Recently I received an award for best presentation at a BarCamp entitled “Quick and Dirty Startups.” I had a blast both creating the slideware and presenting it – although during the presentation the projector was intermittently shorting out which I feared would cause the audience to enter into epileptic fits. Maybe the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands during my presentation was that or maybe the audience members realized how damn difficult it is to create company from the spark of an idea. In the presentation I said do not create a company if the number one reason is to make a ton of money (that confused many…).
At the same time I have been in varying degrees of discussions in and around the T’s of a Startup: Talent. Most who have followed my blog realize the importance I place on talent. I have also been speaking with various software engineers of varying skills sets from those who love CSS, to those who love HDFS, to those who love creating ensemble machine learning algorithms. These two events had me reflect on something that I used to consider seperate entitites. It was though I had an epiphany. What if what you do to create and who you are – in fact are one in the same?
I wrote another blog on the great human endeavor of software. I would also consider music to be in that league as well. The two closely align. There are rules yet there are no rules. There are fundamental symbolics and syntactics that allow singular and crowd sourced orchestration to create great works of art. Those that truly create great music and software have one thing in common: Passion. Which is the number one attribute I look for when either wanting to work with someone or adding someone to a team. I also reflected on the views people have of software engineering writ large and realized that most like the music world look at as us as though there is no work involved. Why? If you look at anyone who loves what they do and who they are within the same instance performing a task for the pure desire of doing it – is not work. It is what you do and who you are that create that perception. I have had the extreme pleasure of working in many aspects of the music industry as well as the software industry and in fact some cases one in the same. No one sees the 25/8 (25 hrs a day – 8 days a week) schedule. All anyone sees are the end results: Concert: On stage women and men throwing themselves at the stage, Software Company: Pulling up to your yacht in your Modena with a personal assistant. They do not see the massive amount of preparation, practice and planning involved. However while it is grueling for those that love the process it is not work. On the contrary for us it is pure adulterated freedom. Why do i say adulterated? Many would consider that to do what we do with as much fun as it is – IT MUST BE A CRIME! Sure there are incredibly difficult situations, many that are life changing, but what of it? For those that are truly passionate about creating we really dont know what else to do. I will leave you with a great clip by a legendary guitar player Steve Vai as he discusses the secret to his success. Know what you want. See it happen and the “Is To Be” will ring true.
“Get into a line that you will find to be a deep personal interest, something you really enjoy spending twelve to fifteen hours a day working at, and the rest of the time thinking about.”~ Earl Nightingale ~
Go Big Or Go Home!