happiness, Startups

All You Need Is Love

Maybe its the holiday season, but also when you are trying to build a company from scratch (for the second time) you remember all the things you wish you knew the first time around.

For a company to survive you need way more than love. Actually, what you need is a lot of money.  Ideally the company generating it in the form of revenue (not bleeding it in the form of investor cash).

But for humans, I’m of the opinion that it’s about love.  We humans can survive with a lot less money than love.  In fact, after a certain point, almost everyone across the charts would trade money for love.

I have a lot of love in my life.  I know this because of all the wonderful humans that took me in and helped me while I was down and out and I didn’t really have much and I hated everything ever.  And that makes me feel very wonderful.

But a lot of times when I’m in the midst of the whole building and running a company thing (and I”m like ahhhhh WTF this is scary and gross and what am I doing ahhhhhh), I forget about the fact that at the end of the day, I have one of the most important things I need to survive.  Love.  And lots of it from lots of people in lots of forms. And it’s amazing.

And I’m so grateful.  And honestly with that base, I can do anything. You can do anything. We can do anything.

It’s a very empowering feeling.


Life, Startups

You Can’t Be Angry And Grateful At The Same Time (Apparently)

I usually hate it when people say shit like this, but I get even more annoyed when I realize that it’s true.  I know because I tried. Being grateful instead of angry I mean.  And I am a much happier camper this week. This experiment started because well.. last week was le shit.  Something HAD to change (otherwise I would die of a heart attack at age 35, alone, in a ditch, with nobody around me except a stray dog- yes this is how I imagined my death if I stayed being Angry Anu all the time).  And I was soooo far gone that I literally had to watch YouTube Videos on “how to be grateful.”  Yes.  I know.  It’s like watching YouTube videos on how to breathe (but as I write this I’m like…oh wait…I TOTALLY WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS ON HOW TO BREATHE BECAUSE I JUST FOUND OUT I’M DOING IT WRONG!) Ok but that’s not the point.  Angry and grateful. FOCUS ANU. Ok I’m back.

I don’t know- I guess there’s not much more to it than that.  Actually, there is.  I figured out the other thing that was making me angry all the time.  I didn’t feel like I was getting enough time to get important work done.  And every entrepreneur I know is like…oh I work a billion hours a day and I don’t sleep.  And I’m like…fuuuuuck that.  If I don’t sleep I will murder people.  And I’ll be in prison. And I will die in prison because I definitely look like the weakest link, lets be real here.  So basically, no way I’m not sleeping.  I realized I just needed a few more hours a week to get some critical stuff done.  Literally just 3-4.  That’s 2 meetings + travel (if it’s in person).  So…I just said no to a few more work things this week.  Mostly meetings.  And of those meetings, 100% of them are either catching up or exploratory meetings with people other than my business partner or potential clients.  It’s amazing how many meetings you take that actually aren’t mission critical.  And that freed up a few more hours this week.  And now…I am finishing the ish that needs to get done.  And I feel DAMN good about it.

SO yeah.  I think the secret to sleeping while being an entrepreneur is actually…being a recluse.  In the business sense.  I don’t care if there is a potential collaboration down the line, or a media opportunity, or…whatever.  If you aren’t immediately relevant to me to ship ish, I’m going to push it for a few months.  I don’t think anything will die.  And I won’t murder people. I think that’s the win win.  NOBODY DIES.

So in conclusion folks, if nobody dies, that’s probably a win. For everyone involved.

Life, Startups

Sometimes I Have So Much Emotion I Don’t Know What To Do With It

And by emotion, I mostly mean the destructive sorts of emotions.  Like rage, frustration, anxiety.  You know. Those.  Sometimes I feel like I’m two different people- one part of me (the objective, logical side) looks at the other part and is like..whoa.  WHERE DID THAT COME FROM AND WTF ARE YOU DOING?! Today, case in point, I yelled at the ATM.  Literally yelled at it. Mostly because it’s a closed room (only me, the ATM, and a dog). And the dog can’t judge me.  Ok it can, but you know. Whatever.

