Built to Last

I still remember what I wrote in my college entrance essay- I want to build things that withstand the test of time.  At that moment, I was sure the realization of that dream was to become a civil engineer, and be a part of the creation process of civil structures. Pretty soon afterwards, that dream was crushed (no way in hell I was going to be getting into a building I designed or constructed, mostly because I value my life and I don’t want to die).

But that’s what I love now about my job.  I love building companies.  From the ground up.  Literally from scratch.  Building a company that withstands the test of time and eventually moves to the echelons of greatness. And I know that’s not what entrepreneurs are supposed to say. They’re supposed to say they love technology (usually using the words disruption and innovation), or being passionate about solving a problem, or making a crap ton of money, or I don’t know.  Something else investors like to hear.  Or the media likes to hear.  And it’s not that all of those aren’t true, because they are.  But for me, what gets me up in the morning is thinking about where this company is going- how are we rethinking what the company of the future looks like? The company ruled by knowledge workers and smart creatives? What does that look like? What does that feel like?  Because that’s where I think we have a lot of room to innovate. Company culture and structure has pretty much stayed the same since we were manufacturers working on assembly lines with little to no automation. HOW is it possible that the same company structure works today?

And if you think about it, you spend most of your waking hours at work.  Which translates to the fact that you spend most of your life at work- literally.  (Just count the hours).  So wouldn’t it be the thing that impacts your life the most?  How do I want it to impact me?  How do I want it to impact the people I work with? What boundaries can we push today to be just crazy enough to be doable?  How can we change the way companies function over the next 100 years, and impact generations to come?

I don’t really know what my future looks like, but because I am morbid and I read it in a book (so obviously it must be a good idea), I thought about what I wanted people to remember me by. I have a lot of thoughts on the personal front, but the only thing I want to read on the professional side is this:

Anu Sridharan: a woman who co-founded one of the greatest companies of all time.

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