Notes: Parallel Entrepreneurship

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Why Parallel Entrepreneurship?

I’ve always enjoyed being creative and making new things, but since I started working in Silicon Valley, I’ve been somewhat conditioned to believe that the only form of entrepreneurship that existed was to quit your job and work on your own startup, and aspire to chase venture funding and a unicorn IPO exit.

The only path of entrepreneurship is not what you read about on Techcrunch. Don’t rush into the path of VC funding too soon, if you treasure your entrepreneurial freedom. And if you choose to still raise capital, make sure the opportunity is massive and have realistic expectations of what your investors can do for you — Carl Fritjofsson

While I’m sure this model has produced some of the largest and most impactful companies in the world, I’ve always felt there was a missing gap for people like me, who (1) enjoy creatively solving new problems (2) enjoy growing & deploying a generalist, multidisciplinary skillset, but (3) uninspired by the extremely all-in and binding nature of serial entrepreneurship.

In my own career, I’ve experimented with roles and environments that try to try my professional “sweet spot” in all of these areas: from being a product designer at different startups, to transitioning to the more “generalist” discipline of product management, to pursuing entrepreneurial side projects outside of work.

Along the way, I’ve come across and have been inspired by the stories and communities of people who have found a fascinating mix of these values for themselves—whether it’s solopreneurs who bootstrap their own online businesses, parallel entrepreneurs who focus on building business outside of their day job, to startup studios that use shared resources to build several companies in succession, and more.

Regardless of the model/archetype, there seem to be key underlying trends that are driving these communities:

  • The barrier to starting a technology company is lower than ever. We are in an era where most of the important technologies are available for free as open-source repositories or available through easy to use and well documented APIs.
  • A portfolio approach vs. all eggs in one basket. Investors have long argued the value of a portfolio to hedge and leverage the risk, so why shouldn’t entrepreneurs do the same? With the current low capital requirements for smartphone and Internet apps, and high market volatility, it makes sense to spread the risk around as much as possible.

Over time, this article will summarize my learning & key resources on this emerging model entrepreneurship.

In between, I plan to continuously capture smaller nuggets of learning in a Medium Series, which will include a combination of (1) resources I encounter (2) discussions with people in the area, and (3) personal experiences.

Follow Along My Journey!

These are some of my experiences and active projects in this area of interest:

⭐ My Milestones

These are some things I’ve been working on along the way:

  • ✅ Completed YCombinator Startup School
  • ✅ Mentor for UCLA VC Fund
  • ✅ Mentor for UCLA DevX
  • ✅ Selected as a 2015 KPCB Fellow

📝 My Open Diary

Follow along my Medium Series as I document my learnings:

📚 My Reading List