99 Days at a Startup
Tomorrow will be my 100th day working at Pulse, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my past 99 days working at a startup.
Last year, I read Tim Ferriss’s Four-Hour Work Week and thought to myself, what an incredible lifestyle–not having to go to work everyday, and being able to travel the world and do whatever you want. At the time, I thought not having to go to work in an office ever again would be a dream come true. As my savings dwindled (I was working for myself at the time), I figured I could do freelance consulting on and off, while still working on my own applications. This way, I could make enough money to live off of, while trying to create a passive income stream that would hopefully eventually be sufficient to support a modest lifestyle. To me, work was something that I did with the hope that one day I wouldn’t have to do it anymore.
A few days into my “trial week” at Pulse, I started to realize that “work” didn’t have to be something I dreaded. When you are working with intelligent and creative people on a product you are truly passionate about, work can be exciting and dare-I-say-it, fun. The past 99 days have been exhilarating–every day is a new adventure, whether it be chatting about Vibram Five Fingers with Kevin Rose, getting our photos taken by the NYTimes photographer, or demoing our Honeycomb-optimized app at the Honeycomb launch event at Google.
The fast-paced environment has been a whirlwind for sure, and I can definitely see that it’s not for everyone. Especially with Android taking off, it’s been a bit crazy trying to juggle adding new features, cleaning up the codebase, responding to customer feedback, fixing bugs, and going to meetings and events. But the satisfaction of knowing that I am part of something that is redefining how people consume news and content, and that my features are pushed to users every week or so…that is completely worth it.
My first 99 days have been a bit all-consuming…there’s always something urgent and exciting, and the problem with enjoying your job is that it’s all-too-easy to just keep working on something. I’m in the office a lot less than some of my coworkers, but even when I’m at home, it feels like I’m always busy, whether it’s finishing up a feature from our sofa at home, or writing a new blog post. I admit it’s often a struggle to maintain a balanced lifestyle, but I hope I’m doing a decent job at it. I come home for dinner every night (sometimes I work from home afterwards), and try to sleep at a reasonable hour. I occasionally consider dropping my Monday-night pottery classes, but I enjoy it too much and it’s probably healthy for me to do something non-technical every week.
Now when I think about the concept of a four-hour work week, I don’t marvel at the idealized lifestyle–I think about how bored and unfulfilled I would be. A four-hour work week is incredibly appealing if you view work as an obligation, as I used to, but it becomes less appealing when you find your work significant and satisfying. The idea of passive income for financial stability is still appealing to me, but I no longer think that’s the only way I can have a fulfilling lifestyle. After my first 99 days at a startup, I look forward to many more days to come.
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- Difficulties of Staying On Task
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- How Effective are Technical Interviews?
- The Thrill of a Deadline