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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. Revealing my inner-poet. 2X Founder: Conversio (acquired by Campaign Monitor) + WooCommerce (acquired by Automattic). Ex-Rockstar.

The Tortoise finds clarity (and still finishes the race)

We're all familiar with the fable of the tortoise & the hare. I've learnt something new about this, my life and ambition in the last ten days.

Today is the one month anniversary since I moved into a non-executive role at WooThemes to work on my new startup (and baby), PublicBeta. In this time, I've been working hard and pushing myself to launching / releasing as quickly as possible. At times it's felt like this mad dash down a rabbit-hole, which only serves to fire up those endorphins that comes from being on such entrepreneurial rollercoaster.

My biggest challenge in the last month has been that I travelled up to London for a week (PublicBeta will be based there; so I had to wrap up administrative stuff), which meant I wasn't as productive as I would've been in the office at home. I also had a 10-day, second honeymoon pre-booked to the East with my wife, which eliminated the last third of my first month working on my new startup.

So whilst I still managed to make some great progress (more on that later this week), I'm further away from launching than I would've liked to be.

Spending the last ten days in Thailand though, has given me a sense of calmness and clarity about the way forward.

See, this trip is the first ever that I actually relaxed. On some days, I wasn't even a tourist; I would just laze by the pool, grab a nap and then move back to the pool. Not very daunting at all.

I even managed not to think about business too much. And this is the first trip ever that my wife spoke more about her business than I did about mine. :)

When I did however think about PublicBeta, I tried to figure out what the first week or two would look like when I get back home. And especially how that roadmap relates to shipping something & getting closer to launch.

It's within those thoughts (along with being well-rested), that I was reminded about Dan Shipper's recent post. Why was I in such a rush?

Here's some context to my situation:

  • I'm self-funding PublicBeta from personal savings. I'm bootstrapping, I'm being lean and I've capped my investment. So I fully control my runway.
  • I'm still earning a (reduced) salary for my non-executive role at Woo.
  • I don't believe PublicBeta to be in a space where the opportunity will vanish in 6 months. Speed thus isn't a competitve advantage.

So any deadline I impose is only my own. And I don't need to rush.

I can be the tortoise.

It's within that mindset (once I made the decision to take things slow), that I found some clarity:

  • I've conceptualized a sequential roadmap for the way forward. Instead of an "all-in" approach immediately, every action will be a building block to the next.

  • I need to focus on only the important things and I need to be better at prioritizing tasks and opportunities. This was something I used to great effect at Woo.

  • Since PublicBeta is just me (for now), I'm doing everything. I should take this opportunity to learn new skills and try new approaches. This should be a reminder that I am in permanent, public beta myself and all of this is aimed at being a better Adii tomorrow.

  • I need to stop, take a breathe, reflect and take it all in. Just because I'm doing this startup thing again, it doesn't have to feel robotic. I can have new experiences, make new mistakes and learn new things.

It's with this kind of clarity that I can see myself finishing my race, without having to rush forward every minute of every day.

(Excuse any typo's; they're the result of using an iPad Mini to type this post.)

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