Starting a Company
This week, I watched an interview between Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) and Sam Altman (Head of Y Combinator) that took a look into starting Facebook in the early days. The part that stuck out most for me was when Mark said that most people who start companies usually have the equation backwards. They want to start a company before they know what the company will be about. The most successful of companies arise from founders who try to solve pain points and inefficiencies that they have found in their lives (Brian Chesky – founder of AirBnB, great example).
At the beginning of this year, I had a strong desire to create something, to make something new. I think its human intuition to want to invent, to be different because that’s how we evolve and improve society. If there were no Peter Thiels or Elon Musks in the world, we would plateau in terms of innovation and quality of life. For me, around January time frame, I was going to quit banking early to start a company focusing on the financial services industry, helping to bridge the gap between finance and non-finance individuals. I didn’t end up going through with it for various reasons, that’s a story for another day. But the pain point was still there, and I must have unconsciously been thinking about it, which ultimately led to The Vampire Squid. Even something as small as creating a business podcast, I had never felt so fulfilled. When my downloads started skyrocketing, when my inbox became flooded, when website visits peaked, I felt proud that I was making an impact on people. There must be something about creating and helping others that is visceral for human beings.
When people ask me what I want to do for my career, I usually say that I will either stay in finance or start a company. For the latter, I realize that I fall into Mark’s bucket of having the equation backwards. However, at the very least, there is still an equation which seems like it can be fixed with simple algebra. My mindset has changed from wanting to start a company, to wanting to solve a problem. I’m actively learning to identify areas of inefficiencies in my life, and paint points that I want to fix. I don’t know what problem I am going to solve in the future, but at first pass, I am working on identifying problems in which I can add value. This was on my mind all week and wanted to put it down on paper.
Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!