"What to work on?"
That's a difficult and ultimately very personal question to answer. Only because the best choice we can make isn't always overly obvious.
Last week I was hanging out with Jon Gold at MakeshiftHQ and Jon was telling me about how they - as a team - decide which products they should be building & working on.
I can't remember the whole list, but one of the criteria that any idea had to meet was that it had to give a leg up to the little guy. Jon explained that if the idea didn't meet all of their (pre-defined) criteria, it wasn't a good fit for them and as such they wouldn't pursuit it.
I love that approach and it reminded me quite a bit about the recent spate of companies that have published their culture codes.
If you read HubSpot's Culture Code, you definitely get a sense of who they are and why they've build the products they have. Similarly, Buffer's transparency in how and how much they pay themselves, offers great insight into the company you are buying into.
It becomes evident that these details about these companies (and teams) are representative of who they are at the very core. These are the things that define them.
When I started to think about PublicBeta, I knew that I wanted to work on something where I would be helping other entrepreneurs. I also knew that if PublicBeta (or any other startup idea I was entertaining) couldn't meet that criteria, I would not be able to pursue it.
Being passionate about what I work on was important; so important that I would be willing to forsake better / bigger opportunities in favour of that passion.
So my passion and pursuit to "help other entrepreneurs" became my way of saying "I want to give a leg up to the little guy". And if that criteria wasn't met, I would not pursue it.
I believe that the only way of making sustainable decisions is to stay true to yourself.
Whether you're deciding which products to build in your company or whether or not you should work on a startup, you need to know and understand the implicit that you - as an individual - are making. If you're making a decision for whatever reason except to satisfy that deep, personal desire, you are not meeting the criteria.
How do you make the big decisions? How do you decide what to work on? Why are you building that thing you're building right now?
PS. I'm currently working on PublicBeta with the aim of giving a leg up to the little guy. If you're interested in learning from me and other successful entrepreneurs, sign up already!