Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Blog and Decisions

So some of you have asked me why I still continue to post on this blog while I now have a blog on CoNotes. Well I plan on continuing this blog with the original intent of tracking my personal story of starting a company. While I have been inconsistent with my posts, I hope to improve upon that. The CoNotes blog will be the company's voice to the public - even though it still is from me. So that blog will relate to decisions about CoNotes and having conversations around CoNotes.

CoNotes is and will be a big part of my life, but I think it will be healthy for me to (at least in the virtual world) put some distance between my personal life and my "business" life. So this blog is merely my statement of what I am going through as the founder of a startup.

So that is a great segway into this post about...


So last night Kellogg had its last school-wide formal for the year and it was Casino Night. For the most part, it was a typical charity event and attendees were able to use their chips to bid on several prizes at the end of the night. I don't really get too excited to gamble because I usually lose money, and given that this event was "fake" money, I was even less excited. Nevertheless, I played some blackjack and I began to bet recklessly. I started playing all my chips -- spread out over 2 or 3 seats. I began lucky and my original 50 chips soon became 500. But then I continued to play in this out-of-control manner and as anyone could predict, I was out of chips in no time. Losing these chips didn't really bother me, but my reaction to my losses did. Even though I knew the chips were just "play chips," I hated the thought that I just squandered them. I wanted to play more just to win them back. I used my girlfriend's chips and lost those. Worse yet, I cheated by holding back some chips that the dealer should have collected. I justified this as being ok because I knew many dealers (which were fellow students) were giving out chips to friends.

As I think about what I did, I am pretty disgusted with myself. And then I think about what it says about me and what I will do in the future. Will I be willing to act irrationally and unethically just for small, meaningless gains? What does this mean about how I will lead my company?

A lot of people have told me that me decision to start a company is a big gamble. I never thought so for several reasons.
  1. I am learning a great deal about the internet space and how to operate in it. The decisions I make for CoNotes are my responsibility. I believe I am and will learn much more than if I were in a larger company, where my decisions would need to be ratified by higher-ups.
  2. I believe I can get a decent paying job anytime I want. I don't think I can get ANY job, but I can get a job that pays well.
  3. Most importantly ...You can't price the difference between doing something you marginally like versus something you love. The cost of being stuck in a marginal job is huge for me. Therefore, while I am losing out on guaranteed salary, I believe it is a smaller cost than being stuck in an unfulfilling job.

But in light of my actions last night, I worry that I am just completely irrational. Maybe I don't really know what I am risking and that really scares me.

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