Categories
Blog Post

Solo Founders

Vishnu Mohandas‘ blog post Persisting as a solo founder immediately resonated with me, after discovering his content on the HackerNews front page.

After 2.5ish years of building my own business (to date), I can acutely sympathise with each of his challenges and observations in designing, developing and selling his vision.

Overwhelm is never far away, and given a foothold, can quickly unravel the carefully balanced mindset required to sustain, let alone succeed.

Tracking numerous technical threads across clients and products, practicing rapid decision-making, managing relationships old and new, maintaining a continuous learning mentality, juggling financial and time pressures… All the while remaining productive in your primary creative and technical disciplines… Bringing a product or business to the marketplace is not for the faint of heart.

Once I accepted the loneliness and the lack of a financial cushion I had to figure out a way to keep building without burning myself out.

— Vishnu Mohandas

One of my biggest learnings was to embrace the need to quite deliberately manage myself, as one would expect a dutiful leader to manage his troop.

Some of the lessons can feel so simple, yet hold the most value. My key learnings to date have been:

  • Ask for help when you need it: It’s a fallacy to think you will go far alone, so practice mutually beneficial collaboration frequently
  • Design dedicated downtime: This will never happen by accident, so ensure proper recovery and previous headspace
  • Learn to respectfully say “no”: If you’re ambitious and productive it comes natural to want to take every opportunity. But know that overwhelm can quickly revert good intent to a disservice and ultimately disappointment.

It took me approximately one year to recognise and truly internalise each of these key learnings.

The spark of inspiration fuelled by sincere ambition can ignite a beautiful and compulsive momentum. Though unchecked speed can quickly become unstable and unsustainable.

Remain conscious of your workload, capacity and well-being. Favour patient, sustained growth with timely bursts of effort for meaningful returns. Just because you could do more, doesn’t mean you always should.

Categories
Blog Post

Blog (Re)Init

I have always harvested the ambition to build and maintain a blog but found the task forever tumbling down the perpetual ToDo list.

I could rarely justify taking the time to author my own content for publication, as ever-urgent, competing priorities jostle for time and attention. There were always too many other things to do.

The change of pace enforced by the COVID-19 lockdown has afforded me some welcomed additional headroom. It is without doubt a privileged position given the wider challenges and outlook. While I wish circumstances were different, I am thankful to embrace the opportunity to slow down and reflect with greater intent.

Contrasted against my typical frenzy of doing too much just-in-time, the result is I feel a greater sense of control and inner calm that is warmly welcomed and enjoyed with enthusiasm. While obvious trade-offs and new frustrations must be navigated, it’s been a healthy exercise to contemplate my modus operandi.

One leading, recurring reflection that has arose is my desire to write and publish more.

I must credit Tim Casasola for his article Why does writing matter in remote work? for sparking my action. His post neatly reflects on both the functional requirement of writing to fulfil remote obligations. But his contemplation of writing well as an advantage is what really provoked me. Considered writing has the ability to encourage more effective work execution, empower engagements, and open new opportunities.

Incentivised

With this newfound intent to start a blog, I’ve been tracking more conversations, rebuttals, and technologies related to the topic. A fatigue for the distraction and distrust of the dominant social platforms seems to be contributing to a resurgence of new-old technologies in the tech community, such as simplified development stacks, minimal CSS frameworks and calls for the return of Really Simple Syndication.

An ambition to extend my understanding and application of the JAMstack gave me reason to build and manage a personal website for my professional development.

From a personal development perspective, I am already writing frequently. Not only in my day-to-day work, but also in recording my personal thoughts and feelings in a (mostly) daily private blog. Only recently have I considered the additional value in publishing instead of simply recording.

Publishing to a public forum forces a new perspective. The mental exercise of threading interesting narratives, theming experiences and identifying key learnings is not only personally empowering, but may also produce value for others.

Considered reflection promotes forward momentum.