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Coding for the Love of Entrepreneurship

posted Mar 22, 2012, 7:02 AM by Vishal Jain   [ updated Mar 22, 2012, 7:04 AM ]
Every blog i read from VC's and successfully exited founders seems to indicate that growth in startups is correlated with the motivations of the founders. They suggest that founders ought to be motivated by a problem the world has that they want to solve, or in making the world a better place. They seem to disdain upon founders who start companies because they are in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur. I don't remember who said it, but one poignant tweet in mind was "fall in love with your product idea, not the idea of being an entrepreneur" (close to that).

I relate to the desire to add value to the World. We have even made that the first statement in our working Mission Statement. But I place equal value on the desire for financial independence. Is it a problem that my strongest motivation to be an entrepreneur is to live without a boss? Does the startup community feel that businesses that are founded by people who want to live the American Dream, and sure -- want to add value to the World at the same time -- but for the moment just want to do whatever it takes to not have to report to an idiot, are not motivated enough to succeed?

Well i sure as hell am motivated. I've gone from marketing and advertising for the last 7 years to picking up a Ruby on Rails book and learning how to type in nonsense computer words. It makes me blissful, no, actually the opposite. It makes me wish i had a rusty dagger so i can sta-  ....  BREATHE  .... anywayyyyyyyy.............. i think about giving up every hour. I think about calling another software engineer and offering even more money this time around to get the site built, but it won't work. Every time i ask an engineer for help, they suggest a completely different technical direction than the one i was taking and burn through my money, and get bored of coding and stop progressing at a productive rate eventually. I suppose if i had Google-like salaries to offer, and could put $70,000 on the table things would be different. But i can't and i need to make progress. So i wonder whether i am climbing a hill that is too steep for me. My friends are more than willing to tell me i am (great friends, right?) -- "are you sure you can take this on?". But when i flirt with the idea of going back to an easy corporate lifestyle, with free nights to watch tv and movies and read and drink at the bars, two things happen. One - i realize how boring that lifestyle really is. Two - i remember that i will, almost inevitably, hit against a glass ceiling where i have to choose to curb my ambitions in order to win the political favor of a person hierarchically above me who is hellbent on forcing me to implement a horrible idea. I cringe in fear at the thought of having to spend another minute of my time thinking of the politest way to say to a person that there may be a more effective solution than the one they are proposing -- which, btw, anyone with half a brain cell would know is outrageously stupid - in order to avoid conflict that would cause them to want to fire me. I pause for a second to wonder whether i am sometimes that person when i'm the boss, and whether that's the reason the engineers i hire don't produce, and then i come right back to my original thesis: i just have to stick it out and learn how to code.

So that's what i'm doing now, and yes i will blog about my gripes, and share what i learn along the way.

Ciao for now!