“Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy into actually solving real problems for real people.”
When Sivers realized that there was no effective way to get an album distributed in the mid-90’s, he created a website to sell his CD. He learned how to code, wrote a website, and started selling. This is before itunes, before it was easy to make a website, before the music industry was changed forever.
I have no idea if Sivers’ album was any good, but the website must have been, because a few of Derek’s musician friends asked if they could put their albums on the website too. He said sure.
For the next few years, Derek’s sole focus was on serving his customer – the musician – and solving his or her key problem: getting distribution. He was absurdly focused on this, to a fault, but it’s absolutely beautiful to read about someone who just wants to solve problems, as opposed to “scale” and “pivot” and “leverage.”
Sivers’ writing is extremely straightforward and free from ambiguity. Solve real problems. If you want to educate millions, start with one (Sal Khan). If you want to build an empire, start with a single customer.