Are Simplicity and Starting a Startup Compatible?
The answer… honestly – No, not really.
This is a really beautiful opinion piece in the NYT about those people who say they’re ‘busy’ whenever you speak to them.
I heard that the founder of Green & Blacks chocolate, I forget his name, hired such brilliant people around him that he only came in once a week to make sure everything was going according to plan. What a legend. What trust. What simplicity.
For the rest of us, the startup world is one of obsession and comes at the expense of emotional or simplicional health.
That’s not to say it’s not all bad. There’s something wonderful about focus, learning, meaning and being immersed. There’s a clarity and simplicity in the single-mindedness that a wannabe entrepreneur has on that mission.
But it’s not all good.
In my case, I look back at the last 10 years and realise, my extended sabbatical in Kenya aside, that the entrepreneurial grip has me so tight that I’ve not had energy for other things. That’s not to say I haven’t done a lot of other amazing activities – my innate sense of mischief and wanting to maintain a social life mean that I find it difficult to do nothing else but work – parties, festivals, holidays and dinners have all been attended, and enjoyed.
Yet there has been a price paid, which has been my inability to tear myself (and my ego) away from the pursuit of the entrepreneurial dream, emotionally – meaning that I’ve often felt half-there, half-not-there when out of the ‘office’.
What I would give for the ability to immerse myself in the work and then enjoy the down time. Each fully. Is it possible? Did Steve Jobs ever have down time, so singular was his mission and focus? I read articles that said he worked as hard when he was ‘on holiday’ with his family as he did when he was ‘at work’. Is that the price of ‘putting a ding in the universe’.
It is partially bravery and fear. The ability to trust, like Mr Green & Blacks. Is it a desperate need to achieve and the ego, which means that everything feels undone, or still to do… despite achievements.