I never wanted to work. I remember a seven years old version of me asking my father which jobs would make me rich without working too hard. “It’s not a job, he said, if you don’t work hard.” He didn’t like to work either. Work wasn’t fun.
Is work fun?
Ten years later I was the lead member of a music band and determined to never work “like a slave”, to never be a fool. Of course, I was a complete fool. I was wrong at all levels, the first being that I thought I wasn’t working. I was, actually working very hard to get this band going. I was spending hours writing, recording and editing music. I was organizing gigs, finding rehearsal sites, performing, going in the studio and I still had to go to class. I didn’t know I was working at the time. Was it because it was fun?
It took me some time to realize that life doesn’t have to be split between work and fun. When I think about it, this music band was actually my first startup. Startups are defined by the level of risk and uncertainty that clouds their future. We all spend our lives at our job. If work isn’t fun, life won’t probably be either. People who work in startups have understood something very important: if we want people to give their best, we need to create a place where it’s good to live A place that feels like home. Startups create their own work environment and set the tone. You can choose the people, the job, the culture. They want life to be fun, and they make work seem like life.
Startups don’t have time
“Move fast and break things”. I have always been scared of waiting. Wait too long and doubt invites himself. Startups don’t care about the rules. They don’t have time to respect “how things are”, which creates problems with the established order. They don’t care about how the world is or used to be, only about the next step. They are those reckless young people who finally made it because of their recklessness.
Startups make dreams come true because they don’t mind the risks and value uncertainty. They think it’s worth it. The downside is that these companies don’t have time to babysit. They won’t keep you if you’re not as hungry as they are, if you don’t want to break things. Startups are a place of informality where you might not have to wait three years to get promoted, but they will fire you if your fire no longer burns. Startups don’t have time.
Stories to Tell
I often ask myself: “What’s my life goal”? Be happy? Sure, but how can you define happiness? I know what I am afraid of: regrets. I want to have stories to tell. In order to get these I think I need to take risks. I have never met a risk-taker who regretted his choices. All in all, we try and that’s the most important thing in life: trying. I want to create memories, to leave a mark if I can. Who’s not afraid of disappearing in a complete indifference? What are children if not the desire to build a legacy, to give a purpose to our lives and actions?
Startups are like children. That’s no coincidence if founders call them “their babies”. They are an opportunity to take risks and to build memories that will last, like children are. It’s incredibly uncertain and risky, but I think it’s worth it. Stories are worth more than fortune and fame.
Eighteen years after talking with my dad, I still don’t want to work, but I am ready to have fun.