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I met with an aspiring entrepreneur recently who was deep into the customer discovery process with potential first customers. He was sharing with me how he was speaking to different customers but they were really of different market segments with different challenges. That was a big reason why he was hesitant around what features to build that would be critical to an MVP.

But one of the more interesting considerations during our discussion was how he identified a truly valuable insight and value that would actually bridge both customer segments due to this one problem. However, when he brought it up with one of the customers, there was immediate push back. What this wantrepreneur heard was really the fear and risk the customer felt when considering this new way of doing things.

But the question is, is this fear a true stumbling block that would make this offering dead on arrival? Or, was this fear just because “it’s how we’ve always done it”?

In these cases, it’s important to present what the value of such a solution would be. Part of this process includes asking, “why?” over and over (5 whys will do the trick) to get to the root of the problem. Then, present why and how the offering brings benefits and value to the customer. But also, consider if this customer can be an early partner to truly discover if this fear will hinder success or be a truly beneficial opportunity that can bring about much greater success to the company.

But also, consider how the risks and fears can be mitigated to enable the partner to keep going.

No one would have thought about people would let strangers in their home. Why would they ever do that? But then, when a company like Airbnb will insure the home for any potential damages + provide income + enable hosts to “vet” potential guests, the reality sets in that this can work. Consider days prior to Uber. Think about upsetting the status quo of taxis and cabs with long established systems with medallions vs. having strangers driver strangers around.

To disrupt established norms, one must only present enough value and benefits that overcome potential risks. Don’t let negative feedback stop the pursuit of something that could be great. Instead, dig in. Find out why that negative feedback exists. What would usurp the risks?

I just finished one of the first books in a long time called The Hard Thing About Hard Things. This one is by VC Ben Horowitz of Andreesen Horowitz. Ben shares the lessons he learned during the tumultuous years of building LoudCloud then Opsware which was later acquired in 2007 by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6B.

The gist of the book is sharing all the hidden experiences entrepreneurs face to create a valuable company—lessons that are rarely, if ever, discussed in other entrepreneurship / CEO books. For example, what is going through an entrepreneur and founder’s mind when having to lay off an entire workforce.

There are many lessons I learned from the book, but the one lesson / theme I came away with was the appreciation for my former CEO, Gregg Freishtat, at SalesWise—the startup I was a part of from 2016 through 2018. In the book, Ben discusses many of the trials and the thrust to push through incredibly difficult circumstances or fail. Some of those stories included running out of money and having to raise capital on the back of little revenue, competing against much larger, well-funded rivals, and even the challenge of hiring a friend / acquaintance. SalesWise was very much an up and down experience that eventually led to the company largely dissolving (though, created another brand that was acquired—Burner Rocket). My former CEO kept looking for “veins of gold”… constantly pushing and prodding looking for new ways to sell and grow. Unfortunately, unlike Ben’s company, things did not work out. But it was the sheer determination and the scrappiness to survive that was such a big appreciation I did not have prior to this book.

Other lessons I took include:

  • The nuances between a peacetime CEO vs. a wartime CEO including adherence to control and procedure (or otherwise), paranoia of competition, focus on execution vs. finer details, etc.
  • How to make decisions with little to no real experience or knowledge and the impact to the company when decisions go against consensus.
  • The lonely road sometimes walked by CEOs and founders during difficult times. This reminded me a lot of Ray Dalio’s journey described early in his book Principles including having to lay everyone off and then having his cofounder leave as well. It’s critical to have a support system with people who have experience.

There are a lot of fine details in the book to which I have less experience to truly appreciate what Ben went through. Instead, what will forever resonate with me is the determination, focus, and grit required by entrepreneurs / CEOs to pull companies to survive. Having been a witness to the gargantuan effort this requires in a startup I was a part of, I better understand now the true commitment I must make to create a valuable company.

Last week was the first time in a long time I just said, “eff it, I’m not posting”. I could’ve still posted later like I had done for several weeks prior. However, I just didn’t. Maybe it’s time for a break?

The last several months have been a whirlwind for me with travel all around the world—including writing this post from Dubai. Meanwhile, I’ve sold my previous home. Closed on a new home. I’ve gotten married. I’ve taken on new roles at a new job. It’s a lot.

Meanwhile, I’ve felt so much less entrepreneurial in my current role. Perhaps because I’ve realized more and more that while I am in my current role in this startup, it’s crystal clear I am no longer an entrepreneur. Sure, I can be entrepreneurial. However, I’ve hung up my keyboard as an entrepreneur since selling Burner Rocket. Now, I’m just an employee.

