Thursday, July 19, 2007

Doing something epic

Perhaps long time readers of my blog may remember my post from the end of last year (second post down) where I mentioned that I felt the need to do something epic in 2007. Initially my idea was to go on a really long backpacking trip, so the fact it morphed into starting a company means, I suppose, that it was simultaneously both very vague and very deep. A few months later a couple of people asked me to help them out with some side projects, one person wanted me to do some team writing and another wanted me to help him out with content for his website. I agreed to both, but shortly afterwards realized that I had probably a dozen side projects requiring various degrees of effort, and that if I really wanted to do something epic I needed to pick just one.

This seems self evident, but it ended up leading to a major epiphany. I always knew I didn't want to work at my current job for the rest of my life, that I wasn't a "lifer" as we call them, which is why I was prone to accept any side project that came along because I hoped that one of them would give me a way out. But by just casually committing to each of them I basically guaranteed that none of them would reach the critical mass necessary to give me the kind of out which would overwhelm the huge advantages of my current job (pay and benefits being the biggies). In other words if I was going to jump ship it would take one... epic thing, not a bunch of half-assed things.

So I looked around at all the different side projects I was involved with, and asked myself what would I choose if I could only do one. Well I have a couple of friends who are always doing one business or another, and they were in the very early stages of starting their next business. One of my dozen side projects had been helping them with market research and some other miscellaneous stuff but I hadn't made any big commitment. As is often the case when a business is starting, the people starting the business need all the free help they can get. In fact the only thing better than free help is free help and money. Which is where my next, totally obvious, epiphany came in. If I wanted to do something epic it might entail accepting a certain amount of risk.

Once everything coalesced I talked to my wife, about me quitting my day job to start a company with my two friends and the possibility that there may be a gap between when the day job stopped paying me and when the company started paying me, and that we might have to dip into our "reserves". That's when things got interesting, in a good way. She said, "Every other time you've talked about quitting your job I've been filled with dread, but not this time. This time I feel pretty good." I think that may have sealed the deal right there, but I did actually do a lot more thinking before finally deciding, but it did seem like the stars had aligned... I had found my epic task, the thing that people will still be talking about years if not decades from now... Well maybe not people but I'm sure I'll still be talking about it, as in: "Remember that time I bankrupted the family when I foolishly quit my incredibly stable, lucrative 9-5 job to start that ill-conceived business?"



Anonymous Ed said...

I really hope this venture works out well! Sounds like the outside investor is excited, so it's not so much a blind leap of faith.

4:33 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

It does sound like you did all the necessary homework. It doesn't get any better than that.

6:23 PM  

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