The Hard Thing Is That There Are Always More Hard Things.


It’s fall, which means I’m already thinking about plans for 2016. The new year is less than 90 days away, and there are a ton of big decisions to make between now and then.

As I think about the state of my four-person team at BuzzFeed, these challenges come to mind for 2016:

-We need to grow our team.

-We need to find a way to train new team members in the way we work — how to launch stuff quickly, mess around with new ideas, and use data to make informed decisions.

-We need to maintain the industrious spirit of a small team while growing into a (slightly) bigger one.

-We need to continue to grow our subscriber base.

-We need to launch new products.

-Some of those products will be launched in other countries.

-And some of them will be launched in languages other than English.

That’s a lot — and the secret is, it’s just the stuff that’s in front of me right now. In three months, we’ll have almost certainly knocked a few things off that list… but a new challenge or two will be added to it. Maybe we’ll add our first team member in a different city. Maybe we’ll be forced to make unexpected cuts to our lineup of newsletter products. Maybe we’ll have challenges implementing new types of advertising into our newsletters, or struggle to communicate with other teams here at the company.

Something new will come up. It always does.

And that’s the truly hard thing about working in a startup like BuzzFeed, I’ve found: There are always new challenges to face. Once you’ve mastered one challenge, another one presents itself. Sometimes, old challenges show up again in new ways!

The hard thing is that there are always more hard things to take on, and you have to be mentally prepared to taken on challenge after challenge. It’s why it’s so important to have those moments during the day to think, and it’s why it’s doubly important to have a great team behind you. The challenges will always keep coming. Make sure you have the time to center yourself, and make sure you have the team to take on what’s next.


Yes, that’s an incredibly obvious “mountains beyond mountains” metaphor of a photo at top. It’s from Unsplash and photographer Nitish Meena.