Raising a baby vs raising a startup

A friend of mine recently asked, “What do you find the same about raising a baby and building a company?” To be honest, the question caught me off guard. It felt like a question I should easily be able to answer, but I kept struggling to come up with a decent response. Each is a time sink and will destroy your sleep, but saying “you get busy” or “they’re both hard” felt like lousy responses.

There is definitely a process of learning involved in both fatherhood and entrepreneurship, but to me, they are still very different. Figuring out what works for your child takes a bit of trial-and-error, but the general practices are well known and eventually things fall into place — even if it means having to try over and over, or waiting until your baby gets older and matures. Our first child has been a crazy challenge, but given that we as humans owe our entire existence to cave people, I’d say that parenting is still a relatively intuitive practice and hard to completely screw up.

Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, does not come quite as naturally. It’s a process of learning that requires you to challenge, and potentially disregard, what you thought you knew. You have to question everything, and you’ll often find yourself on a lonely island on which everybody is questioning you. Even with the right methodology, knowledge, and passion, you might just be at the wrong place at the wrong time. In other words: babies generally grow and thrive regardless of parenting styles, whereas startups tend to fail even when led by strong entrepreneurs.

Reflecting back on my friend’s question, I realize now that maybe I was too caught up in the mechanics. Yes, progress might not come as automatically with a startup as it does with a baby that is naturally growing, but there is a way in which the two are very similar: it’s the manner in which you approach them. Here’s the best way I can figure out how to say it:

Raising a baby and raising a startup both require making difficult sacrifices in order to enrich your life in a way that would otherwise not be possible.

Having a baby changes everything. We barely sleep, go weeks without watching TV, and generally can’t do anything on a whim anymore. It requires constantly putting someone else ahead of our own selfish desires. Yet, it’s completely worth it. There is a type of love, and a part of life, that I never knew existed until we had Dilan. And I can no longer imagine life without him.

Similarly, quitting a good job to start a company can be a a brutally challenging experience. It’s the act of trying to create something out of nothing, and there are a million ways you can fail. It’s the choice to be continually uncomfortable. I really believe it is the hardest thing I could have chosen to do. Yet, it’s also incredibly fulfilling. It gives me a tremendous sense of purpose and satisfaction. And I can not imagine spending my life doing anything else.

When I think about this way, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to answer my friend’s question.

How to hire an intern for your startup

The first two “hires” for my company were two part-time interns. I was drowning in responsibilities as a one-man-show, and one of my advisors told me, “Stop trying to do everything yourself. Just hire an intern for your startup.” So I did. I remember posting the position and being blown away with 40 resumes within the first day. I was even able to hire my top two candidates. Sounds like #winning, eh?

In reality, I was successful at hiring those interns but did a fairly poor job at orchestrating the actual internship. We’re now on our fifth intern in the past two years, so I thought I’d share some tips to consider when you think you want to hire an intern for your startup.

Tip #1: Don’t hire for an internship. Hire for a project.

More than anything, here is where is I screwed up those first two internships. It’s really tempting to have a smart, cheap, and eager resource willing to help on anything and everything you might throw their way. Don’t be fooled. If you are in a strtup, chances are that you are way too busy to come up with new tasks and projects on a continual basis. You might think that you can hire a intern for your startup to take on all of the stuff you can’t get to, but what you are really doing is just trading work. You’ll spend substantial amounts of time dictating those tasks to them and reviewing the results. It’s also likely that “come up with new stuff for the intern” will keep falling to the bottom of your TODO list, which really ruins the experience for both you and them.

I fell in this trap with those first two internships, and once again with one of our subsequent internships. The internships were not a waste by any means: all three of those interns made huge contributions, and I believe they gained a lot from the experience as well. It was just kinda painful.

The better approach is to come up with a mid-sized project that will last about 6 weeks and can easily be handed off to someone else. Ideally this project will have some high-level goals and requirements, and can be broken down into several sub-projects and tasks. This allows you to invest some time up-front and them mostly guide and delegate the rest of the way. As the intern makes progress, the next set of tasks and projects naturally become obvious. Why 6 weeks? Hey, if you can run about that long with one project, it’s easy to stretch it a few more weeks and end your brilliant, industry-standard “two month internship”.