I’ve felt so much less an entrepreneur. I have things to share, for sure, as I take on this “Solutions Architect” role while also taking on some elements of sales and some in marketing. However, it’s all… not mine. As I stare at a future that is quickly approaching with my new personal life changes, I must make the decision to stay on my current course as an officer of a ship, or find a new way for me to be the captain of one.

Whatever the next step is, however, I’ve reached a saturation point and exhaustion that has me saying I should cut back my posts here to at least bi-weekly if not stop altogether. Or, I go with something in between as a time bound hiatus or choose to post only when I want to (read: have material I feel should be shared rather than the obligatory weekly, or bi-weekly, post).

Life is changing. My role is changing. My views on how I pursue my life’s passions and ambitions are not changing. Though, these feelings are the same feelings many entrepreneurs face, especially in light of struggling to gain enough traction to stay the course and being able to do so—emotionally, socially, emotionally, etc.

Stay tuned. But also, reflect on where you are. How is your life changing? Are your ambitions and passions changing, too? Or, are your ambitions and passions playing second fiddle now due to some changes? Will you stay this course or do you have plans to change?

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been in Dubai as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators program, but the last week has been alone – that is, my colleague left for other appointments at home. It’s been a great experience continuing to spread my proverbial wings and practice entrepreneurship in its simplest root – performing customer discovery. It’s also meant I’ve had the chance to better understand the challenges, opportunities, and the delta between what our cloud-platform can provide and what the use case calls for. I’m having a lot of fun. However, it also means I must practice a lot of brainstorming in silo and keep an eye on both tactical and strategic objectives. That’s a bit tougher. It requires self-regulation.

Most everyday, I am immersing myself with the client and use case. I’m really employing my former consulting experience here while fine-tuning to the needs of a startup (read: entrepreneurship). Every so often, I get a chance to catch up with my colleagues back home. As a non-programmer, I must balance what is wanted, what is required, what can be accomplished with limited resources (especially time)… all the while managing expectations as a sales professional.

On my first day, I went deep into the process. From consulting, it’s akin to “stapling myself to an order”. That is, living through the life of what is happening to better understand the granular challenges. We were asked early on what the strategic goal was. It’s interesting to see how the challenges and desire for solution(s) can be misaligned seemingly. It goes back to the balance and identify of tactical vs. strategic objectives. It’s easy to get absorbed into the weeds of a challenge. When you’re deep in the weeds, you can’t see what’s truly happening or the cause of problems because you can also see what’s happening in front of you. That’s why it’s important to step up and out and assess what’s happening at the macro-level. This is a great reason why asking “Why?” five times is a great approach.

In some ways, it’s like having that “out-of-body” assessment as I mentioned a couple months ago in “Customer Discovery Through the Out-of-Body Experience”. Except, instead of asking the customer to do this, it’s for me to do it.

Working in isolation can be tough even when one can say working with the customer is team work. But the truth is the customer doesn’t always know the company’s capabilities, what are off limit, how this opportunity affects other opportunities, etc. That’s why having that second set of eyes and ears is so important. But if that’s not there, then it’s up to the solo artist (me, in this case at the moment) to have the self-regulation to throttle speed–speed up or slow down—as needed.

More of a self-reflection post, but an anecdote most solopreneurs can do well to consider.

During my last month and a half since I joined Verusen (re-branded from AUTIT), I’ve been impressed by the opportunities afforded by the Atlanta Technology and Development Center (ATDC).

I never worked here, but I had visited ATDC in years past. It seemed like a real button-up, stodgy workplace. I can’t say that it’s completely not that. But what I have been most impressed with is the incredible network and companies who come through the center.

I’ve spent the last several years at Atlanta Tech Village (ATV). I was at ATV weeks after David Cummings bought the building in 2012. It was a place I had always wanted to be a member of before joining SalesWise in 2016. And indeed, it was a fun environment with lots of chances to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and startups. Culturally, it was a great environment. But ATDC taught me what was missing… opportunities to truly connect with big corporations. ATDC has been a fantastic resource for real contribution to pipeline opportunities.

