Shit goes sideways, always does. That is the nature of creating something from scratch. You iterate (change things) on the fly because you see something wrong or something you don’t like and you want to nip it in the bud. Why go down the road with something you know is wrong if you can fix it today?
This is what living “the life” is all about.
It’s not for everyone.
Change comes fast, furious, and you must be able to pivot based on your gut feeling or intellect or you will lose your investor’s money and implode. And there are deadlines. You give people deadlines to draw lines in the sand; stopping points, so you can plan for the future. And people will miss them and you must determine if it is their incompetence, lack of planning, work ethic, or, simply, that life precluded them from making that deadline.
This happened to me recently.
One of our coders came in to my office and sheepishly explained she would, most likely, miss her deadline. Like any good leader of above average intellect I asked, “Why?”
Because my parents want to go to San Francisco and if I go with them I will surely miss the deadline.
I immediately said, “Go!”
NOW, THE BACKSTORY:
I am the founder of a tech startup. My world is push, push, push forward at all costs. My co-founder is the more intellectual who says, “stop” once in a while to survey the progress. A nice ying to my yang, Starsky to my Hutch, Siegfried to my… you get the point. I come, believe it or not, from the world of funeral homes. People die all the time. I mean, shit, that was my world. Death every day. I saw it, I lived it, it was me. When you see death every day, you can do two things: drink by noon or celebrate life. I choose life. So, in many ways, I am more enlightened than most. Not like in a Bodhisattva kind of enlightenment, no, just in a “I-have-seen-way-more-death-than-you-so-maybe-I-have-a-little-more-appreciation-for-the-small-things” kind of enlightenment.
My coder/friend comes from a different world. She is twenty-six, a Masters student educated in the US, and from India (To Be or Not To H-1B). My friend only worked one other job prior before relocating to Northern California. She hasn’t seen her parents in fifteen months. She paid for them to come from Kolkata to stay with her for three months.
Now here’s where some say it gets sticky.
Do you care?
Do you really fuckin’ care?
I say, “yes.”
I am the founder and I am a human being who brings my unique skill set and understanding of the world to what I am creating with eight other of the most amazing people I know, who have risked everything to help me and my co-founder on this journey to build something great; no, something better than great. And I appreciate that. I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart and with every fiber of being I have in my body. And I will never forsake family, the love of family, being with family, for some corporate mentality that wouldn’t extend a deadline two days, a week, whatever.
People, we must all understand, when it is all said and done, our families will be the ones next to us on our deathbed.
So celebrate life. Take the time. Hold hands. Laugh. Break bread together.
Life is short.
Be with those you love.