Startup Catalyst: Initial Ramblings

I recently went on Startup Catalyst’s Future Founders Mission. A reoccurring theme was the advantages of writing thoughts down and blogging. So, here it goes, blog 0. I hope you enjoy reading my semi-coherent, grammatically poor, brain dumps.

As I said, I recently went on Startup Catalyst’s Future Founders Mission. In short, the mission cherry picks 20 young people from around Australia, all with a deep technical background and an entrepreneurial bent and takes them to Silicon Valley to “blow their minds”, with the hope of them returning to Australia to do “awesome shit”. The group visits a range a company, from tech giants (think Twitter, Google, Facebook etc), to early stage starts-ups in co-working spaces and everything in-between. The majority of sessions are led by Australians who now live in Silicon Valley. The sessions generally consisted of a site tour, then a talk followed by a Q&A about how to “make it” in Silicon Valley.

The calibre of companies and people that talked to us was amazing. But, to be perfectly honest, each talk individually didn’t give me a whole lot of value. The majority of the talks had the same underlying key messages, just wrapped in a different story.

I’m in the very fortunate position to have a lot of responsible and freedom in my current job. I know a bit about small business and scaling companies. Most of the things said really just validated things I was currently doing or thinking — useful, but probably not worth travelling to Silicon Valley for.

However, on our last day, themed “personal reflection day”, I began to do some personal reflecting during the day. I still thought each individual talk wasn’t amazing. However, the talks and experience as a whole has had a completely different impact.

I now have this odd feeling that I need to be doing more, I’m not learning enough, that I have the potential to conquer the world (I all most definitely don’t, but it’s a nice thought). It’s a hard feeling to try and capture with words, but my brain is now in nonstop overdrive.

My desire to do “awesome shit” is now at a new level.

But I also know now that I can do awesome shit. I have no idea where this came from though — there were no inspiration “you can do anything you set your mind to” talks. Each talk focused on their experience, and how they got to that point in life. Maybe it’s because I have now seen first hand their is no difference between myself and these people who have built companies or are high up at the tech giants.

The other weird feeling I have is about my job. I fucking love my job. I’m a 24 year old that leads a group of incredibly talented people to build things that go to space. Who the fuck gets to say they do that at 24? What more do you want to do at 24? I don’t want anything more. But at the same time I feel like I could be doing more. At the end of the day I’m still creating someone else’s dream. It’s a fucking cool dream, but it’s someone else’s. I have near boundless freedom in my current position, but I feel restricted. I have no idea how, I just do. I don’t want to quit, or get another job, but at the same time I feel deprived of something.

Essentially, I’m rattled. I have a lot of questions and not a whole lot of direction.

So I guess thanks for nothing Startup Catalyst, but also thanks for everything. Thank you for completely fucking with my brain and pointing me in no direction. Thank you for installing this weird sense of purpose inside me that I have absolutely no idea how to fulfil. Thanks for starting me on my next chapter of life. Stay tuned.

More blogs about the trip to come.