When I say contribution to pipeline, this also depends on what a business is about. Namely, what is the market a business sells to. For Verusen, we are work with large organizations with complex supply chains. With Georgia Tech tied to the hip of ATDC and the vast number of innovation centers for Fortune 500 companies (i.e. AT&T, Delta, The Home Depot, etc.) in proximity, getting introductions to similar corporations is almost an every-week occurrence. This is far and away more than the introductions I had ever gotten at ATV despite being one of the well-funded companies in the building.

With ATDC, there are personnel whose charter is to cultivate relationships with businesses – bring them to the space to discuss innovation and meet resident companies. To date, we have had introductions to Daimler-Chrysler (Mercedes), Honeywell, United States Navy, Bosch Global, Delta, Georgia-Pacific, and many more. It’s surprising. The goal of most introductions (“industry connects”) is fast-tracking to proof of concepts (POC).

There are many factors to consider when selecting a space to work out of including rent cost, the ability to attract talent, and of course, the market a business serves. But for a B2B company, ATDC has been a powerful partner.

Back when I was more of a novice in startups, I would say a “cool environment” was important to me because that’s what startups were supposed to be about, right? Except, in the real-world, startups are businesses. They need to earn a keep to survive and to even have fun. As a more seasoned professional and entrepreneur, paths to revenue and profitability are so much more important to me. Just build a good culture within the company, not as a perk of an office.

I’m publishing a post on a Saturday. Again. Over the last seven posts including this one, I’ve only published twice on a Wednesday – the day I designated as my posting day. I’m struggling with consistency. This is the first time I’ve struggled like this over the 422 blog posts I’ve published since 2012. Since October 2013, I’ve been like clockwork publishing every week with a year or two publishing twice a week on the days I’ve designated. What’s going on??

A lot.

Of course, writing is not the only area where I’m struggling right now. Friends are wondering where I’ve been. And to some credit, I have been traveling. However, I’ve also been hard to track down digitally, as well. I’m not active right now. Period.

My new role at Verusen (we just re-branded from AUTIT) has me very busy. The culture is drastically different than my previous positions. We’re meeting-heavy. Those meetings last at least an hour. This is a departure from my former 30-minute meetings. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of working cultural differences I am assimilating to.

I’m in the process of selling my home. This has brought about new responsibilities and tasks including home repairs. Documented in a previous post, home repairs can be taxing and introduce unforeseen problems. Then, I’m also on the lookout for a home to buy.

Then, I have upcoming nuptials. Granted, my fiancée has been an absolute queen in this regard. She’s taken on most of the planning.

So, there’s a lot.

It comes down to instability.

In 2016, I wrote a piece “Finding Balance in Entrepreneurship and Life (Everything)”. I wrote about the positive aspects of having areas of stress – it motivates growth. I posited that based on UC Riverside’s Seven Dimensions of Wellness, I could thrive with 4 of the 7 being unstable. Looking at those seven in my current state:

  • Social – unstable. I have spent less time with friends recently in any form of communication. Family has been stable outside of also less communication. Though, I am starting my own family unit with my fiancée in two months.
  • Physical – unstable. I’m still recovering from my neck surgery. Unfortunately, I have been too eager to get back to my pre-injury fitness levels. I am introducing new stress to parts of my body that are not ready for that level, yet.
  • Occupational – unstable. I just joined Verusen. I’m still navigating the cultural differences on top of the challenges of an early-stage startup (read: the rest of building a business).
  • Spiritual – unstable. My peace and harmony in life comes from fulfilling my personal mission of “Changing lives for the greater through entrepreneurial endeavors”. However, I’m struggling with being an employee again rather than building my own company. This goes together with Occupation. It’s an existential question. To better align with and further my mission, is this where I should be?
  • Environmental – unstable. I’ve changed where I work. This forces my driving patterns to also change. Meanwhile, my home no longer feels like a home. I have no definitive plans of where I will live next.
  • Intellectual – stable. I’m learning a lot right now in almost every aspect of my life. Professionally, I’m absorbing a lot – new market, deeper in supply chain knowledge, new role, new challenges of a different early-stage startup, etc. I’m learning a lot of home selling. I’m traveling more including a trip to Tokyo this past week. This was a completely new city and country for me. It was amazing.  
  • Emotional – stable… mostly. That is, I’m not experiencing any rapid shifts in my mood. If anything, I’m realizing my stress. Then, I’m distancing myself from emotions. I’m being very direct in what needs to be done. And of course, I’m open to sharing what is happening like I am now.

As you can see, I’m grading my state as 5 out of 7 being unstable. This requires me to continually keep my emotional state in check. Otherwise, I could very well start a downward trend.