In fact, I’ve decided that the only time we are going to hire an intern moving forward is when we can identify such a project. It makes sense when you think about it: let the work dictate the need for an internship, rather than the other way around. Starting with a project focus is also critical in determining the exact skill-set you want your intern to possess when you are recruiting.

Tip #2: Poke the career center for an email blast.

Assuming that you are hiring interns from local colleges and universities, it’s extremely helpful to have a contact at the respective career centers. We have some great schools in the Triangle but I particularly have great luck working with UNC. The key is to go one-step beyond just posting the job on the online career center. After the job is posted, reach out to your contact and ask them to email blast the student body. The resumes will start rolling in if the career center is willing to put your job posting in every (applicable) student’s inbox for you.

Tip #3: Sell the startup sizzle.

An obvious tip but it’s worth emphasizing. Chances are that you are not going to offer the best compensation package when hiring an intern for your startup. So sell them on the experience. After all, one amazing experience on a resume can transform a student’s entire career trajectory coming of college. And there’s no better way to get experience than working in a startup.

So back to my original story: how did I get 40 resumes in one day? Well, I was right in the middle of an accelerator program and I made sure I sold the startup sizzle. “We were selected out of more than 100 nationwide applicants for this accelerator, and this is your chance to be a part of it.” “You’ll have direct access to countless startup CEOs and investors.” “You can help define the end-to-end strategy for an entire company.” You get the picture. It was all 100% true, and it was the kind of experience no other internship was offering.

E-file an 83(b) election

If there is one thing a startup founder needs to know about the tax code, it’s the 83(b) election. An 83(b) election essentially allows a founder to recognize income on the stock at the time it is awarded (which generally means zero income) versus at the time the stock vests (which, if things go well, could be a substantial amount of income). Discussion about the 83(b) election comes up quite frequently in startup circles, and most everyone knows that the election must be made within 30 days of the stock purchase date. That said, people often forget to mention that you also need to include the 83(b) in your annual tax filing. I recently completely my personal tax return with my wife, and was ready to e-file, when I got stuck with the question: How do I e-file an 83(b) election?

Can TurboTax e-file an 83(b) election?

I now have the answer, but first a little background: I used Turbotax Home & Business to fill out our taxes this year and did not see any call outs for the 83(b) election. Given that I have zero income to report from the stock purchase (again, this is the point of the election!) I wasn’t too concerned about missing a number in the income section. Rather, I was nervous about e-filing knowing that the 83(b) election was supposed to be included with my return. I was hoping that there was some way to electronically replace the need to include a copy of the election. Yes, I am that lazy.

In the hopes of having to succumb to the worst option of all — printing out our return and mailing it manually (yuck!) – I took to Google. It was comforting to see the auto-complete fill in “efile 83b election” and a number of results pop up from Intuit’s site. Unfortunately, after reading the top five results, I discovered that nobody had a clear answer. Some answers indicated that it is not possible to e-file your return if you need to include the 83(b). Other people seem to know how to e-file an 83(b) election, but are actually using some super version of TurboTax for real tax professionals (…and those of you who bought TT Premier thought you were badasses). It quickly became clear that neither Intuit’s forums or TurboTax-for-regular-people were going to help me.

Yes, I called the IRS

I had no choice but to call the IRS —  the week that taxes are due. I actually got someone on the line right away, but I made a critical mistake and ended up waiting about 90 minutes for someone who could help me. When I dialed the number, I should have selected “Complex personal tax questions”. I kept asking about how I could e-file an 83(b) election and they kept redirecting me to someone else. It took talking to three representatives before I figured out that I was simply waiting in the wrong queue.

I should say that the folks answering the phones at the IRS were extremely nice and I ultimately did get a clear answer.

How to e-file an 83(b) election

Drumroll tax nerds, here is the solution:

  1. Go ahead and e-file your return like you normally would
  2. Then, snail mail the following to your appropriate tax filing center
    • A cover letter with a explanatory statement (see below)
    • A copy of your 83(b) election
    • A self-addressed, stamped envelope so that the IRS can mail you back confirming receipt

Here is what you need to include in the cover letter, word for word from the agent helping me:

Pursuant to treasury regulations section 1.83-2C per section 83 of the internal revenue code of 1986 as amended, enclosed please find a copy of an election under section 83(b) of the code.

And that’s it. Although this is technically not a way to e-file an 83(b) election itself, it is a way to e-file your entire return while only mailing in two simple documents. I hope this helps!

