Entrepreneur? Just Make Something

My weekly post from Seattle 2.0 (overwhelmed by the response so far!).

A startup begins with uncertainty. From idea to launch you will have breakthroughs and setbacks, and you will often question yourself. You will put a lot on the line, and the process will take longer than you expect. But there’s a moment when the fears subside, when you can see the light on the other end of the tunnel – it’s when you use your product for the first time.

Nothing beats the feeling of using your own product – experiencing your idea turned into reality. Think of the first time you used the products that you use on a daily basis. We all try and reject a lot of betas, but sometimes you get to use products like Facebook or Google for the first time. These products immediately scream “This is the future.  You need this. Use it.” It’s truly exciting to find a new product you will use every day. Now imagine that feeling for something you’ve created.

The most fulfilling day since I left Microsoft was when I used LazyMeter, my startup’s product, for the first time. I immediately lost all doubts about the effort and risks.  There’s a unique satisfaction that comes from making something; I have seen a vision come to life, and even if no one uses it I have solved a pain point in my own life. No matter what happens from here on, I am happy to have built something.

Since leaving Microsoft, I’ve realized how important creativity is in my life. This doesn’t just apply to startups. If I have to go back to a full-time job, I will make sure that I continue to create. No longer void of energy after a day’s work, I’ve written code, made homemade wine and countless meals, learned guitar, and written posts like this one. In this culture of consumption, I find it fascinating how much satisfaction I get from something as simple as preparing a meal.

The tie that binds entrepreneurs is an innate need to create something instead of just consume. When denied this need, we feel empty. This is why we’ll put so much on the line, why we’ll get right back up again when we fail, and it’s also why the startup community is so supportive. The good news is that anyone can make something, whatever situation they’re in.

Whether or not you are doing a startup, I ask you: What have you made lately? And what will you make next?



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