The Never-ending Quest

The Never-ending Quest

If I had to review 2017 with a single word, that word would be “Quest”. We started the year dealing with aftermath of launching Mindvalley Quests 1.0 at the end of 2016. It was put together hastily on our existing learning platform built on Ruby on Rails.

At the same time, we also started working on the next version of the Quest. It was time for us to move beyond Rails and we placed our bet on Elixir. The journey wasn’t easy as we had to learn, unlearn and relearn a lot of things.

Competition is great but collaboration is better

Competition is great but collaboration is better

We live in a very competitive society. Businesses compete for market share while athletes train tirelessly to push the limit of human performance. Everywhere you look, there are winners, with a lot more losers behind them.

Since young, we are ingrained by the education system to compete with each other. The best will be rewarded with scholarships and endorsements while the rest will have to fight for what’s left. And if you can’t compete academically, well you can work on your competitive spirit in sports instead. 

Stop doing all the things

One of the biggest problem I had managing a team is delegating tasks to other team members. Working in a team of 2 for many years have conditioned us to do everything ourselves. Since we are building products and prototypes for startups, this meant we do everything from design, development to deployment.

But no matter how good we are at the job, there is no way we can tackle every single task ourselves. In order to do more, we had to have more people in our team and split the work. I have to admit that I was forced to delegate and it wasn’t easy.

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people
— Steve Jobs

The first thing I had to understand was that in order to achieve more and have a bigger impact, delegating tasks to others is critical. This allows everyone to focus on parts they are good at and push the boundary of their work.

This also does not mean I’m losing control over the tasks and I have to trust the person I’m delegating to. Basically, I have to accept that things can be done differently and leverage unique skills of each individual. You can also take this opportunity to teach and mentor your team members.

At first, it may seem that things are moving slower than usual but have faith in your team members. Once your team gets the hang of it, productivity will increase and it will free you to focus on tasks that are important to you.

How to Delegate

  1. Start with small and simple tasks. This helps in getting yourself comfortable working with others.

  2. Make sure you pick the right person for the task and trust in their ability to complete it.

  3. Give clear instructions and a deadline for the task.

  4. Entrust them with the responsibility & authority and be there to defend and help them if required.
  5. Touch base with them regularly for progress updates and issues. You can do daily meetings with them.
  6. Give credit to their work publicly if possible.

If you feel your team is not as productive as they can be, the problem could be that the leader is not delegating tasks well enough. As a leader and entrepreneur, learning how to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others is one of the most important thing you can do. To do more, you have to stop doing all the things. 

Keeping in sync

Over the past year, our team have grown from 3 to 6 people. It is now much harder for me to keep track who's doing what and when. Couple with the fact that we are now handling more projects, things can get rather messy.

Luckily, we adopted the daily scrum meeting from Agile Development practices. It is also known as stand-up meeting or team huddle. It is a simple idea where the whole team get together everyday at the same time and place to update each other.

How to run a daily scrum meeting

  1. Same time, same place, everyday. Make this your team ritual.
  2. Keep things short. E.g. 1 min max per person.
  3. Decide who starts first. (Last to arrive, first to start or random)
  4. Each team members start by answering these 3 questions in order
    • What did I do yesterday?
    • What I am going to do today?
    • What is blocking me from completing my tasks?
  5. Deal with blocking issues AFTER the meeting



Ritual to start the day

The meeting acts as a daily starting point for the team. Although we practice flexi-time at our company, we make it a point to get together everyday at 11AM for the meeting. This let us start the day with clarity and focus.



The 3 questions are designed to keep the focus on what's being done. It keeps you accountable to what you did yesterday and also forces you to plan your day. And if there's any thing that is blocking you, it can be rectified as soon as possible.



The meeting also serves as an efficient way to convey progress and status between team members. Everyone will have a rough idea what others are working on and can also offer to help on blocking issues after the meeting.

If you manage a team but have problems tracking progress and keeping things in sync, do try this out. Get the whole team to agree on a time and place to meet daily. Get each of them to answer the 3 questions and most importantly, keep it short.

Photo credit: Ignacio Palomo Duarte


As someone who prefer to do something by myself, I tend to avoid working in teams. The reasoning is that if it's something that matters, you can only rely on yourself to get it done. Obviously, I need to embrace teamwork and understand the value it brings. It's good to be independent but there are times that you have to realize that you are going to need help from others. The most obvious reason is the scale of the task at hand. Hosting a party at your house can be a solo effort but organizing a fund raiser event is entirely different. Whenever you feel like you want clones of yourself to get things done, that's when you need a team.

Some environments have a preference for teamwork. If you played any multi-player game, you will realize that some stuff simply can't be done alone. Players plan and organize to meet up in game (sometimes skipping sleep/work) to raid dungeons. A well planned and executed raid can be very fulfilling and addictive. Teamwork is fun when done right.

Teamwork is also critical when everyone have something at stake. Each member is accountable for the performance of the team. The most common issue here is that in real world situation, it's virtually impossible for everyone to have the same stake. This lead to situation where only those who care about the result doing the bulk of the work.

Although sometimes working in a team can seem to slow down progress with unnecessary procedures, meetings and conflicts, teamwork is invaluable for tackling tasks thats too big for us to handle alone. If you think you can do everything by yourself, maybe the things you do are too small to matter. And if it matters, others will volunteer to join your team.