When he returned to Apple, Steve Jobs began taking his “top 100” people on a retreat each year.
On the last day, he would stand in front of a whiteboard [he loved whiteboards, because they gave him complete control of a situation and they engendered focus] and ask:
“What are the 10 things we should be doing next?”
People would fight to get their suggestions on the list.
Jobs would write them down, and then cross off the ones he deemed dumb.
After much jockeying, the group would come up with a list of 10.
Then Jobs would slash the bottom seven and announce, “We can only do three.”
Getting rid of many products and ideas and focusing on top 3 or 4 is the best thing you can do to your startup.
Focus means doing one thing and going deep on it.
It means the ability to ignore and eliminate distractions and noise and have laser attention to that one thing that matters.
Focus is the continuous, iterative process of keeping the main thing the main thing.
We are not going to be everything to everyone.
When we try to be everything for everybody, we run the risk of being nothing for nobody.
We end up watering down our business proposition and our brand promise in an attempt to be as broad as possible.
We become so vague that no one knows what we are offering and our potential customers turn to other, more specific options.
We end up accomplishing far less than we had hoped, which is exhausting.
As entrepreneurs, we end up running around trying to get it all done with limited resources. It makes us feel busy and productive, but again it’s actually quite the opposite.
We are doing busy work that is not generating the kind of results we were ultimately aiming for.
We are better off appealing to a niche group of loyal customers than trying to attract everyone.
The ability to focus on few important things in a world full of distractions is the new super power.
Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
That is true for companies, and it is true for products.