* Note: I am not a tax professional. Trust me at your own discretion. Better yet, call the IRS 🙂


Entrepreneurs don’t know anything

It takes a fair sized ego to become an entrepreneur. You have to believe that you are capable of accomplishing something that most never dare to try and very few achieve. In many ways, stubborn self-confidence is a necessary personality trait because so much of entrepreneurship is about perseverance. That said, I’ve come to believe in a greater truth: in the grand scheme of things, we as entrepreneurs simply don’t know anything. Yes, we must swallow our egos and admit it. Entrepreneurship is a constant state of learning.

It’s not that we are not skilled in our respective craft (e.g. engineering, marketing, etc) or that we aren’t subject matter experts in our problem domain. Rather, building a business from the ground up involves so many other internal and external factors that it is virtually impossible to have all of the answers from the start. For example, you might be…

…a genius product designer, but…

  • Is what you think is important also important to the customer? How much does the customer even care about the technology itself?
  • What really separates you from competitive solutions? Will your customers see it the same way?
  • Which product capabilities are really nice and interesting, and which ones actually impact your ability to acquire customers?
  • Do you need a user interface to start selling? What about a real backend?
  • What does your customer need in the product despite what they think they want?
  • What key ingredient is missing from your product that nobody is talking about?

…a marketing mastermind, but…

  • What are your key market segments? Which one should you target first? What about next?
  • What marketing channels are relevant to your audience and which ones aren’t?
  • In what ways must you change your approach over time as you increase brand awareness and acquire reference customers?
  • What messaging resonates most with your target audience? If certain messaging is ineffective, how might you tweak it to make it effective?
  • What can you optimize to achieve the most bang for the buck? And when do you move on to the next thing?
  • How can you best impact the sales process? Are there objectives that could be better achieved via marketing rather than direct sales, or vice versa?

… a sales superstar, but…

  • Who is your ideal customer contact? Is that the only person you should be interacting with during the sales process?
  • What is your customer’s overall process for making a purchasing decision?
  • What is your actual sales funnel? Where are sales getting stuck? How, if at all, can you impact the purchasing timeframe?
  • How price sensitive is your customer?  How can you tell that you are pricing correctly? Perhaps price is too high? Or too low (yes, really)?
  • How should you best qualify a lead? Are there non-obvious patterns and characteristics among those that buy?
  • What questions should you be asking your prospects? What do their answers actually tell you?

…a passionate and determined CEO, but…

  • What is the most important thing you should be doing right now? Today? This week? This month? This year?
  • Who and when do you need to hire? How will your hire impact the short term, versus the long term in this business?
  • How applicable is the unique expertise and experience of each team member to the current situation? Are you empowering them correctly while ensuring that they too are continuing to operate in a state of learning?

The reality is that the answer to each of these questions is a function of who you are + what problem you are solving + who you are solving it for + how you are doing it + the current market conditions and timing + … + a host of other other factors. The first step in getting to the truth is admitting that you don’t yet have the answers. This is both humbling as well as empowering. It allows you to stop worrying about who is wrong and who is right; if nobody knows the answer, then trying and learning means that you are making progress towards the end goal. And, ultimately, creating real knowledge — rather than preaching assumptions and beliefs — is a much better way to stroke your ego.


Mixergy Mega Tip: PR without pitching yourself

I absolutely crave hearing the back story of how an entrepreneur built his or her company. For this reason, I am a huge fan of Andrew Warner’s Mixergy. Now that I have a daily 20+ minute commute to our office in Durham, I’ve been trying to catch up on the archive of Mixergy episodes. Not only do I find each founder’s story fascinating, but there is often an “aha moment” or two that really stick out. I thought I would start recording those here as a catalog I can refer to in the future.

I’ve spent a bit of time these past few months reaching out to journalists (mostly cold) and trying to drum up some “free” exposure for the company. I’ve had a couple of hits — including a nice article in InformationWeek, as well as exposure in a few key industry publications — but, by in large, it has been a time consuming and draining effort. That’s why I was really excited to recently listen to Grasshopper’s David Hauser talk about his approach to PR in a Mixergy interview from about 18 months ago.

To me, one of the hardest things about “organic” PR is the concept of building a relationship with a journalist. It sounds simple but how exactly do you do that well? The most obvious thing to do is comment on their articles and try  to engage them on Twitter. But doesn’t everybody do that? And how do you avoid coming off like you are just trying to pitch yourself? In his interview, David mentioned three examples that I thought were instructive.

