I moved Graphicly to San Francisco today.
It wasn’t a deliberate move, more opportunistic. It was an opportunity to put all of our engineers and product folks into a room after years of various configurations and give them the simple directive of “Build.”
This afternoon, I sat amongst the engineers and listened to them debate UI and code implementations. It reminded me of riding my bike over to the Mountain View Public Library right before the beginning of story time. Just like becoming enveloped in worlds that I barely understood, the discussion of code soothed my soul and excited my brain. I participated where I could, but mostly I just sat in the middle of the hurricane and absorbed the energy.
After the day was done, and before I drove home to San Mateo, I stopped by my friend Elle’s studio. I sat there in the midst of her paintings that covered the walls, and her drawings that covered the ceilings and floors and reached through my eyeballs to caress my brain and whisper in my ear, “You aren’t an entrepreneur.”
Building things is something I have done since I was born. I am pretty sure by the time I could talk, I was convincing people to join me in harebrained schemes. At nine, I owned the lawn mowing business in my neighborhood, and by thirteen had designed flying cars powered by fission engines and a lemonade mixer who’s efficiency was matched only by the Tang NASA took to space.
I never became an entrepreneur, I’ve just always been one. I never aspired to build; I just did.
As I grow older, I find the definition of entrepreneur changing. Where it once was about building, it is now about starting.
So many founders think about the future linearly, missing the opportunity to make an exponential mark on the world.
Things are created not by steps but by bounds.
I hate being an entrepreneur.
I hate that the amazing work of amazing entrepreneurs is being buried behind amazingly pedantic work of founders supported by investors that should know better.
So, I retired as an entrepreneur today.
Instead, I’ll just sit in the middle of brilliant people and let them create. I’ll whisper in their ears and remind them that they are representative of how the world changes. We will think about the future after the future and paint that reality on the floors, walls and ceilings and watch it grow from our tiny office on a hill in San Francisco.