … . I think that’s your job.” Now I was stunned. I asked a few friends and found out he was right. People can just quit a job without finding and training their replacements. I had no idea. All these years, I just assumed what I had done was normal. There’s a benefit to being naive about the norms of the world—deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, instead of just doing what others do. (Location 523)

Tags: societal norms

Note: Dont simpy rely on social norms, do what you think is best

Being, not having: When you want to learn how to do something yourself, most people won’t understand. They’ll assume the only reason we do anything is to get it done, and doing it yourself is not the most efficient way. But that’s forgetting about the joy of learning and doing. Yes, it may take longer. Yes, it may be inefficient. Yes, it may even cost you millions of dollars in lost opportunities because your business is growing slower because you’re insisting on doing something yourself. But the whole point of doing anything is because it makes you happy! That’s it! (Location 568)

Note: Do something for the enjoyment of learning and because it makes you happy

“Yes, refund his money in full. We’ll take a little loss. It’s important to always do whatever would make the customer happiest, as long as it’s not outrageous. A little gesture like this goes a long way toward him telling his friends we’re a great company. Everyone always remember that helping musicians is our first goal, and profit is second. You have my full permission to use that guideline to make these decisions yourself in the future. Do what makes the musicians happiest. Make sure everyone who deals with us leaves with a smile.” (Location 672)

Tags: customerhappy

Note: .customerhappy

Gather everybody around. Answer the question and explain the philosophy. Make sure everyone understands the thought process. Ask one person to write it in the manual. Let everybody know they can decide this without me next time. (Location 678)

Tags: delegation

Note: .delegation document decisions and principles

Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were at a party at a billionaire’s extravagant estate. Kurt said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” Joseph said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have… . Enough.” (Location 783)

Tags: favorite, desires

When I decided to sell CD Baby, I already had enough. I live simply. I don’t own a house, a car, or even a TV. The less I own, the happier I am. The lack of stuff gives me the priceless freedom to live anywhere anytime. (Location 785)

Tags: minimalism

Note: Having less allows you to live anywhere anytime

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury. (Location 806)

Note: What excites you and whAt drains you