The Thank You card

In the interview, David talks about how he sent a physical thank you card via snail mail to a journalist they wanted to engage. The thank you card was in response to an article that the journalist wrote, but here’s the kicker: the journalist’s article wasn’t about David or his company. Instead, it was just an article that David genuinely enjoyed reading. Furthermore, in the thank you card, David did not pitch his business or make any sort of ask. He just said thanks, and included a business card.

Pitching the company

Another example he gave was how they would pitch journalists about the culture at Grasshopper. That’s right. Not the product, or even the core mission of the company (at least directly). Instead, they would pitch something like a charity effort that Grasshopper was involved in. Or perhaps how they FedEx’d 5,000 chocolate covered grasshoppers to influential people across America.

Pitching someone else

This was a very subtle point in the interview, but it’s something that really stood out to me. If a journalist is not ready to write about you and your company, you can still help them write about what they are actually interested in. In David’s case, he could connect journalists with other entrepreneurs (i.e. Grasshopper’s customers) to help them fill out their stories. In essence, he made himself a resource to them until they were eventually ready to write about Grasshopper (or perhaps even felt slightly obligated to!).

Although not completely earth shattering, it’s helpful to step back and think of PR in this way. All too often we are eager to pitch ourselves and get exposure as fast as possible. That seems to be the wrong approach. PR is a long game, and it takes patience. Thank-You-card-sent-via snail-mail-kind-of-patience.




What a crying baby taught us about customer value

Not long after our son Dilan was born, my wife downloaded a free iPhone app from the App Store called White Noise Box. It’s an incredibly simply app: there are 5 different images you can tap that each play a specific variant of white noise. For example, tap the image of rain for soft white noise, or tap the image of water rapids for more harsh white noise. Tap again and the white noise stops. About 8 weeks in, I asked my wife, “If Noise Box was a paid app, how much would you be willing to pay?” Her answer: “Thousands.”

Draining my iPhone battery playing white noise all day

OK, so realistically speaking, I would spend a Saturday learning Objective-C and hissing into a microphone if I thought my wife was really about to drop a couple Gs on an iPhone app. Nonetheless, her response is instructive. Despite the fact that the app is nothing more than a couple of images and .wav files, the value of the app is immense. Why? For the longest time, the harsh white noise of water rapids was the only thing that would calm our excessively challenging newborn. We could change his diaper, swaddle him, sway him, sing to him, and fall to our knees begging for mercy to no avail. Tap the image on White Noise Box, however, and instant calm. It still works like magic 80% of the time.

For an entrepreneur, customer value is one of the most critical concepts to understand. It doesn’t matter whether it takes a day or a decade to built it. What really matters — at least in the case of “painkiller”-type products —  is the degree of your customer’s pain, and how well you alleviate it. Now to be fair, there are certainly other factors that come into play when setting price and assigning a value to your solution. In this case, it is fairly obvious that customers would evaluate competing products and alternative solutions (like running the vacuum cleaner) if buying White Noise Box meant wiping out the college fund. Even still, that doesn’t mean that an app this easy to replicate has to be free or super cheap. Imagine this for a moment: White Noise Box is called “The Baby Soothing App” in a sea of other generic white noise apps in the App Store.  It was featured in the latest issue of Happy Baby Magazine, and it popped up in at least 10 different forum answers you read between 3 and 5am last night (one-handed on your iPhone while trying to calm the little one). All of the moms on your street swear by it.

Now… look at your crying and consistently cranky baby. You can try your luck sifting through dozens of two-and-a-half star white noise apps in the App Store because they are all free, or you can succumb to the miracle $20 Baby Soothing app. I think you drop that Andrew Jackson and never look back.

Last week I missed my two year anniversary

A strange thing happened last Thursday, December 6th. I missed my two year anniversary. My wife didn’t notice either. And now that I realize it… I feel great.

Yes, two years ago I quit my job at IBM to venture out to “become an entrepreneur”. I still remember how crazy (and crazy short) that first year was on my own. There was a tremendous amount of pressure, confusion, and insecurity. Despite all of that, my goal in that first year was to establish some sort of direction. I wanted to lay a path forward to prove that leaving my day job was not just a temporary experiment; it was a fundamental change in the way I would lead my life.