Most folks are healthy with three areas under some stress. Though I feel I thrive with four areas under stress, five areas is challenging me more than I thought.

This is temporary.

There’s a lot happening right now. A lot has happened since last year with the sale of Burner Rocket. Many things are coming to a head now.

I have lived in my home for almost 10 years. Once I move into my next home, I expect several years of stability there. And of course, I’ll have a great partner in my fiancée when that happens.

I have also adjusted my workout routines to ease up on my rehabilitation and general fitness programs. I’m maintaining the number of days I go to the gym including 5AM sessions. However, I switched one resistance workout to a pure stretch and foam roll session. My changes also increase the days of rest for body parts. And soon, I will be clear for contact sports like soccer. This has been a big missing piece for me.

On the work front, will be sorted out over the next couple months through results. This will reveal how well we work as a team and if I can add meaningful impact. That, of course, will then influence the Spiritual dimension. But as an early-stage company, this will be one dimension that remains unstable for good “growth paranoia”.

There’s a lot happening in my life, yes. There’s more instability than I ordinarily thrive on. My inconsistent blog publishing is a visible indicator of this. However, this is all temporary. I will find balance soon. Till then, I’ll remain open.

Side question: have you noticed any visible inconsistencies or anomalies in your life? In another? Why?  

Having an out-of-body experience helps entrepreneurs in the customer discovery process. It’s easy for people to get used to doing things they already do that they disregard the pain and suffering as a “fact-of-life”. You hear this often when folks recite, “it’s how we’ve always done it”. In this way, people have limited perspective on what is actually a painful or what can be done. People can be encouraged to have an “out-of-body” experience. They can envision watching themselves do work. See where’s pain. Where is there significant process?

In many cases, people “duck tape” solutions together. This is very common in the business world as people use spreadsheets as their silver bullet. Over time, they iterate on the spreadsheets to fit their needs until some threshold breaks. Then, there’s a need for a real solution.

The out-of-body experience is similar to the teaching from Timothy Gallwey’s Inner Game of Tennis. Gallwey talks about the revelation most folks have when they see themselves playing tennis. His tennis students quickly and correctly fix their forms – not by his coaching, but by seeing themselves swing their rackets in reflections.

The point of the out-of-body experience is to be a third-party to how one performs a task or lives the work day. It’s about separating the emotional element of being the person doing the work and the defense people build up. Then, being able to view one’s self as a bystander purely looking at the process. This is similar to what consultants do. They gather their insights from interviews and observations.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford famously depicted the very challenge he as an entrepreneur faced when people were not able to have that out-of-body experience. There’s equal parts having that out-of-body experience and the ability to think outside of the norm (dream up the automobile).

Do yourself a favor today, and have that out-of-body experience. Watch yourself as an observer. What do you notice?

This weekend, I had a repair company come by to fix a couple nagging issues around my house. The first issue is repairing some water damage in my bathroom. The second is repairing a part of my ceiling in the living room that is sagging and was hastily patched prior to me buying the home (~10 years ago). I’m selling my home soon, and I want to take care of these little issues so buyers can focus on the grander house and not on possible “problems”.

The repair man started work on the ceiling by starting to cut at the portion that was sagging. But as a chunk of the ceiling fell down, he stopped. He proceeded to call someone, and then scratched his head while staring intently at the hole now in my ceiling. After hanging up, he looked at me, and informed me that he and the company are unable to repair (let alone touch) plaster ceilings. Wow.

Now, there are a lot of things that make this experience a great teacher in many entrepreneurial and business thoughts. Here are five.

