Emotional Work Startups

Day 409 and Glass Cannon

I’m one of those “life optimization” types. I spend a lot of time on various wellness applications. My health stack is deep. Over the years I have attempted to integrate more productivity applications into my life. But beyond a basic “to do” list I’ve found myself failing to maintain anything more complicated than ToDoist task list.

I think my failure is related to the challenge inherent in optimizing deep work. A lot of what passes for work in regular jobs isn’t a big part of my work. I don’t have a ton of alignment meetings because I am accountable to my LPs and my founders but not horizontal stakeholders. I don’t have tons of reporting as again the buy-in is pretty contained.

Ultimately I am only responsible for outcomes. And my outcomes will take years to materialize. I’ve got to get conviction on a decision largely on my own. I am responsible for my own success. And yes it’s a little bit scary to realize I’m in control.

This means I can’t fixate on signifiers of work. Which is largely what productivity apps track. The representation of the work is usually what gets tracked and measured. Arguably I can have my own OKRs (objectives and key results) but I’ve not encountered any personal productivity apps that work well for that framework. It basically boils down to the harsh truth that most of my work is deep work and it’s harder to measure. Deep work is the stuff of slow integration and accumulating knowledge up until it turns into catalysts, breakthroughs and ambush predation.

A gamer friend called me a glass cannon. I’d never heard the term before. It basically boils down to a character that has impressive offensive work but little stamina or defensive work. When they hit crit they go off. Boom! When facing a glass cannon you’d better hope you kill them before they rock your world as if they cycle back for another hit you are fucked. Glass cannons are hard to kill despite the appearance of weakness.

I spend my time preparing for action. Integrating knowledge. Widening my horizons. Intaking potential opportunities. None of which is easy to measure and moderate in traditional work culture. But when I go off you know I’ve made a move. It’s clear. Decisive. But the intervening time between? I’m preparing to go critical. You don’t know when or how but then it’s all in. A glass cannon may be the ideal archetype for venture investors.