The fact that December 6th passed by this year without hardly a notice is a fantastic sign. It means that I was successful in my 2011 goal. I am no longer counting the days “without a real job”. Instead, what once seemed crazy is now my normal; I absolutely can’t imagine having spent 2012 doing anything else. My company, ArchiveSocial, has made tremendous progress over the course of this past year. I made my first hire and brought the product to the market, and we now have a significant number of customers who enthusiastically believe in our solution. There is, of course, a lot more that I can share about my business experiences this year, but I’ll leave that for another set of blog posts (and yes, I’m serious about keeping up with my blog this time!).

Beyond the business, 2012 was also significant in another major way. I am now the proud father of a two-month old boy. I can’t even begin to express how that feels. Yep, you can imagine that this was an especially crazy year with both a startup and a baby 🙂 Again, since my goal is to post a lot more frequently to this blog, I’ll save the details for another time.

So yes, what happened last Thursday was significant. December 6th, 2012, was not a day that I spent reflecting on the past. Rather, it was a day in which I was intently focused on the present, and the future.

2011 on my own

Today is officially the one-year anniversary since I left my day job in order to start a company. Wow. What a year.

First off, I can confirm that working on a startup is like living in a time warp. This was easily the shortest year of my professional life. It is funny thinking back how much time I thought I was going to have without my day job “in the way”. Heck, I even thought I would have enough time to keep up with this blog (I’m still working on that!). It is a very strange feeling to know that you’ve worked so hard and been through so much, and yet have barely gotten started.

To that extent, it is worth acknowledging that starting a business from the ground up is truly hard. This is as expected but, having been through it for a year now, I must admit that it is a very different kind of “hard”. On one hand, you have to literally create something from nothing; you start with no concrete direction, no momentum, and virtually no resources. On the other hand, it is painfully obvious that the world is full of opportunity and it is up to you to make the most of it. The odds are completely stacked against you and yet there are infinite ways to try to cheat them.

So how did things go this past year? In short: as well as I could have hoped. I learned an incredible amount about myself, starting a business, and — believe it or not — even software development. There are so many blog posts I could write about what I learned this past year, so stay tuned! I spent a tremendous amount of time and effort on activities that seemed to go nowhere but I was also fortunate to have a few great opportunities come my way — including one that came very close to generating a substantial amount of income. That opportunity didn’t work out, but another did, and I think it will actually turn out for the better in the long term. In the end, I am happy because I achieved my most important goal for the year: I was able to find my direction and lay a significant amount of groundwork for a long-term, sustainable business.

Moving forward, I am building ExactByte (my company) into a social media technology company. Thus far, we’ve created products that make social media more accessible. I am also very interested in leveraging social data for business applications. Our first solution will enable businesses who deal with compliance and legal concerns to better embrace social media. We’ve built some amazing technology and have a really exciting market opportunity ahead of us. I can’t say much else about that for now, but if you are in the RTP area, please come out to the Launch Day event in Durham on January 12th to learn more.

So… one year. Wow, I still can’t believe it! People often ask me, “How long are you going to try starting your own business?” I usually respond nicely with a vague answer, but here is the honest truth: I’ve known from day one that this is not just some experiment to try to escape the real world for a little while. It is an opportunity to fundamentally change the way I spend the rest of my life. Things are off to a good start and for that I am very thankful.

One year down, and many more to go.

First few lessons learned as an entrepreneur

It is  hard to believe that it has already been three weeks since I left my day job. Although I have yet to start on what I would consider to be my real startup, these past few weeks have been really busy. I’ve been working on an existing project, my email-to-Twitter service, and trying to figure out how to maximize revenue without continuing to spend a disproportionate amount of effort developing and maintaining the service (this is both fun and frustrating).  Now that I am on “Christmas vacation” (mandated by the big boss), I thought I would take a moment to reflect on a few things I’ve learned during my first few weeks as a full-time entrepreneur:

It’s tempting to move too fast

My last day as a full-time employee was on a Monday and I immediately hit the ground running on Tuesday. Since then I’ve been trying to move at a break-neck speed. There is an enormous sense of urgency and I’m now able to move fast without other commitments or distractions in the way.  Sounds great, right?

The problem is that it is really easy to get sucked into task after task and feeling like you can’t waste time by doing anything else. Should I  take 30 minutes to catch up on RSS feeds and my Twitter stream? No way. Take a shower and eat lunch? Maybe later. Can I just stop and think? Ah, when I have more time.

