Why I'll never be an employee again
I’ve always known I was going to run my own business. My plan is to make that happen. I'm never going to be an employee again.
I admire my dad, he owns a small gardening and landscaping business in San Diego county. With his own two hands he built a comfortable life for his family. I've always known I wanted to run my own company too. I want to control my own destiny, like my dad.
I did a lot of things "right". I went to college, I took some risks, and landed myself into a cushy spot in the tech industry in San Francisco. I ran marketing for various startups, and was making the kind of money where your parents back home brag about you to their friends. Nothing crazy by Silicon Valley standards, but comfortable. But something was off. I realized I didn’t like marketing that much, middle-management doesn’t play to my strengths, and I didn’t have control of my destiny.
Recently, I was laid off due to Covid-19 along with about 35% of my coworkers. It was the kind of experience that makes you take stock of your life. The layoff, plus the pandemic, made me think about my life and what I value. I realized life is short, and am I doing what I want to be doing with the only life I’ve got. I don’t want to look back with regret, that I never took the entrepreneurial plunge.
After the Covid-19 layoff I made up my mind - I'm never going to be an employee again. I’m burning the bridge back to the life I’ve been accustomed to. The path ahead will continue to evolve as I do.
I feel a calling to build something of value to this world. To be a founder, a leader, a resource in the new tech spaces currently being developed. I want to make a positive impact on the world, to leave it better than I found. Of course I’d love to change the world, but if my team and I make a difference, that’s all that matters.
I read a quote somewhere that went something like:
"If you're not working towards making your dreams come true. Then someone else will make you work towards making their dreams come true."
It's a cheesy quote for wannabe entrepreneurs, but it gets you thinking.
No one can lay off my dad. The world can act on his business, but no one person, no one business can control him. The financial crisis of 2008 was rough for his business, but he adapted, he survived.
So what now?
I'm fortunate. My wife and I have some savings, she has a good job that she likes, and our landlords have been kind to us. I have a little breathing room to figure this out. I know that I'm obsessed with the future. I love to figure out where things are going. I love to research. I love writing. So that's where I’m going to start. Right here, and on Twitter.
The first steps are to thoroughly research the technologies that are going to be the most impactful in the nearish future. I'm researching the Metaverse. I'm researching the future of video games and their impact on the future of education. I'm researching the future of cities and how we’ll work. But it's too broad, so in the next few months I'll narrow it down based on the topic I can’t stop thinking about.
I'm going to write articles as I research. I'm going to network and talk to people and I'm going to tweet. Twitter is one of the most underrated platforms on the internet. The smartest people I know are on Twitter, and they're only a tweet away. I'm watching others who've gone before me, and I can see a path. You research, you learn, you write for others to follow your thoughts and give you feedback. You grow, and the internet rewards you. The exact path from where I am today to running my own startup, I don't yet know. However, I do know that the internet rewards those that switch from consumption of information - to production.
I read an inspiring tweet recently from @george_balance that said:
"Pick a space, not an idea. Most spaces are ergodic, meaning the winning stack will end up looking the same in the long run, regardless of which part of the space you start from. The challenge is in navigating the idea maze faster than your competitors"
I love this. It's liberating, because now I just focus on what space inspires me most, then dig in there and the opportunities will show up -- they're right there if you go looking for them. The nice thing about starting a startup after having built up an audience is that I’ll already be connected to potential employees, customers, investors, and partners.
If you’d like to follow my journey, follow me on Twitter.
And.... if this all comes crashing down in a spectacular failure? Well, I know a guy running a gardening and landscaping business in San Diego that's looking to retire soon ;)