2015-02-02

Who Needs Startups? Diversify Away...

I never had an ambition to work in startups.

I'm the sort of guy who thinks industries like Friendster/Facebook are too predictably easy (2004, mind you). I'm boring - like Bezos, I prefer infrastructural plays which bet on things that are unlikely to change over 5-15 year horizons. Betting on volatility, selling insurance, and all that.

But I thought it would be a good education to learn how people build businesses from scratch, and so seven or so years after I started helping small businesses, I find myself in the occasional profession of being able to trade a little knowledge for money.

I've spent the last three months jump-starting the internal engineering team of a recently incorporated web-business investments firm. It's probably fair to guess that I've pulled 60-100 hours/week to-date. Not the most productive hours - first, I'm no genius, and second, organisational development is by definition a muddy business... more or less so, depending on the nature of the subject.

So now with bums in seats, the next quarter will involve a push for quality. We next need to shore up the product development practices, as much as we need to achieve an acceptable quality of engineering. Inbound marketing will be key concept to be grasped. Marketing operational effienciencies can only follow after that.

As for myself, I've just made a pitch to trade 30 hours a week for 20% in a small local business. It's in food & beverage, of course, a nice complement to my staid routine at the desk, jumping between spreadsheets, slide decks, meetings, browsers, and terminals. The past week has hardly been the most productive of the last quarter - a little illness, inconsistent sleep patterns, and much political chittering come to mind - but the quarter as a whole stands out, I suppose, as a relatively productive fraction of the past two years. (Have my standards fallen?)

I hope the next quarter turns out well.

Who knows. By tomorrow, the winds may have changed, and so will the appropriate tack. Such is life. Who needs "startups," for excitement?

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