Don’t try to be Keith Richards

Whenever you talk of ‘Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’, you have to think of the legendary Rolling Stones. Not only have they made an eternal contribution to great music that will live forever. They have also lived the above myth to the extreme.

Lead guitarist Keith Richards has been chief among those trying everything on the planet and then some. And it has shown, time and time again.

I distinctly remember a concert with them in Copenhagen, where during band introductions somebody had to step up to the ol’ geezer and shout into his ear where on the planet he was playing that particular night:

“Oh yeah…Copenhagen! Pleasure!”

And then a big grin on his face before going full body and spirit into yet another one of their evergreen hits.

While slightly funny in itself, the real interesting thing about Keith Richards is that he was not supposed to have been there at all. Judging from what he has done to himself over the decades, he should have been dead long ago.

Apparently the combination of a very strong immune system (that scientists will want to study when he’s gone) and luck has kept him alive.

That last part is the essential one here.


If luck hadn’t played its very significant part, Keith Richards would probably not have been around to tell his countless tales. Luck enabled him to do so.

It wasn’t part of any masterplan on his part. If there ever was one it went up in smoke – literally – in the 70s. Because you can’t plan for luck.

Neither can you.

If luck is a key ingredient to your future success, take a step back and reassess what you’re doing and how you can work to ensure that you’re not so dependent on something as fluffy, fledgling and very little under control as luck is.

Of course successful people are lucky too. But most of them – 99% would be my guess – also made it with more hard work, focus, determination, grit, talent and whatever than sheer luck saving them from stupid decisions.

You should work your way towards success. While Keith Richards is undoubtedly a legend, he is and will remain a terrible, terrible role model.

(Photo by Vale Arellano on Unsplash)

Destroy the problem

During the summer I have become involved in a couple of product management communities in order to built network and get insights and inspiration for tools and methods that we can use in our new MedTech startup.

Sifting through a couple of discussions in the forums, I came across a discussion on attitudes towards building and developing products that had one key term that I really fell in love with:

“It is all about destroying the problem.”

– Quote from discussion in Product Management forum

I love the phrasing because it totally spells out not only what needs to be done but also emphasizes the general why;

When we’re building products and taking them to market we’re doing so first and foremost to help people – our users and customers – solve their problem(s).

We can look at this as simply trying to solve the problem and then think that maybe we will succeed or maybe we don’t. Or we can look at the problem as a problem that needs to get destroyed.

What happens when we look at a problem as something to destroy:

(1) We become super determined.

(2) We have a crystal clear focus.

(3) We’re willing to do whatever it takes.

(4) We won’t be soft about it.

(5) We’re gunning for total victory.

(6) We also understand that we’re acting on behalf of others; those in need of our help.

(7) We won’t quit in our pursuit unless we’re absolutely dead.

In sum, we’re not (just) doing it for the fun of it and the thrill of the ride. We’re doing it because it is essential to do. It’s do or die.

Add to all of the above that I sincerely feel that having an ‘all in’ attitude to destroying the problem will serve you super well in both getting investors, team and customers on board.


Because you’re giving it your all.

I love it.