Obviously, this is not the most effective mode of operation because there are valuable benefits (both direct and indirect) to those other activities. I have to keep reminding myself: Move forward as fast as you can but don’t lose your balance.

Time truly is money

Perhaps the biggest shift in perspective when moving from a salaried day job to self-employment is the realization that you make money based on how you spend your time. This may sound painfully obvious — and it is — but it’s not something that I fully appreciated  as a salaried employee. After all, I had no way of measuring the impact of my contributions to the bottom line, and even if I did, it would not have affected my compensation in a meaningful way.

Now, everything  I do involves an ROI calculation. This is both good and bad (see point about “moving too fast” above), but overall I think it makes sense to operate in this way. There’s no denying it: my income is a measure of how well I convert time into money.

Multi-tasking is necessary but inefficient

Our intuition tells us that being able to do multiple things at once will make us more efficient overall. The truth, though, is that most of us are *not* able to work through multiple things at the same time: there is just too much cost associated with task-switching. We are often more effective when we focus on one thing at a time and move through our tasks sequentially.

This is not necessarily a new realization for me but it is certainly a much bigger problem. As an employee of a large organization, I always had a lot of different responsibilities but they fell within the general scope of a software engineer. As a solo entrepreneur, on the other hand, I am responsible for everything: understanding the market and competition, keeping up with news and trends, prioritizing features, designing the look and feel, writing the documentation, composing and sending marketing emails, reaching out to potential business partners, acquiring press coverage, monitoring analytics, supporting existing customers, and — oh yes — developing the software itself.

Figuring out which activities to prioritize and when to work on each them is tough.  It is very tempting to continually switch between tasks to ensure that I am making progress on everything that is important, but ultimately this tends to slow me down. For now I am approaching this problem like a software engineer: Schedule tasks as meaningful but atomic activities (i.e. must be completed from start to finish) and execute them in sequence.

In many ways, the issues I’ve described above are not unique to self-employment; everyone has to deal with time management and task prioritization. How do you deal with your insanely busy day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Call me crazy. I just quit my job.

More than six years ago, I graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science and took a job at IBM. Today is my last day. So where am I going next? Good question…

When I was twelve years old, I came home from school one day and decided I wanted to create a video game. I found an application on our home computer called QBASIC and discovered that I could use it to program my game. After a few hours of looking at the built-in help file and scouring the list of commands, I had my first program. Over the next few years, I had an insatiable desire to create. I programmed everything from a 3D basketball shoot-out game to a utility that allowed you to copy large files using multiple floppy disks. I even created my own version of Microsoft Windows (minus the actual operating system) complete with a start menu, control panel, built-in screensavers, and the ability to install other applications.

At this point you should be picturing a little Indian boy with nerdy glasses and a fuzzy mustache. Yes – there was something that kept me glued to that computer. It wasn’t simply the satisfaction of being able to program; it was the opportunity to figure things out and turn ideas into reality. And somehow, over the years, I’ve lost touch with that.

Now don’t get me wrong: These past 6 years of working at IBM were extremely valuable. Working at a large company provided me with a tremendous amount of experience in terms of collaborating with a variety of teams and delivering complex software. I worked on a number of interesting projects and I am very proud of what I accomplished there. I also continue to have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for IBM as a company. That said, I always knew that I was not doing what I really wanted to be doing. I didn’t feel like I was exercising my full potential. And I constantly felt like I was waiting for something big to happen.

So back to the original question. Where am I going next? The answer is nowhere. I am going to start my own software company.

I can’t tell you exactly what my company is going to do because I don’t know yet. Like that 12-year-old kid, I just need to figure it out. Instead of geeky little games and utilities, though, I’m going to search for a real problem and solve it. Don’t expect the next Google or Facebook, or anything remotely close. I just want to create software that has a positive effect on peoples’ lives.

As you can imagine, the decision to leave my job was difficult. I must thank my wife, Varsha, for two reasons: 1) Being incredible in general, 2) Being incredibly supportive. The night before I announced my decision to leave IBM, I asked her if what I am doing is crazy. Her response:

“Yes, but it’s the crazy people who change the world.”

So here I am with the opportunity of a lifetime. To get back to what I love doing. To take control of my own destiny. And to change the world – even if only in some small and immeasurable way.

Wish me luck!