Watching @deadmau5 live stream has made me realize how technology frustrates all of us including rock star dudes.

— Cheston Lee (@Cheston) March 20, 2012

I came across this tweet earlier via my buddy Jacob and it got me thinking.

In life, we can easily fall victim to getting caught up in the moment. The specifics of your job and life can take away from your consciousness of the higher goals that you have. Do you want to change the world? Yes, we all do. But in what way?

For me, I want to make software simpler. One example of what I want to accomplish is the transition to a Macbook that my parents have went through in the past several months. Previously when I would visit, they would have a list of computer problems waiting for me. “The printer driver isn’t working.” “iTunes won’t sync.” “I don’t know where my files are from the camera after I transferred them via USB.” And then I gave them my Macbook. I haven’t heard a peep from them since. It was a seamless transition, and they have had absolutely zero problems and can do more now than they could before. Their lives are now simpler and much more productive.

To me, being able to make regular software simpler can have a profound effect. Nontechnical people will be able to accomplish more quicker using simpler software. This is what I want to do. I want to change the world by adding simplicity and minimalism to an overly complicated world.

Rails exemplifies this in the development of web applications. Steam does this for video games by removing the complexities around it. There are plenty of people with similar values in tons of different areas.

One of the keys to success is having defined your set of values. Things you believe in.

If you take a look at everyone who has been incredibly successful, they have had a specific set of goals and values. They made their decisions based upon these values, and stuck by them no matter what.

Every single president had strong beliefs that were unwavering. Steve Jobs had that. Every really successful company has grown out of a set of values . They weren’t without their enemies, but that comes with the territory.

On the other hand, if you analyze those who aren’t successful, you’ll notice that they have wavering beliefs. They are unsure of themselves which remove the ability for people to stand behind them. You can’t support someone who changes their mind month to month.

Which leads into my next point…

Defining your values makes you a leader

Sometimes people are searching for something to believe in. They’re questioning their beliefs and looking for someone to align themselves with. If you talk about your values, it is easy to attract people with similar values. The best tech companies write tons of blog posts about their values, and this grows a community of similar people. The potential employees with similar values are already exposed, so they know exactly where to go when they are looking for a job.

Knowing exactly what your values are puts you in a unique position. Most people don’t know what theirs are, and it is refreshing to see someone who does. TED Talks always have inspiring speakers. Everyone of them knows what they live for. We are attracted to this because it is inspirational. They are amazing individuals. We want to be like them.

And that’s easy. You’ve just got to become one yourself.

Write down your values

So what things do you believe in? What would values would you never sacrifice? This is important on both a personal and a career level.

Decisions are easy when you have a set of values. Does eating two cookies fit your personal value of a healthy lifestyle? Nope. Done, no arguing with yourself, no second guessing. Does arguing for 3 hours about the company color scheme help achieve your company’s goals? Nope. Look at your values. “We want to give the best customer experience we can.” Well then I guess the exact color of the website doesn’t matter when everyone could be answering customer questions and building the product features out.


It’s easy for things to be blown out of proportion. Stupid problems end up much larger than they should be. Having a set of values allows you to refocus and put them back into perspective. Oh this doesn’t really matter AND we can change it pretty much whenever? Then just pick one and we’ll fix it later if it doesn’t work out. No biggie.

So what are your values?

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