Me and startup companies

It is no surprise to the readers that I am interested in startups and entrepreneurship. The only people who read this blog know me or are related.

I left a big company ‘X’ to join a smaller company. They called themselves a startup, but not really. The current gig is well funded, if not completely around the corner of profitability. At over 150 people, it does not feel much like a startup.

I have met with friends over lunches and breakfast for years to discuss ideas, new companies in the news, and the entire philosophy of startups. Fun stuff to talk about. We all have a dream (I have watched “Tangled” about 15 times with the kids).

My friend Frank said you have to be a special sort of crazy to found a company. You have to be smart enough to come up with a good idea that can be implemented, yet at the same time dumb enough to think you can actually do it all.

Another friend and I applied to the TechStars program in 2009. David Cohen was kind enough to send us a few emails. We did not have enough traction to get in on just our idea. Still, it was a good idea. I was excited to hear about Chris Piekarski in the TechStar NYC class. I can say I knew him when he was green and just out of school. With a day job and kids at home, TechStars is not the best fit for me.

I have not written about any of it here, because this is for work. I write about technical stuff, mostly to have some proof that I can type words. That is important in a tight job market. Remember, always keep an eye open for the next big thing. You never know when they will move your cheese. So this is the first post under the heading of entrepreneur.

What changed? There is another summer program called the Founder Institute. I made a short video and sent in my application. They asked me to take their test. It was a standard personality test and a pattern matching game. They let me in. When the universe gives you an opportunity, you have to take it, right? What does this mean to the day job, my free time, and my family? At this point we don’t know.

As of now, I am not sure how much blogging I can do about the course work and other activities. The course does not start until May. Right now I am working on the idea, trying to test and refine things. If I get more than two comments I will post my application video. It is embedded software and sort of multicore related.

If you are an embedded developer and willing to help, let me know in the comments. I need to talk to engineers and pick their brains.

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2 comments on “Me and startup companies

  1. Frank says:

    There are 2 engineers:

    1) The guitar player engineer who can enumerate all the songs he is capable of playing. This is called the “repertoire” engineer. His resume says “look at all these songs I can play at your wedding.”

    2) The gold mining engineer who is digging his way to China. He isn’t interested in accumulating a repertoire because learning any given song is only a matter of spending X amount of time of practice. All he is interested in is “okay I need to break through this boulder that’s in the way of my tunnel – where’s the dynamite?”

    One engineer plays gigs – which is fine. Plenty of market for that, and LOTS OF MONEY. But those markets are only generated by type 2. And the boulder in the way may only be “gig-mindset”, so if it’s all you know, you might not even look for any dynamite.

    I think the way to get rid of gig-mindset, is to spend a year not working for anyone. If you can’t do that, try 2 months. Burn your retirement fund if you have to.

    You have a very limited opportunity at operating in complete freedom. It doesn’t matter how much you have to pay – it’s worth it. Even if you fail, if you can get rid of gig-mindset it’s worth it.

    When nobody is clamoring for “when will you have this done?” anymore, you might be surprised at just how much creativity you have at your disposal.

  2. cloudsandskye says:

    These television programs might interest you:

    http://www.everydayedisons.com

    http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank

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