Here Goes Nothing

I really didn’t want to do this. I had a (perhaps) irrational fear of coming off conceited, narcissistic, self-interested, etc. Still, many of you kept asking me to share. To tell my stories. I made excuses: I’m busy. I don’t have time for this. No one cares anyway. Right?

If I’m completely candid though: I was also afraid of telling you all my secrets. What would you think of me? You would know exactly how ‘hard’ I actually worked. 100 hours a week right? Ya no. Not exactly.

I’ll start with a confession: despite being a [funded] startup founder — I actually still have a life. Capital sin. Guilty.

Not so sure about this…

But here’s the thing: sometimes work looks a whole lot like play. And sometimes play is actually the most productive. And sometimes there really is no distinction. These blurred lines, this ‘grey area’ — it’s kinda my little world (to avoid the cliche ‘lifestyle’).

Case in point: I met one of our first investors at a poker game. And another at the Porsche Ice Driving Experience. Which I swear was totally R&D — and a birthday gift — and a shit ton of fun. So ya, I think maybe the saying should go “Work hardest by playing hardest.” Oh shit. That’s good. One sec; gonna put that in my twitter bio.

Ok, focus. Lets get back on track (you’ll have to excuse my ADD). So, why the heck am I doing this, letting you in, behind-the-scenes, against all my better judgement?

3 reasons: DHH, my boyfriend, and my team.

First, DHH. That’s David Heinemeier Hansson for non-tech nerds: Creator of Ruby, Basecamp Founder/CTO, NYT best-selling author (including one of my faves Remote: Office Not Required) and to cap it all off Le Mans class-winning racing driver (so sick!). Well, he wrote this brilliant post in which the following struck me:

“There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it. […] in spite of prevailing evidence on the power of sleep, recuperation, and sustainable work habits.

So don’t tell me that there’s something uniquely demanding about building yet another fucking startup […]. It’s bullshit. Extractive, counterproductive bullshit by people who either need a narrative to explain their personal sacrifices and regrets or who treat the lives and wellbeing of others like cannon fodder.

Workaholism is a disease. We need treatment and coping advice for those afflicted, not cheerleaders for their misery.”

This encouraged me to speak up and join the fight.

Next up, the boy. Let me preface this by explaining that this is not your typical boyfriend. No, this boy just so happens to be the co-founder of a unicorn. And if you want to test your startup geography with a quick quiz it’s pretty easy to guess which one. Hint: I live in Ottawa.

Anyway, all that just to say when this German (bonus hint) says ‘You should write a blog’ I don’t have the luxury of thinking ‘isn’t he just so sweet to think anyone would care”. Nein. Coming from him, this has nothing to do with our relationship — it’s mentorship. Smile and hug: “Ja, maybe.”

Last but not least, my team. My technical co-founder Matt who saved me from the despair of outsourcing to contractors, and Brooke who’s most literal job description would read something like ‘does everything I don’t’— aka lifesaver.

I may technically be the boss, but in reality I feel the deepest sense of duty toward them — for believing in me, my crazy ideas, and for saving me from myself when I cross the line.

Last week I made the mistake of asking them “Guys, should I do this? Go all in, borderline tmi, full transparency?” Lets vote. Me against. Matt & Brooke for. 2 to 1. Damn, I lose. Start typing.

Now I realize I really haven’t told you anything yet, but hey, it’s a start. Kinda like setting the stage. And I’m committing right here and now to post again before the end of the week.

Unless I completely lose my nerve…