On February 6, 2012, I left my job as a lawyer to co-found a start-up which aims to launch its first iOS application, “where to?”, in the middle of March.
Lawyers are, by their very nature, risk-averse people and I’ll readily admit that I was nervous, excited and scared to quit my job to do something so…original.
I’m going to use my blog for the next few months to write about the process I’m going through trying to start an iOS application. I’ll try to write about development, hardships, feelings and any other thought that pops into my head. Why am I doing this? Maybe its because I read “One L” before I went off to law school, and liked the idea that someone had logged their experience and shared it with others. Maybe I want to be able to recount the process I’m going through and my reactions/feelings to this process years from now. Maybe its because people are actually interested in how I’m doing this, and blogging is a great way to satisfy that (albeit limited) demand. Time will tell me why I’m doing this; right now, I only know I am.
I have very little technical background and I’ve only been doing this full-time for about two weeks, so keep that in mind when I say this is hard. As a lawyer, I was used to having to pay attention to detail and having to work long hours. I can unequivocally say that, not surprisingly, this is harder. First, it’s just hard to get into a routine. When I was a lawyer, I used to hit the gym every morning by 7:30 and be in my office with breakfast by 9:45. There was a routine, and it was routine. At the moment, I have no routine or structure. Sometimes I go to the gym after work, and sometimes before. Many times though, I don’t go at all. Why? Because I’m generally working as soon as I wake up and exhausted after work.
I’m sure a number of people think that I have no job, and don’t do anything productive during the day. My sister came to visit me earlier this week, and I think she was of that mind until she realized how much work my partner, Steve, and I actually do. While I do work fewer hours now than I did as an attorney, it’s because I can’t work as many hours.
Steve and I generally wake up and immediately start reviewing work that our graphic designer or programmers have produced. Since our graphic designer lives in Romania, we try to get him comments on any designs he has produced as early as possible in the morning, so we can go through numerous iterations of our graphic design features a day. Usually, we pass each other comments once or twice in the morning via email and then meet by 11 so that we can work alongside each other. The past few days, we’ve worked until about 7 or 8, which is certainly fewer hours that either of us put in as attorneys at our firms.
The reason we’re exhausted after work, though, is that we’re intensely focused while we are at work. I generally never check the news until we’ve finished working for the day. We’re constantly looking, commenting, thinking or discussing something about our application. We often think an idea we have is great, and talk about it for hours, only to realize that it’s not feasible or that it would take too long or cost too much to create/incorporate before launching our app. Sometimes we realize that we’ve overlooked an incredibly important concept our application needs, and start scrambling for a way to plug that huge gap. And sometimes, we’re just lost.
Trying to bring an original idea like “where to?” to fruition requires an incredible amount of creativity. I am in awe of the men that have walked before me and started their own companies based on a creative idea-thinking outside the box takes a lot of energy, drive, and self-motivation.
Brining an idea to fruition is also an emotional rollercoaster. There have been days that I’m incredibly motivated, think we have an amazing idea, feel like we’re incredibly productive and am really happy. There are also days when I’m dejected, realize that we can’t plug a hole in our application that I wish we could, find myself unable to focus, and feel depressed. The one constant, so far though, is that I am focused on work. When I’m at restaurants or meeting other people, I’m thinking about work. When I was at lunch with a friend on Friday, I wanted to run back to work because I realized we had a few pressing issues we needed to address. Work is hard, but I’m excited to get to it!