Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Learning to trust my instincts

Right after I wrote my last blog post a month ago, I immediately was thinking about making the next one about trusting my instincts, only I was unable to get to it until now, being too busy doing a masonry restoration project that was quite demanding — I still have to do some of those in order to subsidize Preacquaint.com
Furthermore, I wasn’t quite sure how to articulate it.
In the meanwhile, Mark Suster came out with a blog post of his own that proverbially took the words right out of my mouth, and said it better than I would have been able to.
He laid in out in four steps:
1- Triangulate
2- Draw from frameworks
3- Think critically about your situation
4- In the end go with your gut
I’ve intuitively followed that sequence, but in the reverse order.
As I’ve explained in earlier posts, I decided to transition from being a mason to being a technologist in 2010 even though I have no background or schooling in IT, software development, computer science, etc.
But my gut was telling me that I can do it. And there were many aspects of my thought process, vision and strategy that felt like common sense to me and felt right, but on a “strictly-reasoning” basis, I had no idea whether I was way off or not.
I was trying to think critically about my situation, but couldn’t, as there was a massive gap in my knowledge base.
I then proceeded to tackle the learning curve I needed to overcome, as described in my last blog post, dating August 10, 2014. What I was essentially doing there was drawing from many different frameworks, to put it in the context of Mark’s post.
In the end, this process has allowed me to do this “thing” that I was doing but couldn’t quite define: I was “triangulating”’ based on the many reference points I had accumulated in four years of non-stop reading, listening to podcasts, attending startup events, etc. So I find Mark’s metaphor perfect, actually.
My initial confidence and naivety got shattered as I started to experience how hard startups are — especially when reading Ben Howowitz’s book and other hard advice aimed at technical founders by Paul Graham, et al.
Many times I have felt stupid, foolish, inadequate and delusional for even attempting to do a tech startup as a non-technical solo founder. “Filled with self-doubt” would be an understatement. I certainly had to come face-to-face with my inner self on more than one occasion and ask myself a few hard questions.
But in the process leading to triangulation and back down the sequence to trusting my gut, I’ve been able to build a new confidence, based on systematically-acquired knowledge, and I seem to have managed to retain whatever bit of courage / morale I seem to have had all along :-)
Thanks Mark for laying it out so clearly.

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