Ihaven't written a post in so very long, that it makes it really hard to write now. I'm rusty. It's hard for me to structure thoughts into a composed article. And the more I avoid writing, the harder it becomes. So enough is enough. Screw it, the only way to break the spell is to write. So, apologies in advance if this post is rough around the edges.
Good. Got that out of the way. Still here? Hi :-)
In the past two years I've opened three companies. Wut? Good question. When I decided to leave Twitter two years ago, my wife and I agreed I could take some time to experiment with my career. I got a tad bored with just design/product, and wanted to venture out into other aspects of running a business. What better way than to start your own?
I built and tested a bunch of product ideas, partnered with mostly wonderful people, learned a ton about the legal process, my god I did the taxes for a business hell on earth, created pitch decks, went on a roadshow and talked with a bunch of investors, ultimately signed a term sheet I was happy with, had great people willing to invest in an idea… and I stopped.
My heart just wasn’t in it. Startup life is not easy, plain and simple. I’ve done the startup thing already, and it was a good experience at the time, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to subject myself to that lifestyle again. Family and friends, especially at this point in my life, are more important than any physical or mental rewards running a startup may provide. Don't get me wrong, this may certainly change, and I may get the itch again. But for now, I'm not in it.
Throughout the past couple of years I've really honed into what I am good at, but more importantly what I’m bad at. I now know what I should keep in my plate, and what I should delegate. Which is huge for me, because I’m a guy that likes to take on everything and orchestrate situations. It’s not easy for me to sometimes let go and trust people. But it’s something I must do if I want to run a successful business. As a sole founder in my previous startups I found myself doing everything, even the things I shouldn't be doing (i.e. operations, etc), and that affected my capacity to do good work and be happy.
So I’m done with startups for now, I need to enjoy life a bit. I’ll try to write a more in-depth post about what I learned from each company, but for now I’d like to share some exciting news. What is my current status you may ask?
Client work. Yup, I’m back old friend. But this time, I brought friends. Glenn, Joe, and I re-opened Made for Humans, and we’re taking on projects. We’ve been in business for almost a year now and we’re having a ton of fun. We’ve known each other for years and have worked together in the past (Fi and Float). We also really complete each other’s skillsets, which allows me to focus on what I’m good at, design and product. Glenn takes over the management and operations, and Joe the tech. Good riddance, I don't like managing those departments no thank you. But the real kick is that I get to work with my pals on a variety of interfaces, from ecommerce (which is actually really exciting me these days), to apps, and even touch screen mirrors.
My stress levels are lowered, mainly because I share the load with my partners. This makes me happy. If I’m happy, I produce good work, which in turn makes me happy again. It’s a loop. But it must start with lowering the stress.
We put up a new small site last week with tiny case studies, as we’re not even a year in. We just wanted to show a taste of what we’ve done (and there’s a bunch we’re still working on). As for the brand, I wanted to keep the tone neutral, since we haven’t established a clear identity yet, I didn't want to force or fake one. So keeping it neutral allows us to grow without forcing anything. Shout out to Carlos and Nicole for the support on the site.
BTW, worth mentioning that the same team, in parallel, is also working on a brand new redesign of our team scheduling tool Float. That product is a beast, we’ve worked hard on this update and we’re really happy with where we’re headed. Stay tuned.
Aaaaanyways, stuff and things. Where will this all lead? Who knows. We’re having fun, making a salary, and living our lives. Who could ask for more?
Pssssst… we’re hiring
Written in New York. © 2012