  1. I’m highly non-confrontational. This can be detrimental to conducting business. That is, I did not maintain a strict rubric of how well the repair on the bathroom was made. Instead, I simply wanted to move him along and get along with my day. I signed the payment and review on his phone while he stood in front of me. Had I received the invoice and review separately, I would have likely given a lower grade while provided minimal tip, if any. I never even asked the repairman to re-attempt cleaning the bathroom that he left untidy. As a personal review, I need to be able to speak to folks like the repair to deliver an experience better matched to my expectations, much like I do with subordinates.
  2. On the bathroom repair, I was slow to react to a small nuisance (a bathtub to which water would splash out constantly). That small nuisance kept happening and became a problem (the pooling water seeped tile grout and damaged the drywall behind. Now, it had be dealt with. I think about this like technical debt when an engineer knows code is shipped knowing there are limitations and flaws. But for the sake of speed (in my case, ease), the problem is ignored until it becomes a bigger problem. No matter what, though, the debt must be paid.
  3. If you’re the repair company, what do you do? That is, as a customer, I now no longer have a patched up sag in my ceiling. Now, I have a genuine hole. It’s a much worse state than before, and one that I can no longer ignore as I sell my house. Before, it would’ve been a discussion point during a home selling negotiation process. Now, it’s a show stopper. But as the repair company who does not offer any type of plaster services, what would you to help me now that my situation has been made worse?
  4. Now that there’s a hole in my ceiling, what’s the next best option? In Atlanta, older homes are commonly built with plaster – ceilings and walls – vs. drywall in buildings today. This means plaster service providers are becoming more niche (expensive when a provider is found). Meanwhile, with my goal of selling my home, I want to spend as little money as possible. So, what’s the play here? Much like in startups, there’s goal to grow fast. But that comes at a price. Sometimes, there’s a hurdle like a buying objection that requires the team to quickly adapt. There’s a new normal now. To address that objection or hurdle, what do the solution options look like? How do those solutions affect your primary goal (e.g. building a repeatable process, scalable product)?
  5. How do I learn from the experience with the first repair company and apply the lessons to finding a new service provider? Though the first repair company came highly recommended, how do I take what I’ve learned to also try to uncover things I don’t know. That is, what can impact the results of fixing the problem when I don’t know what I don’t know? How can I ask the right questions and confirm the next provider is capable when the first try was poor?

There’s a lot that can be learned in everyday happenings that can directly influence the ideology and execution of startups. It’s one of the reasons why for passionate entrepreneurs the lines between work and life are blurred.

Look for these lessons. They start to help you understand the gaps you’re in.

Complementing my last couple posts about my career path, I’ve held several job titles over the years that are not progressive. Heck, they’re in several different functional areas – sales, marketing, consulting / services, solutions / product manager. And usually, my job title reflected just a sliver of what I do.

A lot of folks move from company to company, job to job for progression in the job ladder. That can be:

  • Consultant > Senior Consultant > Project Manager > Senior Project Manager > Associate Partner > Partner, etc.
  • Sales Development Representative > Account Executive > Sales Development Manager > Enterprise Sales Manager > Director of Enterprise Sales > Vice President of Enterprise Sales, etc.

My path has been:

  • Consultant (IBM) > Consultant (Chainnovations) > Senior Consultant (Chainalytics) > Head of Business Development (Body Boss Fitness – co-founded) > Managing Partner (Five Points Digital – co-founded) > Head of Sales and Marketing (SalesWise) > Solutions Architect (Autit, current company)

Clearly, my roles at startups including my own has had an “inflation” of titles. My current role looks like a clear “demotion” if anything. And yes, if anything, it is.

However, what I’ve realized is that titles right now are meaningless. Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things sheds his thoughts on titles which are largely similar to mine. Though, he goes on to talk about why they matter including for employees’ career progression, for external recognition / structure of communication, etc. However, there is so much to be done at an early-stage startup, especially, that titles are fluid. The responsibilities can be focused in specific areas, but are still largely, fluid.

My role as a solutions architect is similar to that of a product manager but also with sales engineer responsibilities. I’m employee number 7, and I am one of the most seasoned in sales, marketing, and customer success – the growth roles of a startup. We also have no marketer at the moment. So, I’m the one building the website, the collateral, engaging the PR firm – being the one-man marketing band.

Going into the role and accepting the offer, I knew I had to role up my sleeves. THAT’S EXACTLY WHY I JOINED! I wanted to have a hand in more and to get sh!t done. My experience is less about having hoity toity titles and more about getting things done to accomplish the greater goal – to build a great company.

In a company where there are so few individuals, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of things to do both on a strategic, leadership realm as well as in the individual contributor, tactical realm. I’m good with that. And truth is, there will be attrition one way or another in an early-stage startup. At this point, not all hires are going to be the right fit for what needs to be done now. Not all hires are going to know how to execute without the support and clear focus of being in a large corporate environment. Roles and the job titles that go with them will be fluid. It’s best to focus on what needs to get done and build a great company. Being the Head of Business Development means nothing if the company is unsuccessful. Trust me. I know.

The other day, a real estate agent came by to look at my house. In my house, shoes come off and stay at the door. My real estate agent started taking off her shoes and noticed my extension collection of shoes.

“Are all of these your shoes?”

“Yup!”

