I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m in the software development industry. I write code, a lot of code. And I read a lot of code too. I was a professional writer, blogging about anything tech. I was in the online ad industry for a few years, doing affiliate marketing, writing guest posts, and what not! The money was good, it was awesome. If you put your time and energy into it, almost everything has a chance to work out in your favour.
Anyway, I got a chance to spend some time with a few college kids over the weekend, and I was kind of amused when I understood how that generation plans its future. They all want to start their own businesses, in the tech space. They don’t necessarily want to build products for the tech industry, but use tech in other industries. We’ve reached a point in time where almost everything is tech-ed.
Not a lot of people come up with original ideas for startups. It’s like…monkey see monkey do (sorry, if I hurt you there). So, I asked these kids, why do that? Why go through all the trouble just to build something that ten other people have already built? Why live in that uncertainty? And I was not ready for the answer — “because working for others is lame.”
That got me thinking, I must’ve missed a few memos there. I’ve been an entrepreneur, early in my career, too young to understand the dot com world, the business and the finances world. I was sleep deprived for three years in a stretch. Lost almost all my friends, didn’t see the sun and the outside world for days in a row, screwed up relations, and lost control of my health. The money was good. But I never got a chance to make good use of that money. I burned out. I took a few months off, to cool off.
This helped me think what I actually wanted to do with my life. I was always interested in programming. I don’t like marketing, sales, or almost anything other than writing code. But I was doing all that now, the actual code-writing was just a small part of the big picture. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to do it anymore. So I decided to join a team which deals only with code, and nothing else.
Now, I write code for at least six hours a day. I get enough time in a week to meet my friends, to visit my parents, and to plan road trips. This life is much better than the one I had a few years back, where I was a one-man show.
But you would say, why make it a one-man show? Why not hire a few people and let them run the show? Well, I tried that too, actually. I had somebody taking care of marketing and sales, somebody for PR, somebody for the overall management. But the problem with this, you can let them run the whole show. If you do that, it’s not your company anymore. It’s something like what happened with Pied Piper and Richard Hendricks in the beginning. It got to a point where I started seeing things going out of my reach. So I had to get back to running a one-man show (call me scared, or egotistic).
Right now, the projects that I get a chance to work on are not going waste. The majority of them are making a difference in the lives of at least a handful of people. And that’s a good feeling to go to bed with.
I don’t see how this is lame. How is being happy with what you do lame? How is contributing to building a new venture lame? I’m providing service to people who need it, and it’s not free either. So yeah, people who are not entrepreneurs, are not lame!