A day in the life of a start-up junkie

Today I had a lot of time to think.

Let me clarify before I go forward that this is not my normal day. In fact, the last few days are like a blur. All I remember is rush from one deadline to another and I failed in every promise I meant to keep.

But today was a quiet day. In the journey of an entrepreneur, who is desperate to turn from red to green (or any shade in between for that matter) a quiet day can be as torturous as a busy day.

The day started with the news of the demise our beloved ex-president Bharatratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. I woke up and decided to hold a meeting to discuss the great man and his legacy and observe a 2-min silence as a sign of respect. That is the best thing about running a start up. You make up your mind and make the rules as you go. No need for meetings, logistics or brain storming sessions.

The next item on my list was to check my emails. We had sent through 3 proposals to prospects in the last few days and I couldn’t wait to hear from them. But there were no emails from them.

“Well, the day is just starting”, I thought as I sent the next proposal through for another opportunity. (I have a lot of hopes on this one)

Then, my usual round of chatting with the team and seeing where they are and if they need any support. This is the other side of running a start up. Things get so dynamic and you are usually operating on a shoe string process infrastructure that you need to be available – physically, or at least mentally. As scary as it is, the buck stops with you. So there are really no excuses not to show up and take the time to interact, which is actually a bit of effort for me as in the core, I am an introvert. I have to push myself every time I have to interact with people. But once I start, I really enjoy it.

One of the chats evolved into an interesting discussion on data confidentiality and sensitivity and how it means different things to different stakeholders. We talked about how Google employees started sharing their salaries in a shared spreadsheet in an effort to facilitate a more transparent compensation negotiation. (Hearsay – I personally haven’t checked out this story)

Back to reality. My insfrastructure team has people bandwidth issues with one person on planned leave and another one on unplanned leave. Well, the team size is 3, to give you some perspective. Lol. I discuss and make plans.

I hold my breath as I take another look at my emails. Nope – no new emails yet.

Well, I could use the time for planning and to complete those tasks I had earlier deemed as not high priority. As I start one of my girls walked up to me with tears in her eyes. She needed to vent out her family woes. Just like men bond over a smoke, we girls bond over such sessions. There is never a dearth of family situations to push us over the edge.

Almost lunch time and I get the pending emails out. But unfortunately emails don’t necessarily beget emails – the responses I am expecting are still missing.

Another dose of reality. One of the senior guys in the team wants to quit. Losing people never gets easier irrespective of how many times you go through it. I discuss his reasons and options with him.

And then my world of options open up. I think. I think of all the blogs I could write, the website enhancements we need to get to, people we should connect with and make a list, stowing it away for the next quiet day.

By then, it is time to leave. Not that I want to. We have a wonderful team of people working with us. They are brilliant, committed and energetic. I could just sit here all day absorbing all the energy and be lost in interactions. But then I am also a Mom and a daughter-in-law wo needs to be home for the other side of my life.

I check my email once again and the count remains the same. Looks like my contacts did not have a quiet day. Or may be they are taking the day off to mourn. Whatever it may be, tomorrow is another day. 


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