Testing business assumptions: I like this definition from Eric Ries’ book, “The Lean Startup”:
A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
I’ve come to realize that the most important part of this definition is what it omits. It says nothing about the size of the company, industry, or the sector of the economy. Anyone who is creating a new product or business under conditions of extreme uncertainty is an entrepreneur whether he or she knows it or not and whether working in a government agency, a venture-backed company, nonprofit, or decidedly for-profit company with financial investors.
I like the idea of treating work as an experiment that reduces uncertainty and helps us do something better. I want to get better at bringing out those uncertainties and planning how to resolve them.
Visualizing data and making better decisions: I like collecting data, bringing them together in dashboards, and figuring out visualizations that can help people make better decisions. Last year, I implemented a visualization for a Drupal project so that investors could see where the gaps in funding were. I’m working on some visualizations for my personal dashboard. I think it’s useful to be able to help people find patterns while avoiding false positives or visual noise.
Building systems that fit the way people need to work: I like the way we tailored the last project based on constant client feedback. I like saving people time by building systems that help them work more effectively instead of requiring a lot of repetitive work.