Tag Archives: startup

One More Day…

21 Aug

Day 13

It was much harder emotionally than I had imagined the last few days, having to go in to the office and say goodbye to everyone.  I don’t think there was ever a time when I didn’t shed a tear leaving a group of people I love, and this would be no exception despite the circumstances.

On Monday, I took my hour train commute to work.  I shared the news with a train conductor I see regularly, and he made me promise I’d come by to say good-bye on my last day Thursday.  Going into work, people came downstairs left and right to bid farewell, went through contacts and offered their linked-in connections, and one of my close mentors, upon hearing the news was greatly saddened, and told me about positions he may have opening up at the end of the year if I decide it’s what I want and I’m not harboring anger towards the company.

Not really.  It may not be how companies should work, but I understand why it works the way it does, and I feel fortunate enough to have met so many wonderful people, learned a good set of experiences that would make me marketable, and have been offered a great opportunity to pursue my own dreams with the generous severance package.

He asked a good question though – what is it that you want to do?  What is your dream?  His possible open positions sound amazing, and he would be the only person I’d want to work for were I to come back.  But would that be what I want after taking some time to think about it?  It’s hard to tell right now, but I am extremely grateful for that open window.

Yesterday, my team organized a unofficial going away party for me at my favorite speakeasy bar in NY.  It was really nice of them, with my boss and colleagues footing the bill, and though we part our ways now, I wish them well and will hope that our paths cross again soon.

On progress.  After five discovery interviews, I have more insights on the direction of the product now.  I looked at a site close to my concept that has recently been through the incubator program I’m looking at, but while they’re human-powered, mine will be automated and hopefully more scale-able.   Fingers crossed that incubators and investors will also think the same.

I may also have found my second programmer + designer to join the team.  There was a lot of enthusiasm when I told this person about the idea, someone whom I really respect and admire their work.  But I will follow-up in two days to make sure that level of enthusiasm is still there and be cautiously optimistic about things.  It’s always easier to lose steam on an idea that wasn’t originally yours, so I like to give people the time to think it over before deciding this is REALLY it.  At least people are excited about this concept though, and the first programmer is still on board and sending me new data sources to check out daily.

Tomorrow will be my last day.  One more day to go, and then I’m officially on my own.  It’s daunting at the same time liberating, as I think the last two weeks has dragged out to what feels like forever.  It’s about time to finally let go, and begin a new chapter in my life.  One more day.

Chasing the sun

15 Aug

Day 6

This may have been the morning that I’ve slept in the latest since the news broke.  Getting out of bed at 10:30 was nice, and I felt more refreshed, and more ready to face today.

Learning from yesterdays conversations that it’s hard to go at it alone sometimes, I began to look at business plan competitions, incubators, and different start-up communities that I could belong to, and think of possible partners who might be interested in doing this project with me.  The East Coast start-up community has grown and expanded quite a bit since I last joined a business plan competition a few years back, and though I’ve been engaged by attending and demoing my B2B mobile app for market testing, I haven’t gotten involved as a start-up for quite some time.  As I read through an “American Idol” for start ups, I smile at the thought that while the tech landscape has been growing and developing, thankfully so have I, and it’s good to know that there are so many communities that I could take part in.  Sometimes it’s not just the funding, but the mentoring and the motivation to keep going when you know when you feel like you can’t take another step forward.

Eager to get started with designing a tangible look and feel for the product, it became a priority to uncover user needs and concretely determine what gap in the market this product would serve.  Thanks to a mentor at work who has recently taught me how to ask better exploratory questions, I composed a discovery questionnaire and scheduled a dinner with a Friend who travels extensively.  I will need many of such meetings, but might as well hit two birds with one stone and validate my idea whenever I meet people  so I can begin working towards a solid concept. For some reason, my time feels much more precious now that it I’m responsible for every minute of it.  I know of others who assume when you are unemployed, you have all the time in the world to squander.  But as my first week has proven out, it feels quite the contrary with a great sense of urgency.

Whether to look for another job or try to start my own business is still a lingering question.  But it’s good to have data to work with, as knowing whether an idea will serve a validated customer need can help shape that decision.  At the same time, I’m starting to get the sense that my subconscious has decided which direction it wants to head. The fact that I am dragging my feet on editing my resume, versus jumping on the opportunity to work on my own idea, makes me wonder whether it’s fear or stubborn determination. Only time will tell.