Some years ago I heard a story about Google. I forget the details, but the gist of the story sticks with me, and I think of it often…

In Google’s early days, before “google” became a verb, when the founders of Google were still just grad students at Stanford, they would periodically get an email. The email would simply say, “53,” or “56,” or something like that. The email was anonymous, so they had no idea who was sending it.

This went on for a couple years, and then one day the founders hit reply and asked the sender who he was, and what he meant.

The sender was counting the words on Google’s homepage, and when the homepage got too wordy, he’d send Google an email with the word count. Basically he was saying, “Cut it back, boys.”

If you really want to get creative with a project, place constraints on it. Learn how to operate without the resource you want most. Usually that means either limit your access to money, or limit your access to time. Often, the limits will be placed on you by external forces. If they aren’t, consider placing them on you yourself.


About Matt Krause

Matt began his professional life as an import buyer, and since 2006 has been teaching companies how to connect with their investors and clients better. His clients work in Istanbul, London, and Madrid for companies like Allianz, 3M, P&G, Citibank, and Reckitt Benckiser. He also walked across Turkey and wrote a book about it.