To be honest, I think I underestimate myself and my ability to emote.  I have a lot of them.  Emotions I mean.  Usually they are the more decent ones (which is acceptable for the general public), but lately (and by lately I mean the last two weeks), it’s been you know.  The other ones.  The ones that nobody really wants to be on the receiving end of.  I try not to put animate objects on the receiving end of them.  Hopefully I’m somewhat successful.  We’ll see how many people hate my guts in the coming weeks.

Where is this all coming from? I think it’s coming from this archaic belief that I must be perfect at work.  Now that I’m getting this second chance, HOW AM I NOT BEING PERFECT YET?! And if I’m not perfect, God should smote me down.  That’s what one part of my brain is telling the other part of my brain.  And by telling I mean yelling.  And unfortunately, right now, the crazy side is winning.

I guess it’s a work in progress.  Hopefully with this second chance, I also learn how to not be a crazy person and enjoy life while also doing the thing I’m supposed to “love”.

Life, Startups

Getting Un-Broken

After you shatter your life to billions of tiny pieces, the only thing left is to start putting it back together.  One piece at a time.  Put one foot in front of the other and try not to fall.  If you don’t fall, it’s a good day.  Sometimes you have to re-learn how to walk.  Because turns out, you weren’t really walking very well the first time around.  More like limping kind of, but you didn’t know you were even doing it.  It’s like when you’re little and you’re so excited to learn how to crawl, and you’re so proud of yourself for learning how to crawl, but then you learn about this thing called walking and you’re like wait a minute.  WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE?! And then even if you fall when you’re walking it’s still way better than crawling? (Not that I remember what it felt like to be 2, but having observed some small children over the past few years I’m just annotating what I think is going through their heads.  Also there is no way to confirm or deny this so I’m going with the analogy).

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it, right?

It’s really hard not to get really mad at yourself though.  HOW IS THIS NOT FIGURED OUT YET? Oh yeah.  Because I broke this.  On purpose.  And on accident.  A purposeful accident.  Accident because you didn’t know what the end result would be.  But on purpose because what you had before just wasn’t cutting it and you were willing to take that leap of faith to say that the next thing has to be better than what I have now.  Kind of like the (almost) first blog post. Coming full circle.  I guess that’s what gives me faith to do it again.  I did this once before.  Almost 6 years ago.  And it worked out ok.  In fact, it worked out better than I could have imagined.  Not perfect, obviously, but what’s really perfect anyway? (Except George Clooney- I think he is the exception that proves the rule, I’m just saying).

I think I just need to give myself that last push off the ledge to go for it.  6 years ago was easier because guess what.  I didn’t have anything to lose (or if I did I wasn’t really thinking about it).  Being young and dumb has its perks.  I’m still dumb and young but not dumb enough to know nothing about what I’m doing this time around and exactly what I’m giving up.  There are pros and cons to this.  I think that means it’s harder to do it this time around, but I think chances of success are also significantly higher. Mostly because if there was a mistake, I’ve probably already made it.  At least the easy ones.  I’ve made a significant number of those.

Isn’t it weird to think of your life as a bunch of mistakes that you just feel less shitty about over time? That’s slightly depressing.  I feel like there’s a more poetic and less depressing way to say this, but I can’t think of it right now.  I’m definitely not at the point where I’m looking back at this time in life and saying oh, how cute.  That was definitely needed to do X, Y, and Z and I’m so glad I did it.  I’m still at the…oh lord please don’t let all hell break loose and yes I’m really really grateful for this second chance and all but please help me fuck up less this time or at least if I do please make it feel less like I’m going to DIE and more like…a paper-cut (still painful because I’m a baby and have no pain tolerance, but you know, if I have to be in SOME kind of pain, this is preferable- can you make a note of this please, should I send it to your secretary? Maybe email? Has Google reached you yet??).  K Thanks.

Love Anu.


