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Info Design

2019-05-11, posts

More smarts, not money.

Ivan Zhao and his team have created Notion, one of the best apps I’ve ever used.

Notion does everything and does it all nearly perfectly, and it’s only a company of maybe two-dozen people. Just a startup.

Investors also realize the brilliance of Notion, and many people with many millions of dollars want to invest in Ivan’s company. But according to reports, Ivan turns them all down.

He knows: Hiring more engineers, adding more team members, consulting more strategists…that’s not going to speed up the process like you think. It might even result in a shitty product.

Sometimes I joke, Moby Dick was written by one person.’ Three of [Herman Melville] probably wouldn’t be much faster. Software is a lot like that. Without understanding what you’re trying to do, adding more people will actually slow you down. So the product side of Notion is four people or five people.” (Source)

You might think you need more resources, teammates, or capital to achieve what you want to do, and you might be right. To an extent.

If you’re stuck and you know a lack of resources is the problem, you’re probably right. Go get more resources. If you’re stuck, have no idea why, and think that more resources will help, you’re probably not on the right track.

At this stage we’re blocked by our internal process, our team, and distribution. Not necessarily capital. We want to figure out how to turn incoming capital into Moby Dicks first before getting more capital. (Source)