This is a blogpost to express my views on what I have realized from my startup journey so far. This post is part of the series on thinking and writing about the why behind certain decisions.
There appears to be a tendency to attribute a significant decision or an important development in one's life to a single historical event or a "turning" point. While it is true to some extent, in my experience, often times it is a sequence of smaller events occurring at varying time intervals, present conditions, the location and network proximity, and the culmination of these different elements that lay the foundation for an important development to occur. It seems hard and unscientific to think of them in isolation and draw causal conclusions. To use Josh Wolfe' terms, randomness and optionality.
Starting a company is one such important event in my life and when attempting to reason it, it becomes increasingly clear that it is indeed a series of smaller events that led to such a development. Generally speaking, it is a combination of desire to build and create something of your own, to be the driving force for the change that you'd like see in the world, the support and existence of the community around you, life stage, circumstances, prior work and experiences all play a role to a varying degree to be able to sustain a startup and associated life style. It is rationalizing your irrationality aka being delusional in some ways but recognizing it.
Personally speaking, for me it allows me to follow my curiosity and engage in deep work as it is improbable to build a successful company with surface level information. Startups often require deep meaningful work and the willingness to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It is a test of not just your skills and experience, but also of your character. The most exciting thing about the experience for me is that engaging in this kind of work takes you to places, connects you with people that you probably would have never imagined. The sense of rawness, purity, uncertainty, placing bets, getting better by being wrong and managing risk makes the journey quite rewarding and a fulfilling one.
On the outside looking inside startups may seem glorious. It is an adventure into the unknown with no guarantees of success. However, the thinking that comes with it is the only way to make outsized returns, adjusting for life circumstances your were born into and not accounting for the impact of luck.
It is for me, my attempt at leaving a mark on this world in the finite time that we have. In closing, I think Freud had it right, it is the work of your life that matters in the end.