Sometimes, people forget that through all the blood, sweat, tears and pain of starting a fast-growing new business, entrepreneurs are real people. Everyone understands that, including investors.
In this update - I want to tell you what I learned from having a baby recently.
First - let's see a picture of Leo! He actually smells and feels cuter than any words or photos could ever express. He was born around mid-October.
This is what I began to understand, as my wife and I faced this journey, with our first baby:
- The unknown is about understanding, but it starts with fear. Leo is scared of things first - and then after some getting used to being uncomfortable, he begins to try to understand them (next). I've begun to realize that a fear of new markets, competitors and growth is necessary and healthy. It would be a deep mistake to be complacent and "never fearful". Fear is a strong emotion that drives the next stage - the right understanding and response. It also creates a necessary balance between short-term results and long-term gains.
- When you are being driven up the wall and extremely tired - the laziest thoughts are the simplest and best ideas. Before my baby was born, I was into smart/hacky ideas to do things with Tallyfy and grow fast. When I stayed up with Leo night after night, getting up to his cries (sometimes for no clear reason) - we both (my wife and I) drove ourselves to extreme exhaustion. Every time I got up to warm a bottle of milk, I dragged myself - and it was insanely tiring. At a certain lucid moment - which felt like seeing a shining white spot of light, I would realize something that we need to do, as a business (Tallyfy). And it would always be something extremely simple. Driving my tiredness to the edge is both a clarifier and a way to make simpler, better decisions.
- Doing something different is important - but not as important as solving critical problems. Leo doesn't care about how one thing is better than something else. He actually finds a huge amount of joy in something as simple as a soft cloth. Forget about actual toys - this is just a soft cloth! He is critically aware of what he needs - food, sleep, etc. I began to realize how important solving problems is - compared to people chasing the latest fad because it sounds cool. Converting "interesting" hype about new markets like blockchain, AI, 3d printing, etc. is all about converting understanding to real problems with applications that are worth changing the status quo for. That's the key - understanding if the status quo will ever change or even needs changing, not the big-talk about the disruption or the size of the market. Everything besides this understanding is going to waste money and time.
- Unexpected reaction and promise is endearing. When Leo smiles, it's rare - and it's wonderful. The feeling I get when I realize that Leo might be babbling and talking soon (in future) is the most wonderful thing I've felt in a long time. If I'm trying to win people over as customers, I've begun to truly realize that they are people and I'm a person - and sometimes, being a person and not a machine - is exactly what is needed to move the conversation forward. This specifically means - being unexpected and creative in conversation, which before Leo - I forced myself to do LESS of, despite a natural urge! In addition, promising an incredible future - elicits the same feeling people get when they think about the future with their baby. They want to buy into a journey, not a product or solution. Everybody understands that (just like a baby can't code at 6 months of age) - a business is about what you promise and how easily/quickly that promise is going to become predictable and real.
Having a baby is remarkable - and nothing prepared me for it. What's more awesome, is that I never imagined what I would learn, and what I'm going to learn!
Sometimes, to really excel in a business, one has to look at something outside the business. There's a ton of parallels between a new baby and a new business. Sorry about the off-topic post. This learning was important to me personally, so I wanted to share it with you.