It’s 2:00 AM and I’m scrunched on a blue beanbag, my eyes glued to my laptop screen, when my phone vibrates and brings me back from the limbo of crazy codes, spreadsheets and e-mails into the real, tangible world. “Dude, that party was crazy! And man! No crazy party is ever complete without you on the dance floor. You should’ve been there!” the voice on the phone speaks.
It’s 2:00 AM and the night is far from over. Shit loads of stuff to do, get some sleep and be awesome in that important meeting I have in the morning!
Damn! It’s 2:00 AM, I’m a bit sleepy, missing out on the fun crazy party and sitting in an office with someone equally passionate and equally worked-up as I am, goggling at my laptop screen.
But! Wait, amigos, wait! It certainly isn’t as bad as you think it is. In fact, it’s crazier and so much cooler than that party I missed.
Let me take you a year back, black and white types!
Madrid, awesome me in an elite B-school, meeting great people and learning amazing stuff every day, partying like crazy and going on backpacking trips every now and then.
But then something happened. A wire sparked somewhere! I had always wanted to startup, but this time around it was strong, stronger than ever before. So, I packed my bags and came back, all excited and motivated to start something and make it big.
So that’s how Wishpicker.com or WiPi (as we like to call it here) started. It’s been incredible until now and it keeps getting better. The things that I had thought were good are turning out to be better, the bad things worse and the ugly things, well, you never really think about them.
Well, if you think that starting up is all shiny and glamorous, you certainly are wrong, sir! Let me tell you about some dilemmas, always gaping and gnawing at a young entrepreneur-
The ‘This-is-the-age’ dilemma
The thing about being a young entrepreneur is that you have a lot of energy and passion, minimal family responsibilities and you are full of dreams. You’ll be unfair to yourself if you don’t work your ass off with so many liberties. You have the liberty to blur the line between home and work and sometimes, to even completely erase that line. This is the best time to go for something BIG!
But wait, wouldn’t you be unfair if you spend all your time working and ignoring everything else in life? All the friends and all the fun, at this age? I mean, this is THE time, right?
Balance! Balance is the word! Running a startup makes you balance your life; you just have to! The harder you work during the week, the crazier those Saturday nights can be. You learn how to de-stress, how to let the steam off your head.
You experience how at times, sitting in a coffee shop, just chilling and thinking can hit that refresh button. You cut off the junk. You understand what’s important and what needs your attention.
You learn the art and skill of balance, perhaps one of the most important skills to have. And if you have been good at it already in life, this just amplifies it to greater levels. Go extreme, be balanced, be a Balanced Extreme!
The ugly part – There are possibilities that you turn extremely balanced, or distort the balance completely. Either way, you can be screwed.
The ‘So-much-to-learn’ dilemma
You are in for a treat if you are the think-and-conceptualize types. You are in for a bigger treat if you are the think-and-do types as well. You are in for a grand treat if you belong to the I-want-to-learn lot.
Running a startup makes you learn a lot of stuff, sometimes, at an exponential pace. Fixing that bug in the code? Talking to customers/partners/investors? Brainstorming about the next viral campaign? Micro! Macro! Min! Max! Be prepared to fight on all fronts.
In this Google powered world, learning is highly underrated. Just Google it and Bam! You have the solution, right? Nope, you have to learn how to use Google well too!
Ok, that was the good part, or so I think. It turns bad if you don’t figure out what to learn and what to let go off. It turns ugly if you keep learning (and doing) the latter, and are stuck in the loop. Imagine using an outdated technology for your product, and keep supporting it with layers of add-ons. Doomed!
The ‘Where-is-this-Going’ dilemma
This one is the heaviest! It’s like a sum of many mini-dilemmas.
One day you may feel wonderful, all charged-up and excited on seeing a spike in the number of visitors, and the next day might not be that nice to you. You become the popular kid among your friends after a successful marketing campaign, and the one without a stable job at other times.
Your friends who are looking for jobs think that it’s cool to be the one looking to give jobs. But you know it’s not. Those banker and consultant friends of yours think it’s great to have a fat salary every month. But you know it’s not.
Building something that can be used by so many people, and that solves their problems – Amazing! Building a company – Awesome! Answering your parents about their ‘Where-exactly-is-this-going’ dilemma– wait, What?
The best thing about young entrepreneurs – they don’t really care about the good, bad or ugly part of any dilemma. They don’t care about any dilemma whatsoever. They believe in themselves and are willing to give up on some things in life and take their chances, to ‘love’ what they do and ‘do’ what they love. Because in the end, they just want to-