Today is Hofstadter’s 2nd Birthday.
This post will be a reflection on that time.
We should always question the status quo. Is this the best we can do? Is there a better way forward?
The question that gave birth to Hofstadter was: “How can I write down my ideas in one place and have them automatically realized?” Why, for example, when I am asked to add an attribute to a user’s profile, do I need to write it down in the database, the server, the web and mobile clients, and probably another dozen places?
This is the problem I set out to solve for myself and then other developers. But then another question arose… “What will software development look like in ten or twenty years?” Technology has become so pervasive and so fundamental to our society. And the software we use today is not really all that good. How can we change the way we develop software so that we can get quality outcomes? How can I take this technology I built and make it a world changing phenomenon? Where we landed was…
“Express your ideas.”
How can we help people express their ideas with less friction? How can we create access for more of the world’s people? How can we do that today?
I’ll leave the Hofstadter experience to another post, but now we have our guiding light!
If cryptos bought me anything, it was my freedom. (I’m now a hodl’r, but on the 4-6 year timeframe when the technology will be mature enough). Other than that, I don’t see much use for them. Blockchain is a different story.
Freedom can mean a lot of things to a lot of very different people. To me, in the context of this recountment, Freedom is the ability to work on what I think is most important, bringing software within access for more people. I have had to sacrifice some of that freedom to freelance and keep food on the table. Fortunately, I get to work with a company that is doing incredible things in Healthcare so that doctors and patients have better outcomes.
This is a great country. I am blessed for the opportunities I have been given, the ability to reach for them, and that we the people can still write our own destiny.
The world is full of distractions. While I left my job on an idea, I got distracted with the fad that provided my freedom, short-term possibilities for revenue, and taking meetings or going to conferences that didn’t payback the investment. I’m working on the wrong things. I’m supposed to be building the next BIG thing DAMMIT!
Focus… and then refocus… and then do it again. Passage meditation is helpful. Repeat the prayer of St. Francis of Assissi each morning. It’s basically like praying if religion is your thing. If not, call it meditation. The point is to substitute negative thoughts with positive ones and to teach your brain to do this on autopilot the other 23.5 hours of the day.
Refocusing Hofstadter was the result of my first VC meeting. It went well by all measures besides getting a check. You know because you leave knowing more about your company and what you need to do after a great conversation. We weren’t looking for funding at the time, though we are starting to think about it again, and would love to have those investors on our team.
Grinding is a requirement. I learned this growing up playing hockey, putting in extra hours to train more, literally grinding in the corners for the puck. Doing a startup is just the same. You need to put in more hours, spend extra time learning the things you’re no good at… yet, and work through all the hard parts that seem to fly at you from all directions every day.
Get used to hearing no. It’s going to happen a lot. From your potential customers, from investors, from the naysayers. Don’t see the criticisms, see the challenges, work through them, delight customers, impress investors, and they will all become believers.
Being a solo-founder is HARD. Don’t forget to get a little help from your friends and family, the emotional kind. Find ways to create small wins and celebrate them. Find a partner in crime, so long as they are better than you in at least a few ways. Be synergistic and improve each other.
I’m currently ⅔ of the way through a pilgrimage in the startup mecha. San Francisco is an amazing place to be. It’s absolutely beautiful and the town is abuzz. When we open an office here, I will definitely be working from there a lot. What I’d like to do is have a hybrid office-remote-travel setup, where you can work from home, there is an office to go to, and you can float around different offices if you desire.
Silicon Valley is the Big Leagues. The level of thought and conversation is stimulating. Reid Hoffman said if you are doing a tech startup and you are not in the Bay area, you are doing it wrong. The experience and wisdom I have encountered here backs these up. You can’t really understand until you’ve been.
My time here has been reigniting. If you saw me, you’d think there’s actually a fire under my chair. For those of you who aren’t familiar with SF, Karl is the fog. I swear he must be a mystical mist. The atmosphere of we can do anything and change the world is vibrant and contagious. Thanks Karl!
You are the founder of an Entreprise. You are a source of energy for your people in sickness and in health. You are a leader your company looks to. Be courageous, be thoughtful, be kind. Be infinitely optimistic!