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Know Thyself and Win Every Time

July 8, 2014

Posted by: Monica Selby

Know Thyself and Win Every Time

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

--Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Over the course of your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll learn a lot about business, systems, productivity, marketing, budgets, the list goes on. But the most important thing you need to understand is yourself.

Once you figure out your strengths and how to use them, everything else will become so much easier.

Here are some common personality types to consider as you figure out your own strengths and weaknesses.

Maker or Manager?

One of Paul Graham’s most popular essays describes maker versus manager schedules.

Makers prefer large open blocks of time in which to do whatever they please. Graham talks specifically about programmers in this context:

They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour. That's barely enough time to get started.

Managers, on the other hand, schedule to the hilt. Every hour of every day is marked down for something, and changing tasks so often doesn’t slow them down.

Knowing if you’re a maker or a manager by nature will make a big difference in your workflow and productivity, and trying to operate as the opposite will significantly slow you down and frustrate you.

Innovator or Implementer?

We all know the innovators. They’re the ones who spend a lot of time talking about or working on world-changing ideas. Growing up, they probably thought a little differently than the other kids.

Innovators are sexy in startups and it’s easy to want to emulate them, even if that’s not your inclination.

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