We prioritize our relationships. We prioritize our work. Life is a series of prioritizations. You become what you prioritize.

When one says they don’t prioritize, they’re lying. If you “don’t prioritize,” it means you prioritize what’s in front of you at any given moment or you prioritize your gut instinct. Even if you prioritize doing every action at random, that’s still a priority. You prioritize randomness. Whatever you’re doing, you prioritize. 

Saying you don’t prioritize is similar to attempting not to have an ego. The people who say they don’t have an ego tend to have an awfully big ego about “not having an ego.” You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The good news is that priorities are healthy. They give us direction and drive. 


There are entire communities that study prioritization– productivity books and blogs. Productivity tips are ways to get yourself to prioritize things you wouldn’t naturally prioritize. 

A company has priorities. The macro priorities are set by leadership, and the micro priorities are derived from the macro priorities. This happened in 2002, when Larry Page, Google’s CEO and Co-founder, printed out a search result page, circled the ads, and wrote in red, “THESE ADS SUCK.” 

Larry was right, they did suck. 

Engineers on the team saw the issue and worked over the weekend to solve it. Leadership didn’t say how to solve the problem of the ads sucking; leadership only made it known that it’s a top priority that the ads suck. When you have a competent team, that’s a key leadership role.

Leaders decide priorities. They decide what they think is in the best long-term interest of the company. It can be debated, but eventually, there has to be a decision, i.e., priorities need to be set, and then actions need to be taken.


When building a venture-backed startup, the founders should strive to build a multi-billion dollar company, or they shouldn’t be venture-backed. The economics of VC funds only work when they invest in companies that are aiming for the fences. The founders need to have priorities aligned with the investors. This is one reason serial entrepreneurs are often backed by VCs. To the serial entrepreneur with past successes, a small win wouldn’t make a material impact on their life from a prestige or monetary perspective, but a big win would. Thus, for serial entrepreneurs, the incentives of the founders and investors are aligned.

Investors want to find teams who will do anything to succeed. They want to find teams with a chip on their shoulder who want to prove themselves. Teams with aligned priorities.


It’s helpful to understand the study of productivity… to an extent. You can study productivity to the point of spending all your time thinking about being productive vs actually building. It’s like developers only refactoring instead of actually building. The refactoring becomes a priority instead of the end goal of building the product itself. 

There are always opportunity costs. We have macro priorities like family and community. Then, micro priorities of what we want to accomplish this month, week, day, morning, hour, meeting, and even minute. 

It’s important to stop every once in a while. Zoom out. And check if our micro priorities are helping us fulfill our macro priorities.