I have about 14 pairs of shoes at the door. I realize that as a male, I buck the trend of most. Most of my shoes are function-specific, though. I have shoes for:

  • Running
  • Lawn/ yard work
  • Black formal
  • Sandals
  • Brown business
  • Soccer turfs
  • Soccer cleats
  • Everyday
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Etc.

I use specific shoes to help me be at my best. My running shoes, for example, are just for running. I’ve used shoes for running and “everyday”, and found my feet to be cramped or hurting after long runs before. Then, my hiking shoes are also for when I go up north with my girlfriend during the winter months and there’s snow on the ground. These shoes are waterproof and have traction for the outdoor trails — very different outsole required vs. normal street. My bike shoes are strictly used in tandem with my pedals on my mountain bike. My soccer cleats are, of course, for soccer on natural ground. My turf soccer shoes have a different sole to accommodate the turf fields I typically play on for some soccer leagues.

 

I’ve become a bit elitist in my shoes. It’s obviously an expensive way to live; though, each function-specific shoe lasts that much longer than having a general do-everything shoe. Sometimes, a general shoe just doesn’t work or could cause injury in a sport.

 

I mention this story because I’ve noticed a similar trend in my nomadic work life. I’m the typical mobile worker. I am at Starbucks this morning. There’s no plug nearby, so I’ve decided not to use my Microsoft Surface Pro, yet. It only has a battery life of 4-5 hours now, and I plan to be here for a while this Saturday morning. I’m using my iPad (non-Pro), my alternative portable device, to write this post and hammer out emails. I love having this device as I can take digital notes vs. the written notebooks in the past which, as an archive, is hard to review.

 

My iPad started out with 30% battery life. I noticed my phone only had 14% battery life. I plugged in my Anker external battery which has two USB ports — one for each of my iPad and my Galaxy S9. Now, my iPad is at 59% and my S9 is at 42%.

 

My Surface Pro is my preferred mobile driver as it’s hugely powerful and can do everything I want for multi-tasking to my heart’s (and brain’s) desire. But I love using my iPad for very focused, specific applications. My S9 is a diversion with limited professional application when my other devices are unavailable.

 

But at home, I also have a 2013 MacBook Pro. It’s very powerful as well. It’s hooked up to a 28” external monitor. It sits on a stand to elevate to eye level while Bluetooth Apple keyboard and trackpad give me added comfort. The other day, I had my Surface Pro connected to a 24” external monitor next to my MacBook workstation, and I had my iPad out to take notes. But for the most part when I’m home, I use my MacBook because it’s got everything set up for long-term comfort.

 

Thanks to cloud apps, I can do just about everything seamlessly. I save a file on my Surface Pro in my Google Drive while at the coffee shop and leave the device in my bag at home. At home, I can access the file on my MacBook Pro to continue working. I took notes earlier on my Microsoft OneNote on my iPad, and I need to remember what that was, so I pull up OneNote on my MacBook, too. They’re synced together!

 

I leave home for dinner. While waiting, a client writes me an email that I see on my Galaxy S9 via the Gmail app. I can retrieve the file I was working on via the Google Drive app. Oops, did I save the file on my Desktop and not on the Google Drive? No problem. I can access my MacBook Pro via remote desktop. I’ll just log in and drop the file into Google Drive now.

 

Meanwhile, I need access to a team account that I don’t have the password for directly. My teammate’s out for dinner as well. But wait, I can log in still because I can use my LastPass account that has shared account details for the team. I can log in!

 

Oh, and I still have a Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus ultrabook laptop from 2012. But because it’s an ultrabook, its internal organs are slowing down these days. So, I don’t use it much. It’s still next to my workstation at home anyways.

 

When it comes to having options, having flexibility, having the tools to do things better, costs can rise significantly. It makes us that much better than if we were to go the generalist route, doesn’t it? In this digital age, how much of that can I legitimately start cutting? I’ve added subscriptions to help keep my development code private. I am archiving more files in the Google cloud. Thus, I must continue paying for growing storage. I have services that keep my sites up and running like this one. Those costs will have to continue lest I give up sites and domains.

 

Costs are only rising. When I decide to build my next company, my personal burn rate will be higher. Should I take on another role full-time before my next venture? Will I be more comfortable with the new lifestyle? Will my desire for “more” and “better” handcuff me to a new, higher-cost normal?

 

This is what happens when I clear my head in the morning and ask the deeper questions. It gives me a chance to evaluate my direction.