FASTer - Issue #119

When you seek a solution and not credit.

In the realm of everyday innovations, some entrepreneurs have made remarkable contributions that have become ingrained in our daily lives, often without us knowing their names. One such visionary entrepreneur is Melitta Bentz, a German inventor who revolutionized coffee brewing with her pour-over method.

A Frustration Turns into Invention:

In the early 20th century, Melitta Bentz, a homemaker from Dresden, Germany, grew tired of the coffee grounds that tainted the taste of her brewed coffee. Seeking a solution, she decided to experiment with different materials to filter the coffee, aiming to achieve a cleaner and more flavorful brew.

The Birth of the Pour-Over Method:

In 1908, Melitta Bentz had a breakthrough. She used blotting paper from her son's school notebook and created a two-part filtration system. She pierced the bottom of a brass pot and placed the paper filter inside, creating a way for water to flow through the grounds, while retaining the unwanted particles. This simple yet ingenious pour-over method eliminated the bitter taste and sediment commonly associated with coffee brewing.

An Unassuming Success:

Melitta Bentz shared her invention with family and friends, who were amazed by the improved coffee flavor. Recognizing the potential of her innovation, she filed a patent for her filter in 1908 and founded the Melitta Bentz Company. With perseverance and dedication, she began producing and selling the paper filters, initially from her kitchen table, eventually expanding to larger-scale production.

The Transformation of Coffee Culture:

Melitta Bentz's pour-over method not only improved the taste of coffee but also transformed coffee brewing into a more accessible and convenient process. The use of paper filters allowed for easy cleanup and provided consistent results, paving the way for the widespread adoption of the pour-over method among coffee enthusiasts worldwide.


Parkinson’s Law is the adage that work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. This plays out every year – it can seem like the only thing we gain is more work!

In his book "Atomic Habits," James Clear highlights the remarkable story of the British cycling team to illustrate the power of making small, consistent improvements. After Dave Brailsford was appointed as the team's performance director in 2003, their performance underwent a dramatic transformation. Previously, the team had only secured one gold medal in the past century, but under Brailsford's leadership, they went on to capture an astonishing 70% of the gold medals available in the 2012 Olympics.

Brailsford's strategy centered around what he termed the "aggregation of marginal gains," which involved seeking 1% improvements in every aspect of their performance. To achieve this, he deconstructed the sport and examined every possible factor that could contribute to their success. From obvious elements like optimizing their equipment, such as using lighter cycling gear and changing tires, to more subtle factors like improving hygiene practices to minimize illness risks and investing in better pillows for quality sleep, Brailsford left no stone unturned in his pursuit of incremental enhancements.

By recognizing that even the smallest improvements across multiple areas could lead to significant progress, the British cycling team experienced an incredible upturn in their results. This approach fostered a culture of continuous improvement, where every team member was encouraged to identify areas for growth and strive for marginal gains. Over time, these cumulative 1% improvements accumulated into a staggering transformation, propelling the team to the forefront of their sport. The same can be applied to your life as a founder/entrepreneur. Here is a list for you to think about your outcomes.

List of 10 Areas for 1% Improvements in Entrepreneurship:

  1. Time Management

    • Prioritization

    • Task batching

    • Distraction management

  2. Communication Skills

    • Active listening

    • Effective feedback

    • Written and verbal clarity

  3. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

    • Industry research

    • Online courses and webinars

    • Seeking feedback and reflection

  4. Streamlined Decision-Making

    • Breakdown of complex decisions

    • Decision-making frameworks

    • Evaluation and learning

  5. Building a Supportive Network

    • Mentorship and guidance

    • Collaboration and partnerships

    • Networking events and communities

  6. Customer Relationship Management

    • Understanding customer needs

    • Customer feedback and surveys

    • Personalized experiences

  7. Productivity and Efficiency

    • Task automation

    • Process optimization

    • Performance tracking

  8. Financial Management

    • Budgeting and forecasting

    • Expense tracking

    • Cash flow management

  9. Innovation and Creativity

    • Idea generation techniques

    • Experimentation and risk-taking

    • Embracing new technologies

  10. Self-care and Well-being

    • Work-life balance

    • Stress management

    • Prioritizing personal health and happiness

One New Thing I Learnt Today

A Russian eagle named "Min" & 3 other eagles being tracked by scientists unexpectedly flew into Iran/Pakistan; the birds racked up so many out-of-network data roaming charges on SMS text transmitters that scientists had to take out a loan & ask for help on social media to pay off the phone bill.

