A couple of months ago, I played chess against a youngster (maybe 13 or younger). I lost the game. We both played quite bad, and I played even worse. It was quite embarrassing.
So I took this opportunity to renew my love for chess. I tried some chess apps and quickly decided that Chess.com app was the best. I was pretty blown away by the experience:
- It’s a wonderfully crafted product, actually one of the best app experiences I had so far (building apps myself, I know it must have taken them many thousands of hours to get there)
- Excellent tutorials beginning at total newbie level
- Daily puzzles and tactics exercises
- Great gamification elements
- And most importantly: A community of more than 15 million players, of which about 45.000 are online at any point during the day
- I usually play 5 or 10 minute games. Within seconds you are connected to a player around the world on the same level as you
- So far I’ve played 219 games, won 86, lost 127 and draw 6. My best winning streak was 6 games in a row
- Conclusion: If you like chess, I highly recommend the Chess.com app. You won’t regret it.
Recently, I read The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (audio version). It’s a great book about management and entrepreneurship. And it reminded me of my new chess hobby.
My takeaways from the book:
- “There is always a move”: Even if you think there are no moves, there is always a move. Being CEO of a startup is like playing 3-dimensional chess. THERE IS ALWAYS A MOVE.
- CEO’s need to make it happen. No matter what it is. The initiative needs to come from the CEO. If he doesn’t make it happen, nobody will. Remember: There is always a move.
- A CEO needs to share bad news and struggles with the team. Always playing the optimistic clown is harmful. Be honest.
- Don’t focus and what can go wrong. Always focus on what you want to accomplish. It’s like driving a race car. If you focus on the wall, you drive into the wall. If you focus on the road, you stay on the road.
- Courage is very important. Sometimes it’s harmful to ask for too many opinions and make decisions too democratically. Sometimes there is no obvious answer. Sometimes the CEO needs to make a bold decision and roll with it. Being CEO is not a popularity contest. It’s about doing what’s right for the company.
- In times of crisis (or even fight for survival), it’s okay to ask your team for extra effort. Often these are the true formative moments that are remembered for a very long time.
- Remember: Running a company is like n-dimensional chess. There is always a move!