The Work Thing
I’ve spent just over two months developing an idea for a startup venture in the field of home automation. The plan was to build a prototype, then take it around to find investment capital and, assuming I got some, turn it into a completed product.
This was an especially risky (borderline insane) proposition for me on several fronts:
- I was rusty at coding.
- I don’t have any experience with consumer products, sales and marketing, manufacturing, or the industry in general.
- I have very little experience with electrical engineering, especially in RF (radio frequency).
All of this seemed fairly easy to overcome, though. And certainly, the first bullet has been. Coding every day for two months has me feeling pretty sharp again. The other stuff, I figured I could get help with when the time came.
Here’s the killer: I am nowhere near as far as I thought I’d be. While I have a basic driver application completed to control devices, I haven’t even started on the user interface yet. While I was pretty sure I would not have a complete prototype after two months, I thought I’d be farther along than this. Extrapolating from here, I’m at least another two months away, maybe three, from a decent demo. Even factoring in rust, lost time due to injury, and the horrifically bad documentation I got from the RF chip vendor—none of which should be a problem in the next phase— the realistic estimate is having something showable in mid-September.
I have some experience in raising capital, and even the most optimistic scenarios from there involve another couple of months of pounding the pavement, almost certainly including travel. The very best case scenario—never a good idea to plan to—would have me getting funded after the first of the year. That date happens to coincide pretty closely with when I’d run out of personal cash.
I’ve done the math, and I’ve done the soul searching, and here’s what it boils down to: if I really had passion for this project, I’d take that risk. But after a lot of late nights looking up at the ceiling, it occurs to me the passion isn’t really there. It’s no better or worse than my previous career. When I think of what my actual passions are and compare this effort (or my previous career) to them, there is no comparison.
Unfortunately for me, my passions don’t amount to any way to make the living I need to support my family. (Please, don’t try to convince me otherwise. I know me.) But that’s OK. I can still pursue them avidly in my extra time as I have done for years. I am comfortable with this decision.
So, moving ahead from here, I’m looking for a job, and I’m doing so with a fair amount of enthusiasm. I don’t feel any regret about the decisions that have taken me to this point. I got to spend most of the school year working at home and spending a lot of time with the kids…a huge bonus. I learned an awful lot. I got my nerd skills refreshed. I decompressed fully from the stress of my previous job. It’s time. I’m ready. Here we go.
Follow-ups to The Work Thing
- Thank you. What a supportive bunch. <3
- I’m reluctant to link that post from FB for reasons I can’t articulate, possibly related to the previous bullet and fundamental differences between here and there.
- I probably need to spend some quality time on LinkedIn to freshen that up. Be my friend or buddy or comrade or whatever they call it there, if you want.
- I am going to keep developing my home automation application. Might as well. But I have some TODO items around the house that I am going to get after, too. Maybe a 50/50 split.
- Not wasting any time, I have my first phone screen tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure it’s a fit, but you never know. It will be good to shake off some of that rust, too.
7 networking and job pitch emails I have actually sent -- word for word -- that helped get my foot in the door
I know networking is gross and soul killing so that’s why I’m giving you a bunch of emails I’ve actually sent that have worked that you can steal from and copy! Have fun: w.xojane.com/14GdhAz