Step 1: Determine what kind of geek you are
I’m a business geek, not a product geek. I get more excited about business models than product roadmaps. I may have just confessed a sin in certain circles, but that’s the truth.
I’ve Founded and led a product company, Brandfolder. I did an ok job. You can read about my learnings as a first-time CEO here. I’m just not the guy to obsess over “product” or UX, pixels, architecture. I am definitely not a Product CEO.
I’m not the earliest adopter of consumer-facing products. I don’t pore over Product Hunt on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong: I like product, I just don’t love it. I know people who love it, and I’m just not them.
I like to create via business. I’m a Finance guy. I geek out on strategic finance: crunching out analysis in spreadsheets and thinking about business problems. I’ve been doing this for years, but it just occurred to me recently to really focus here and stop trying to be something I’m not, which I’ve done in the past.
For me, product is a hobby, it’s a nice to have. I like to tinker and mini-hack, brainstorm, provide input, evangelize and support. Building business(es) is a passion, something I must do. I love the ideation, the strategy, the putting together of the pieces, the results.
Step 2: Channel Your Geekiness
More recently I have founded my second company, Bigfoot Capital, a financial services firm focused on providing seed stage SaaS debt. I feel much more in my wheelhouse this go around and my excitement level is ramped up because I’m operating in my domain of expertise and passion.
It’s a full creative effort from product conceptualization and development (granted credit product, not software products), brand building and market development, customer targeting, acquisition and service, fundraising, risk management, the whole gamut of business building activities.
Many people would abhor spending their days doing what I’m doing to build this business, but I can truly say I’m excited to get up every day and start tackling a whole host of differing tasks, that require me to wear different hats. I get to be a chameleon in a specialized fashion. Now, I don’t love every single task, but I do the satisfaction of knowing the steps I am taking are business building steps. My business building steps.
Step 3: Geek Hard, Geek Often, Geek with Pride
Now that you’ve been self aware and done some channeling, keep it up. Create things that you’re excited about and put them out there for others to get value out of. My geek crushes: Tom Tunguz and Anand Sanwal. Consistently rigorous analyses, simply conveyed, and I can tell they both geek doing what they do.
So, what kind of geek are you? How do you geekshine (just made that up)? Who’s your geek crush?