Fifteen years ago, I made what initially seemed a leap of faith. I quit all the things people told me there were enough: I dropped out of College, quit a full-time job, created my first company, and committed myself to lifelong self-taught learning.

Since then, I have been lucky to collaborate with highly talented and driven people. I have mostly been involved in early-stage startups, which sounds very exciting and is a great way to learn new things! This is all true, but it also has a very challenging B-side, and some of the most important lessons are taught the hard way.

I created startups, collaborated as a founding engineer, worked with different team topologies, acquired some good and bad biases, and had good and bad days. Of all the types of learning, this is one of the most raw. It exposes your ways of seeing the world to other people who are ready to say no, and it also forces you to set resilience mechanisms to build up your mindset multiple times, starting from scratch again and again.

Everyone should experiment with this method of learning at least once. However, understanding when to stop, recalibrate, and reflect on all the internal processes you build from experience is also essential. Also, keep an appreciation mindset as hard as possible since you never know where serendipity will lead you.

I’m sharing some of my most valued learnings, hoping they could help anyone who needs them.

  1. The best way to learn is by doing, and the best way to teach is by sharing.
  2. The best way to grow is by helping others grow.
  3. The only way to generate business outcomes is to get close to the people and their problems.
  4. Businesses are born and die every day, prioritize the long-term.
  5. If you outlast your competition, you win.
  6. Effecting change is hard, and keeping momentum is key to success. It’s always Day 1!
  7. Delivering consistently is more important than executing fast, but you should do both.
  8. Execution without strategy is a waste of time.
  9. There is always a way to simplify, lead by example, and keep things simple.
  10. Finding and Managing people is critical to unlock potential.
  11. Strong teams are not only judged by performance.
  12. This job’s most rewarding parts are unseen, which is fine.