I learn by doing but I’d rather not make the costly mistakes

Photo by Loic Leray on Unsplash

What I learnt in 2020 about

Last year, when I wasn't posting on LinkedIn, Twitter or to my personal newsletter subscribers, I was doing closed 1:1 accountability session with Founders, learning about the things that really keep them up at night, things they don't necessarily feel comfortable sharing on social media.

One of the things I realised is that even though there is a lot of support in the tech community, things like bootcamps, how to build your personal brand, how to build your MVP, etc, there is an apprehensiveness to these events, their incentives and whether they lead to meaningful results.

Walk with me. Let me tell you different between people who learn by doing and those that like a bit of structure.

My hope is that by reading this, you'll be able to understand more about who you are, and get a better sense of what people in your shoes do about things they are uncertain about, but want to do anyway.

Entrepreneurs vs Professionals

Entrepreneurs learn by doing and that’s fine. Maybe they don’t need structure.

Photo by Joshua Oluwagbemiga on Unsplash

Take Tobi, he’s a hustler and that’s that. He got his last Instagram Seafood platter of the ground by just posting videos of him and his cousins posting different scenes. He’s making some money from it but it does take up his time each week. He knows everyone is talking about Tech and he wants to create a tech product.

Some people shoot their shot 🏀 and adapt

FounderVine have a cool programme coming up and he can afford to pay, but he thinks a lot of the information he will be able to find online on Google and one boy he went to College with works in Operations in a startup so he feels like he can just shout him when he needs him.

Professionals like a bit of structure and a bit off planning up front.

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

Look at Brenya. She’s had success in her career by being able to move in different circles and be valuable person in any team. She’s blessed to have a monthly and is willing to put that to good use and invest in herself. She understands the different perspective she has in her field and the trusted network she’s a part of that meets twice a month. She can’t code but she understands their needs because every week they do accountability sessions and a lot of the problems are shared by others.

Some people like to know what they are doing before starting out

She knows of a Tech guy who’s newsletter she’s been reading for the past year and this guy knows his stuff. She had an initial call with him and he’ll definitely avoid her making costly mistakes she could avoid with his expertise and advice.

Which am I?

There’s been times when I’ve taken unnecessary risk.

Right out of Uni I had this idea called Lomo Link to create a marketplace for hotels in Nigeria. I spent so much time making sure the logo was dope, I negotiated the shit out of a developer and got what I paid for. In the end, it wasn’t that the product was bad, my problem was that I couldn’t get the supply without spending significant capital because of the way things were set up there.

After trying for a few months managing operations from abroad, we closed shop and it was back to the drawing board. It definitely gave me experience of what not to do and I look back at it like a win because I learnt a few things.

Now, I feel like a better sailor because I know that there is value in things like access to networks, people who are operators i.e. live what they talk  about and some people just have a ton of valuable experience and are willing to share if you don’t take their time for granted.

What am I willing to pay for?

As long as I get more value than what I paid I’m cool with that.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
You’re only just improving your skills even in small doses, goes such a long way

I love adaptability. I can see myself being that Nigerian Dad that tells my son to drop and give me 5 more!

But I also would want my future son to be sharp enough to make the most of his environment and work with others.

So I can summarise the mix of my apparent cautious balanced risk profile with my professional experience as this.

You don’t know what you don’t know.  I learn by doing but I’d rather not make costly mistakes.

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About Yommy Ojo

Product Maker & Cultural Storyteller
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