I finished my first ever Tough Mudder on April 20th with some friends. It was tough and muddy and very similar to a startup journey. I know it sounds crazy but I was thinking about my startup the entire time I was racing. It could have been the cold weather or the electric shocks but I learned several lessons during that race.
This is a reminder to my future self (source https://coderwall.com/p/oqtj8w)
Create ~/.inputrc and fill it with this:
"\e[A": history-search-backward "\e[B": history-search-forward set show-all-if-ambiguous on set completion-ignore-case on
This allows you to search through your history using the up and down arrows … i.e. type “cd /” and press the up arrow and you’ll search through everything in your history that starts with “cd /”.
I wrote 2 posts so far about my startup journey. The first one was the contract between my wife and I and the second one was about funding my startup. Basically one is about family and the other about money. There is a third vertex to this triangle – Time. Time to actually put into my startup to move it forward.
I still have my day job but I have worked on my startup every single day for the past 30 or so days. Basically my schedule has been: gym (every other day) > day job (8 hours) > fishbowl (4 hours) > home (2 hours) > sleep (8 hours). I take Friday night and only put in a few hours on Saturday.
Or in other words my schedule is: money > time > family – not in order of priority of course :)
Money, Time and Family – the early startup triangle of death.
To move my startup forward, I need to put in a lot of time to get the prototype up and running and build the foundation for a great company and product.
I need money to pay my bills and fund my startup. Whatever that source of the money is – be it investors or consulting work, it will take time to acquire.
I can probably have more time AND money but then I will have to give up spending time with my wife, family and friends. This is something I will never compromise on. I would rather fail and be broke than compromise on this aspect of my life. That’s a price, I will never pay and will always be an easy decision to make.
Choice #1: Put time into startup, spend time with family but have no money
Choice #2: Get money, spend time with family and have no time to work on my startup – this is probably the most common choice and is the reason a lot of people have jobs and only dream of one day starting their own thing.
Choice #3: Get money, work on startup and in the process lose your friends, family and probably soul too. This is a no-go choice for me.
I choose #1 because I am passionate about my startup and love my family and I don’t know how or why or where or when but I have the sense that money will somehow be provided. God, the universe, luck (or perhaps a bank heist) or something and/or someone else will provide.
Risk it all because it ALL means nothing. Like someone said in the startup playbook, if you live in a first-world country, you owe it to yourself to take risks. In the grand scheme of things NONE of these risks are life threatening. Losing/downsizing your house, damaging your credit score, losing your car, inability to buy organic food, inability to take luxurious vacations and so on are NOT LIFE threatening, they are merely inconvenient. You will live through all of them.
I quit to start my own company and in a few short weeks, I will have no paycheck. That is scary. I need money to build my startup and I have been losing sleep over it.
There are several options that I can pursue to raise some money and each one has its own pros and cons.
I could do some part-time consulting to cover my expenses.
- I get to own 100% of my company.
- I don’t have to deal with any investors.
- Little financial risk
- It takes my focus off building my company
- It is not stable.
- I have to constantly look for the next contract
- It will cover my bills but won’t be sufficient to grow my company e.g. hire people, pay for services and “stuff”
Credit Cards & Personal Loans
I can just use credit cards and loans to fund the business and pay my bills
- I get to own 100% of my company.
- I don’t have to deal with any investors.
- I will run out of money very quickly
- Extremely high financial risk that affects my family and not just myself
Angel Investors and/or VCs
- Access to lots of money (potentially)
- The right investor can open doors that I don’t even know exist
- I have to share my company with others
- Finding the right investor is time consuming (pretty much a full time job)
- I will be working with strangers.
- Investors management overhead
- The wrong investor can be a pain in the ass that can hurt me rather than help me
Friends and Family
- Work with people I already know and trust
- Opportunity to make money for my friends
- Much easier to raise money than angel investors
- Share my success with friends
- Risk losing all my friends’ money
- Managing multiple inexperienced investors
- Risk of straining relationships that are very important to me.
- Share my failure with friends
My Gut Feeling
I am leaning towards raising money from friends and family but it is not an easy decision. I feel like it will be a huge burden and will be constantly worried about losing my friends’ money (and trust). Although, I have a great deal of confidence that I will succeed but there is no guarantee that I would and it would suck to lose my friends’ money. What do you think I should do? Any thoughts?
UPDATE 2: Good discussion going on at hacker news
This is a contract between Emad and Laura. This contract is binding and both parties must abide by it.
We are about to embark on a very very rough journey. We will be BROKE. We will not have money to dine out. We will not have money to travel. We will not have money to go out. We will not have money for shopping. We will not have money for pretty much anything except FOOD AND BILLS. Although this journey is rough, it will be fun and full of adventure. Although the destination is unknown, there is great optimism and hope that it will be a fantastic one.
Why can’t Emad keep his well-paying job and be like everyone else? Because he is either CRAZY or STUPID and because he is NOT like everyone else. Laura ACCEPTS the fact that Emad is crazy and/or stupid and loves him for it.
Why is Emad doing this? Because life is too short to not chase your dreams and his dream is to build an awesome software company. Laura accepts that fact and will support him in every way possible.
Below are a set of rules, commitments and responsibilities that both Emad and Laura must agree to.
Laura’s Roles & Responsibilities
- Must NOT interrupt Emad while office door is closed unless matter is urgent.
- A funny youtube video is NOT urgent.
- Nothing on CNN is urgent (unless life threatening to us or family)
- Must EMAIL Emad instead of calling him on the phone
- If phone must be used, she shall keep phone conversations UNDER ONE MINUTE.
- Emad has the right to hang up (or stop listening) after 1 minute.
- Must NOT ask Emad what he wants to eat - simply tell him “we are going to eat XXX”. Emad doesn’t care and will eat anything
- Must know that Emad CANNOT read her mind. If she needs something, she must ask directly.
- Must understand that Emad has NO IDEA why she is mad or in a bad mood and automatically assumes he has done something wrong - refer to point #5
- Must NOT argue about anything with Emad
- If arguments must be had, they must be resolved within ONE HOUR. Emad CANNOT work or sleep until all arguments/disagreements are settled
- Will NOT use iPhone or Laptop in bed
- Must CUT DOWN on spending and MUST COMPLAIN about Emad’s wasteful spending
- Must NEVER ask Emad ”are you busy today?” or “do you have work to do?”, because the answer is ALWAYS yes and if she needs something, just ask (see point #5)
- If Emad is in a bad mood or looks stressed, she must know that it has NOTHING to do with her and is work related. If it isn’t work related Emad will let her know.
Emad’s Roles & Responsibilities
- Must put Laura’s needs ahead of EVERYTHING else
- Must allocate ONE NIGHT of quality time per week for Laura - Can be used to hang out, watch a movie, relax, go out, or do WHATEVER LAURA WANTS etc…
- Must be PRESENT in the moment when hanging out with Laura and/or friends
- Must have dinner with Laura 5 times a week
- Must NOT use phone or any device during dinner or whenever Laura is present
- Must NOT spend any money on gadgets unrelated to work
- Must stay FOCUSED on work and not get distracted by Internet
- Must NOT argue about anything with Laura
- If arguments must be had, they must be resolved within ONE HOUR
- Must be more PATIENT and thoughtful
- Must think before he talks (it could save him tons of time)
- Must NOT get angry too quickly. If unavoidable, go for a 20 MINUTE WALK.
- Must NOT talk about work ALL the time