Over the last few days, I’ve been overcome with the realization that in a lot of ways I am living my big dream. The dream that kept me up countless nights over the last several years and drove a lot of the decisions I made since graduating college.
That dream is simple: each and every day I get to work building awesome software with my best friend, Ben. I’m my own boss, able to pay myself a fair wage, and even employ a small team of great people who just love making stuff. I get to put my blood, sweat, and tears into something that I completely own and have the responsibility to care for.
The problem is, I find it very hard to sit back and actually enjoy it. It seems like there is never enough revenue, or never a good enough conversion rate. We always need more users, or more followers on Twitter. Our retention is never long enough.
The rat race never seems to end, and we are never satisfied.
Unfortunately, that means we never realize how good something is until it’s gone. I fear we might one day sell our company or make a poor fundraising decision that divides the team, and miss out on something that was truly, at its core, wonderful and special.
Ben and I have always had a core set of companies we look up to, including 37signals, Github, and Balsamiq Studios. While we have always been generally inspired by them, we never really understood why we look up to them so much. What was it about these companies that we just felt drawn to?
Then it hit me: these companies just plain love working with each other, and it shows.
When I think about where our company Drifty is headed, along with our product Codiqa, I get more excited about the opportunity to keep doing what I’m doing with the people I do it with for as long as possible, instead of selling the company and moving on (possibly a little bit richer).
There always seems to be a set of decisions we could make as we grow the company that appear initially as growth opportunities that could actually hurt us in the long run. A lot of our hesitation to chase fundraising or bring on additional major stackholders is due to this fear (however irrational or naive), along with the regret shown by those that have done it and had it backfire.
You can’t buy the magic you feel making awesome shit with your best friends. Not everyone gets to go to work and create their dreams with people they truly love.
If we don’t stop to smell the flowers, we might be missing the reason we love doing what we do. And if we don’t enjoy the journey, why do we even suffer through the trials?
Life is short. So much tragedy recently proves that. I have a hard time believing I will ever be so much happier than I am now that I neglect my life or dream job for money.
After all, it’s the people you love that make your life special. Enjoy them and take pleasure in being fully present in the moment.