Post to Twitter

Introduction: I wrote this to myself in August 2007, as I began defining what my ideal, perfect working world would be. This was the origin of PebbleStorm.

What’s the equivalent “perfect work” description that you could write, or begin to write, to yourself?


How can I make the biggest impact with the least effort? (And with the most happiness?)

“Small pebble = least effort, big wave = biggest impact”

I want to work on what I want, when I want, with whom I want, and make plenty of money at it.


I want to…

  1. Be in control of the work/business, not have it be in control of me. I don’t want to be a slave to a company, even one that I start.
  2. Work on what I want, when I want, with whom I want.
  3. Make the biggest impact with the least effort. Eliminate or outsource low-value activities.
  4. Enjoy work, by working from a place of desire, not obligation or ego
  5. Contribute from areas of strength. Find the shortest distance between the strengths of collaborators.
  6. Prioritize opportunities that come to you, that pursue you, over ones that you have to pursue.
  7. Reframe the way I (we) think about time and progress. Sometimes we can make real progress with a project/new company, and sometimes we can’t. When we make a cake, there are points when we’re working actively to buy stuff, mix the ingredients or serve it, but there are also periods in between activity where it just has to sit (driving back from the market, baking time, waiting for dinner to finish before serving). Don’t waste energy pushing the cake when it needs to sit. Or in other words – we can’t make a baby in one month with nine women!


  1. Focus on level of productivity rather than time or speed. For most things, trying to make them happen faster is only detrimental to the results/productivity.
  2. Each new project should add value or build on the others, not detract from them. By working from my strengths, adding multiple projects can make me more productive, not less productive.
  3. Keep it simple, keep it easy, KEEP IT FUN. Done right, this should feel like a natural flow without unnecessary or low-value effort. Even when the effort is extreme, it shouldn’t be unnecessarily stressful.
  4. Work with whom I want. Find a great collaborator(s) for each project, someone that has talent and I’d like to work with. Then find an idea.
  5. Build as little from scratch as possible.
  6. Don’t say no. Stay open to all possibilities. Take things as they come.
  7. Don’t set ‘artificial’ or unnatural goals, let things take a natural course. But every time I touch a project, make definite progress; move the ball.
  8. Practice acceptance. Things will change, things will and won’t work, collaborators will come and go. Use judgment to determine when something is worth effort to change & fight for, and when it’s best to accept and let it go.
  9. Manifest / visualize what you want


  1. Integrity in purpose, approach, values, relationships is the most important thing
  2. Succeed by helping the ones around you succeed
  3. Help people follow their interests in ways that align to the group goal
  4. Companies/managers/execs should work for the employee, not the other way around
  5. Diversity is beneficial (avoids groupthink)
  6. Work should ALWAYS be interesting (eliminate, outsource, reframe what isn’t)
  7. Create a company that doesn’t depend on “selling”…sales pressure creates incentives to compromise the integrity of the client relationship

4 Responses to “The Original “Small Pebble, Big Wave” Self-Manifesto”

  1. Olivia Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog. I feel energized, supported and inspired. This post was particualary engaging–although I also very much related to your more recent post on fear.

    Keep on blogging. I’ll surely keep reading.


  2. Joerg Weisner Says:

    Aaron, you state in your core values:
    “Create a company that doesn’t depend on “selling”…sales pressure creates incentives to compromise the integrity of the client relationship”

    I agree with you, but how do you define “selling” and what do you do, instead?

    aaronross383 Reply:

    @Joerg: Think attraction rather than promotion. There are some subtle, but very important, differences. ‘Selling’ implies I’m trying to convince you to do something which benefits me, for my own good. ‘Selling’ comes from needing something from the prospect – money, a contract, etc, which is different than attraction, which an intention of “I’d like to offer this to you because I really feel it’d help you, for reason x, y, z”. Servicing customers without ‘selling’ means you find ways to let prospects know about how you can help them, but let them choose how and when they want to participate with you (see “Layers of The Onion” at…with no pressure or manipulation.

  3. Joerg Weisner Says:

    Thanks. I definetely agree with you and am making the same experiences with my websites.
    What I like most about this concept is:

    “The layers are mutual – test the prospect as they test you

    The layers enable prospects and vendors to test mutual compatibility with progressive steps of increasing trust and commitment, to minimize the risk and costs of a bad fit to both parties. With the layers of the onion, a prospect can engage right away at the level they feel comfortable with, and then can work their way up the trust & commitment layers as they and you see fit.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.