In the past few months I’ve gone from udder confidence to moments later questioning my sanity. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the emotional continuum that is being a non technical start up founder and have come up with the perfect analogy-Alice’s journey to Wonderland. Dissatisfied with her lot in life and possessing more than a healthy dose of curiosity and perhaps a bit of apathy towards her circumstances she chases an elusive rabbit, following him into his hole. As I reflect, it’s obvious I had all of those same feelings, I never imagined that despite the fact that I have moments of pure brilliance and a good grasp on the tenants of my vocation I was nonetheless languishing. I didn’t feel challenged, despite my attempts to push myself and attain further certifications and licenses it seemed that a greater knowledge base didn’t spur my career trajectory in the way I imagined it would. Like Alice I had that clarifying moment and I realized that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and go out on a limb and make the leap, hopefully the net would appear. Alice tumbled down the hole and landed in a heap, then she could never seem to be the right size to open the doors. In the beginning stages of my ideation I had people give me development projections that dwarfed my perhaps naive estimates. I pictured a couple of college drop-outs (brilliant of course) coding to create my vision for minimum wage, they still lived with their parents and were too young to drink so didn’t even need beer money. I eventually discovered the right fit, a company that was growing and looking for a bigger project. As Alice become acclimated in Wonderland she meets several curiouser and curiouser individuals, who talk in riddles and at times she thinks they are guiding her on the right path other times she feels completely alone and lost. Launching a start up in an unfamiliar area feels very similar at times. I’ve been on calls trying frantically to write down all the pieces of sage advice only to be asked if I was still there, I hadn’t realized some time had passed and my musing over his meaning had turned into an awkward pause. “I used to be much more muchier, somehow in this world I’ve lost my muchiness.” I struggle to understand what various vendors can offer me. Networking has never been my thing and my inability to speak the lingo further illustrates the fact that maybe I don’t belong. “I don’t think” said Alice-“then you shouldn’t talk” said the Hatter.
Like Alice I’ve come to intersections confused which path to take “Which road do I want to take?’ she asked, ‘Where do you want to go?’ Responded the Cheshire Cat, ‘I don’t know’ answered Alice. ‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” My path at this point is so fluid that I suppose that’s true, while certain choices may lead me astray, at least I’m moving forward. I guess I also follow the adage “My dear, here we run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go somewhere you must run twice as fast as that”. As soon as I think I have found a solution for a particular aspect of my project some one has developed a new offering that does it slightly better, and as soon as I choose them something completely different will be released tomorrow that is completely revolutionary.
I try to tell friends and family of my struggles but its clear they don’t understand, they inhabit worlds where everything is as it should be and makes sense. It’s only when discussing the tribulations with another entrepreneur that the truth comes out-“Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?” I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All of the best people are. “
So I’ll continue done this path because at this point I’m not sure I could ever find my way out of the rabbit hole in any case, “I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”. I guess I’ll just have to continue on- before Alice found Wonderland she had to fall pretty hard down a deep hole.