Moral of the story, you must see the entire plan in the context of upsides and downsides and best case and worse case. In this case well meaning researchers probably factored in all the scientific items related to the Eagles but did not factor in the business side of the tracking.

Boring Stuff That Scales

Knowing the benefits and differences between a cash compensation and equity compensation. Trust me, most first time founder F*k this up big time. As a 20 some thing year old founder(once upon a time), I too made the crucial mistake of not understanding the difference in outcomes “quick cash” presented vs “long term equity”. I’ve thankfully only made that mistake once. I came across a fantastic threat that will make you scale your successes like a well written multi season show. A must read for every one looking to transform their lives.

What You Should Be Reading

Rarely do I come across a book that builds on content legacy and continues to do so. What do I mean. I recently came across a book + podcast combination that is a treasure trove. If you want to positively impact your outcomes this year this is where you should start. The book is masterfully simple and coherent whilst being tactically superior to almost any thing else Ive read in a while.

Monetize your time

By following these 7 steps to researching any thing. Master this and you will master your outcomes and monetize your time by knowing where to invest your effort. May seem simple but it really is, yet most people never get started in their quest to do some thing entrepreneurial because they can not get past researching any thing, as they follow an unstructured approach. When you cant organize your research you cant organize your thoughts, when you cant organize those, you cant monetize your time.

One Last Thing

The power of 5 year plans. I encourage any one who is struggling from a mental road block, muddied outcomes, lack of clarity or those seeking a fresh start, to build or start building a 5 year personal plan. Easier said than done. I tweeted about this last year and got 100s of people asking me what it should look like. I shared some thoughts on this earlier but heres a slightly more detailed take.

There is no one right answer to this, but in the executive coaching sessions I run, I tend to break it down as follows:

First I explain what it is:

A 5-year personal growth plan is a document that outlines your goals and objectives for the next five years. It can help you to stay focused and motivated, and to track your progress over time.

Then I explain what it can be:

A good 5-year personal growth plan should include the following elements:

  • Your current situation: What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your goals and dreams?

  • Your goals: What do you want to achieve in the next five years? Be specific and measurable.

  • Your objectives: What steps do you need to take to achieve your goals? Break your goals down into smaller, more manageable objectives.

  • Your timeline: When do you want to achieve each of your objectives? Set realistic deadlines for yourself.

  • Your resources: What resources do you need to achieve your goals? This could include time, money, or support from others.

  • Your plan of action: How are you going to achieve your goals? What specific steps are you going to take?

  • Your review process: How will you track your progress and make sure you are on track? Review your plan regularly and make adjustments as needed.

Then I throw in some Caution:

  • Be realistic about your goals. Don't set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals.

  • Be specific. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to track your progress and stay motivated.

  • Break down your goals into smaller, more manageable objectives. This will make them seem less daunting and more achievable.

  • Set deadlines for yourself. This will help you to stay on track and avoid procrastination.

  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to make adjustments to your plan as needed.

  • Review your plan regularly. This will help you to track your progress and make sure you are on track to achieve your goals.

Net Net

Creating a 5-year personal growth plan can be a daunting task, but it is an essential step in achieving your goals. By following these tips, you can create a plan that is realistic, specific, and achievable and do it Faster now that you have an outline to start with.

Bonus! Thought of the week

Donate Blood. Even if you are selfish! Why? Because it helps you too. It is a win-win. Stop, pause, think, in your desire to enhance your outcomes, what if there was some thing you could do to enhance or materially impact some one else’s outcomes. Especially if the benefits to you include:

  • Heart health: Regular donation may improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attacks

  • Blood flow: Regular donation may help blood flow and reduce arterial blockages

  • Iron balance: Donating can keep iron levels balanced

  • Emotional well-being: Donating can improve emotional well-being by reducing stress and providing a sense of belonging

  • Community: Donating can be a vital service to the community

  • Detoxing: Donating may help the body's detoxing potential

  • Mini-physical: Before donating, a mini-physical checks pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and more

According to a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, regular blood donors are 88% less likely than non-donors to have a heart attack. Will you help create this win-win?