Saturday, April 6, 2019

Colorado Startup Life: Weeks 20 to 30

January 27th to April 6th... sorry I haven't blogged in awhile. In February I was busy skiing, running and indoor rock climbing. When 7:30 PM on a weekday night came, instead of walking over to the local Starbucks in 20 degree Fahrenheit weather to write a blog post, I stayed in my apartment without wifi. And for the last four weeks I've been in an air cast with two broken bones and two moderately torn ligaments, so I have not been going out at night.

What happened? I've had some stress at work. Not a lot. Not nearly as much as I had at times in my previous job. The kind of stress that raises me to do a good job, to double check my work, that humbles me, and relaxed me when it eventually subsides, as it has in the past two weeks.

Our company fired it's first person. He's a great guy. He was only with us for about a month. We aim to be people that "lead from the front" and my understanding is that he just wasn't the right kind of great at his job that we hoped. It was a bit of shock to most people, and morale definitely suffered. It's instigated a larger conversation about what our culture is, and what we want it to be. And it's started a dark joke (for me as a man) that we're going to fire all the men and hire all women.

I've started interviewing people. I love it! I've interviewed six people I think one on one. I love it because I think I can learn something from everyone, so I try in my little 30 minute interviews to learn something from each person that we can use in our company, whether we hire them or not. Also, I've found a fair amount of the time that I would enjoy working with the person, but the person is not the right fit for the role or the company at this time. I have pretty high standards. Ideally you would only hire people better than yourself, and frankly, everyone I have voted we hire, appear to be able to do their future jobs excellently, and are better than me.

I think hiring is the single most important thing that we do as a company, it will either make or break us. It can turn us into a ten, or a seven or a a twelve by how employees rate the company. You don't want to be the seven because you don't attract as high of quality candidates and you don't want to be the twelve because then on a conference call a person might not realize he is not on mute and say, "I'm going to kill myself." Which is both a true story from a 200 person conference call, and a saying that was typical at that company, which former employees say was not well addressed by management. Quick tangent, I never applied to MIT, in part because it has a suicide rate. I can take things really hard sometimes, and I don't, or didn't, want to put myself in a situation where suicide was a thing that happened. Instead WPI was a great choice for me. At the time the marketing slogan was, "The university of science and technology. And life." We made fun of the "And life" all the time. However, people would agree that there was in fact support for us and our mental health. At the time WPI had something like 16 years or 24 years or some long stretch of time without a suicide of a student. As far as I know they still have not not had one, although there were two deaths while I was there, one pedestrian hit by a car and I forget the cause of the other, I think it was cancer or another medical tragedy.

My company has also been ramping toward our first full power customer deliveries, and frankly, we're not ready to deliver a full power product to the customer. So there is a little stress as we fix the bugs and optimize the system with looming deadlines. But again, it's a pleasant level of stress. We haven't missed a customer required deadline yet, and still have months before we might possibly. Then we currently have a bit of a slow 2019 for deliveries, so we will likely be able to iron out more hiccups as production slowly ramps up. Plus, I work with a great team! We really have some of the best in the industry and I am confident we will deliver. If I have any specific unique skill at our company, it's that I can deliver. When it comes to getting a product to a production state I've been through the wringer, and seen several different types of programs. I've been through four different production launches, three quite small, sub million dollar programs with less than 40 new parts, and one $150 million program with something like 5000 parts. I've also been early design stage on two $2-10 million programs with 100-500 new parts at my previous company, which would be where our two current projects are in terms of part count.

Running was going well, until I broke my leg and partly tore my ligaments. I'm hoping to be able to run again in late May, and walk without a cane in late April. I think that my focus athletically for the rest of the year will be becoming healthy and strong, by summiting the 26 remaining 14ers I have left, rock climbing a couple long technical routes, and taking a go at Nolan's 14 for the third time.

Skiing, I made eight resort days with my Ikon base pass, and eight backcountry days, and one cross country skiing day. I'm hoping to get out on a lift one more day before all the resorts close, simply so that I am not afraid of skiing next season. Of course, worst cast scenario, I simply hike up a snowfield in June and ski 500 feet.

Dating... For years I'd said I have three requirements, in order:

  1. We are on the same page with our Christian faith, and eventually worship at the same alter.
  2. She has a healthy lifestyle. 
  3. We are intellectually compatible. 
So what happens after I meet a person that meets those requirements, but I don't feel captivated and infatuated? So far my solution is keep seeing her, but not be in a rush to make babies with her. My motivation to date goes up and down. I've had a few thoughts recently that maybe I really want a great climbing and running partner more than I want a romantic partner. Probably not what I really want, but it has gone through my head. Plus it's a false dichotomy, it's not one or the other, I can possibly have both.

I hope your life is going well, and again someone feel free to post this to my Facebook wall as I haven't logged onto Facebook in 2019 and might go the whole year without using that data promiscuous company.

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