Job, Life, Startups

Sometimes Things Get Better

Like if you hold your breath long enough sometimes things start falling into place.  Let me rephrase that.  If you work your ass off WHILE holding your breath long enough things start falling into place.

Rewind about 2.5 weeks ago.  I realized that I just wasn’t giving work my all.  I wasn’t.  I mean, on a to do list it looked ok but if I really asked myself if I was giving life my 100%, the answer was no.  Nobody else would have been able to say that.  Only me.  Because I know myself and I know what I am capable of doing. I knew I could do more.

And I also vowed this year to just stop lying to myself about shit.  I’m tired of it.  There’s no point.  In fact, that’s probably the thing that got me in the hot mess shit hole in the first place.  I mean, if I was honest with myself and just took stock of life a few years ago (hell, lets go ALL the way back to some 3-4 years ago) things could have been different. But until time travel is invented (which I’m SO down for), all that KIND of doesn’t matter.  So new beginnings, no more self lying.  And I’ve also decided that there’s nothing wrong with saying hey Anu. Guess what.  You know you can do better than this.  Sometimes you can’t.  And I’ve been there too. But that’s not where I was 2.5 weeks ago.  And I’ve been around the block enough now to know the difference.

So that’s when I found another gear and dialed into it.  Put it in motion. And you know what? Things started moving.  People who I was trying to connect with for MONTHS randomly contacted me back.  I was figuring out how to reach out to the World Bank and guess what.  They reached out to me.

I really believe that when you, deep down, figure that you can do better, and you actually dig deep to move- the world tries to help you back.  I’m a big believer in that.  Also, it kind of doesn’t matter what the end result of all this stuff is.  Maybe nothing will work out with any of the leads we are getting.  But at the end of the day, I just FEEL better.  I FEEL like I’m living up to my potential as a human being on this planet.  I FEEL like I’m moving in the right direction.

And I’ve realized that when your life is usually a chaotic hot mess, that feeling of creative fulfillment, is sometimes enough.

humor, Startups

The Difference Between Your First #Startup And Your Second One

I feel like I’m living that Luvs commercial: First kid, second kid.

Company Logo:

Startup #1:

$700 and 3 months later, we have a logo (which we change a year later)

Startup #2:

“Hey Devin, I think we need a company logo”

“Oh… yeah. Probably”

“Hey can we just use a glyphicon from the noun project?”

“Let me check..yeah.  We can”

$2 and 10 minutes later, we have a logo.

Company Website:

Startup #1:

$2000 and 2 months later we have a website (which we promptly change after 1 year)

Startup #2:

Code Academy Bootstrap Course: $7

Download Free Boostrap Template: Free99

$7 and 2 weeks later, we have a website.  




Life Goals, Startups

#BeastMode: Random Thoughts About Mindset

What’s the one thing that’s going to take me to the next level in my entrepreneurial career? Changing my mindset.  I need to learn to love the process.  Carol Dwek talks about this in her book, Mindset.  It’s pretty great, and the more podcasts I listen to, the more I’m convinced that’s what it takes to get me to where I want to go.

I’ve realized something interesting though.  This sort of mindset requires a lot of focus.  I also believe in the idea of deep work, Cal Newport’s catch phrase.  I think that’s where exercise comes in.  At least CrossFit.  I think if I use CrossFit training as actually a way to practice focus and discipline, I can see how that will help me be a better entrepreneur.  Because going for the sake of physical health is not really doing it for me.  I can be doing a lot of things that are not as intense as CrossFit, and not as demanding.

I have realized that greatness lies in the pushing of intellectual boundaries.  For example, right when I want to stop researching smart metering contracts, that’s when I want to push on for another hour.  That’s where the magic happens.  Because then I discover interesting things and have insights I never had before.  And that requires focus, and discipline.

So one of the habits I want to cultivate is to go to CrossFit 3 days a week.  Learn to not only be ok with the pain, but love it.  And really be present, focus, and get through that hour like a champ.  I’m going to do that for the next 3 months, see what happens.