Zen and the Art of Building a Startup During a Pandemic

Myself pictured with co-founder Niklas Nielsen circa 2014 (left) and in early 2020 (right)
Myself pictured with co-founder Niklas Nielsen circa 2014 (left, brainstorming at the first Mesosphere office in San Francisco) and in 2020 (right, seated in the “executive living room”). [1]

My wife and I arrived in San Francisco in December 2013 in a packed car, and I was excited to begin work at a nine-person startup based in a Potrero Hill condo. We moved from our home state of Wisconsin where it was exactly one hundred degrees colder (no kidding!) than Northern California. From there it was two years of accelerated learning, as the company scaled up from humble beginnings to…