2 min read

Blocks and Rocks

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All of us have 'blocking issues' at work – sometimes it's ourselves getting in our own way, sometimes it's the world telling you that your job or company doesn't need to exist, and sometimes the issue is purely technical: you need to figure out how to do something to make your business work.

Blocks are different than rocks. Blocks require deep thought to work around, while rocks require you to just move the damn rock out of the way. You move rocks through brute force, because thinking about an elegant solution to move a single rock is a waste of time.

A lot of my favorite businesses make their living moving rocks on behalf of other businesses: almost every SaaS platform is built on moving a small amount of rocks for their clients, over and over (that's software-as-a-service for you non-techies, which is a fancy way of saying, "we charge you a subscription to use our service."). Software like customer relationship management systems have, at their core, moving the most annoying rock in sales as their core function: reminding you to get off your butt and call someone. The flower businesses I used to help run solved the small rock of, "oh, crap, today is so-and-so's birthday and I need something that will get there in a few hours."

Blocks are different, because they are about things like, "our business won't make money unless we can figure out who actually wants to buy this thing we made." While there are companies out there that proport to help you find those people, this is actually a really difficult problem.

blocks vs rocks

Over the course of my career, I've found that almost every block is caused by a faulty assumption somewhere along the way. Some of Hopara's clients are guilty of this: they assume that their customer is one type of person; after a couple weeks of analysis, it's pretty clear that they are using an idealized version of their customer that looks more like a Greek God than an actual human.

To those of you facing large blocks and rocks today, share your story with me. I'd love to hear about it.

That's it for today! Thanks for reading.

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