This is my first little personal startup! I’m at the time in my life when many of my friends are busy creating weddings and babies, and as my Facebook wall gets flooded with baby photos and wedding pictures more and more each day, I’m beginning to feel quite left out. So, I decided to create something of my own.
Just kidding. There were actual legitimate reasons why I started this website. Although this makes no money, I started it to create value for myself and my readers.
1. I Had a Paradigm Shift
Up to a few months ago, I’ve always associated myself with institutions, like the schools I went to and the companies I worked for. Typically, the more prestigious and well-known the institution, the better I felt about myself. But I suddenly realized how often and how easily this caused anxiety and provoked identity crises and feelings of failure. More importantly, it causes me to shortchange my life in the long term by missing high-leverage learning and growing opportunities that don’t sound good at the start, or to go for opportunities that sound good, but which don’t align with my personal goals and interests.
After my paradigm shift, I decided to start a personal website to take stock of and build up some skills, experiences and thoughts that would be independent of any institution – my “soft assets”, as Reid Hoffman calls them in The Startup of You. I’ve always felt that life is a result of intentional habits in everyday life, that we are what we repeatedly do. I’d like to build up the habit of thinking about myself in terms of the skills I have and the amount of value I can create and bring, instead of which institution I work for.
2. The Habit of Creating
Another habit I want to build is the habit of creating. I’ve read more than 30 books in the last 2 years since I left banking, out of which about half are about startups or written by famous people in tech. I’ve come away with a much richer view of the industry, and in many instances, these books have changed the way I thought about my approach to life and my career. I’d like to transition from mere consumption to creating things that people would find useful as well.
A while ago, I read my friend Michelle’s blog post on how to build this habit. This website is my baby step, starting with capitalizing on my “soft assets” to create content that adds value to other people’s lives. I also hope that this habit will lead me to create more and more things that people want.
3. Learning How to Build a Website
Rather than just going on blogspot or tumblr to start a simple blog, I’ve spent many hours wrangling with my dashboard to build this website of my own design. I did this because I wanted to learn every practical execution detail about SEO, keyword optimization, how to drive traffic to the site, Google Analytics & Webmaster, UIUX, creating what Eric Ries calls MVPs and then finetuning that, internet marketing, social media, and video and photo editing. I’ve found Derek Gehl to be a huge resource in this regard. Last year, I signed up for his amazing internet marketing course, and this website is the project I’ve created to keep me engaged through practical execution. Although I don’t have a startup idea right now, instead of sitting around waiting for the idea to fall out of the sky, I figured this would help me to hit the ground running when and if an idea comes to me, and maybe even inspire some new ideas!
I also enjoy doing this because what drives me in my daily work is having a good mix of both analysis and execution. I like combining my analytical skills such as working with data and big-picture strategy, together with my execution skills such as practical problem-solving, creating, and just generally, getting things done. In my current role as a tech investor, I tend to do a disproportionate amount of analysis. This is my way of balancing things out a little.
4. To Help Others Get to Know Me
This is also, at the end of the day, a website about me! I’ll be sharing some of the travel stories that I’ve found to always fascinate my friends, and some of my thoughts around tech, that I think would help anyone interested in either treating their life and career as a startup, or to learn more about the tech industry in general in today’s Computer Age.
Have you had a paradigm shift that’s led you to create something unique? What are some of the “soft assets” you would like to capitalize on?