Time is a precious commodity. I would say that busy people realise how valuable and finite time really is. There’s so much to do in a startup that it makes you hyper-acute of every hour of every day.
I’ve felt like I’ve been “through the looking glass” for quite some time now. In my previous lives as a medical student and then as a junior doctor I often felt that I was detached from society due to erratic shift work and chronic sleep deprivation. I would sometimes observe normal people going about their regular day and think to myself “what do they do with all that off time?!”.
Since starting my startup, I’ve now started to think this way about other doctors as well. Now that we’re all “Senior Physicians” we have a lot more free time than we did as junior doctors. I’m busier than I have ever been and most of my colleagues are now starting to tone down their work schedule and get on with doing normal “life things”. Some of them are moving into larger houses, or getting their kitchens redecorated. These are things which you’re expected to do once you make it to seniority and have more money coming in.
A lot of the doctors I know are interested in my startup and they seem wistful that they haven’t done something similar. I always explain that I am not special by any means and that anyone can do what I am doing. However, I think most people don’t like to accept this. Most people tend to have the same attitude to doing something big with their lives as they do with fitness – they have the “some day I’ll do it” attitude. Usually people only come to understand that it’s too late when their in their 60’s, tied down with loads of liabilities and have diabetes before they realise that their opportunities in life have passed them by.
What I find interesting is how effort is created equal. The effort it takes to get fit or to start a business is the same raw effort it takes to organise a party, redecorate the kitchen or buy a new house. It’s difficult to say why more people don’t take control of their lives and accomplish that big dream of theirs. I suspect there are a myriad of reasons why people don’t, just like how people give a myriad of reasons to not exercise and get fit.
“Effort is equal” has become a bit of a mantra in my mind and it’s steered my startup correctly so far. There are a ton of decisions to make in a startup and there have been days when we have restructured the revenue model two or three times! But when it comes to decisions about the direction of the company we’ve noticed that it’s often best to pick the harder option.
If effort is equal as we believe it is, then you might as well pick the perceived harder option, because it will be just as hard to accomplish as the perceived easier option. We’ve realised that not only is effort equal, but very few companies pick the “harder” option to execute on. Whenever we pick the harder option it puts us in a category of our own and this results in less and less competition. This has resulted in our product being completely unique in the market place. Because we’ve had the guts to go big and tackle larger problems – problems that other companies have been too afraid to go near in fear of failure – we’re getting more and more momentum.