Reflections on Startup life: Week 49

For this weeks blog post there are three things on the top of my mind.

  • Being passionate.
  • The value of time.
  • Reframing

Being Passionate

I received sad news last week. A very close friend (we were best man at each others weddings) who was in his very early forties passed away suddenly in his sleep, leaving behind his wife and three kids.

Aside from all the obvious feelings of shock and sadness, his wife and I had a conversation that really made me think. It turns out that Chris and I spent a lot of time talking ABOUT each other, reminiscing, thinking of the days gone by at University and so forth, and yet we never talked TO each other.

Life happened and kind of got in the way.

You know, that’s OK — we were passionately getting on with the things in front of us. Giving our time to our careers, our family, our new friends that live nearby. I know Chris was a much loved person in his community.

But I still get left with the nagging feeling that somewhere in there should have been a little bit of room to pick up the phone and give him a call and say “hi”. I regret now that I didn’t — there’s room to be passionate on many levels. I’m trying this week to pick up the phone and say hi to a few old friends and let them know I’m still thinking of them, even if life does have a habit of getting in the way.

The Value of Time

You’re in a startup, you’re your own boss and no one is telling you what to do. So you can take time off right?

It comes down to Time Vs. Money. Naturally we haven’t got much on the dollar front (we wouldn’t be a startup if we did), so all we have is Time. Time is more precious than ever before in a startup as it’s most likely the only commodity you do have.

When you’ve got money you can make time (fly instead of drive), but when all you’ve got is time, you can’t make any more of it.

As we progress, time gets more and more valuable not less because there is more and more we need to do to succeed, yet we can’t “make it happen with money” yet.


Alex and I have had an ongoing discussion about features for a new product idea. It turns out that we were asking the wrong question.

By re-framing the question we were able to see that it was actually the concerns about the underlying issue which were the problem, not what we really discussing.

Root cause analysis is really key here — there are a lots of great techniques (5 why’s is a good one) that help uncover this type of problem. We should of tried that sooner. Sometimes you need to step back from the discussion and ask yourself if you can ask this question a different way. In my experience it works well, helps break the deadlock and usually lets you move forward.