Lifetime Building Startups

I am really enjoying learning to code. It feels so empowering to finally understand more about what goes on under the hood of web applications.  Becoming a hacker is proving to be a really fun journey.  The Starter League classes have been great so far, I have also worked really hard to try and be ahead of the curve, working hard outside class.

Being here in Chicago and learning to code, is hopefully the first steps towards doing a startup.  I have been thinking about what the ideal setup would be if I would like to be involved in startups for the rest of my life.  Forgetting about the actual problems I would like to solve, and their solutions that could turn into businesses.  What is the skill set that I need to acquire, how do I need to set up my personal circumstances to be ideally suited for a lifetime building startups?

One of the keys for me to answering those questions is that I am really leaning towards bootstrapping, instead of raising capital early.  This is a little surprising to me, as I have always been inclined to go for more aggressive growth that raising capital can enable.  Not that I won’t raise capital again, but I would like to try get as far down the road as possible before I do.

I am also of the opinion that you should give yourselves as much negotiating strength when you eventually get to the point of raising money.  The stronger position the company is in the better, and having a real alternative to raising money is essential.

So bootstrapping a startup as long as possible would require keeping expenses as low as possible, so the paying big salaries to founders won’t be an option.  For me that has two big implications, 1) I need enough annuity income to support our own financial needs; 2) I need to be able to contribute in a big way to building the product.

By learning to code I start towards solving the second one.  To really get where I need to be however, may require working as a developer for a few years to really get all the skills I need.  This also gives me the time to make sure I set up the annuity income I need.

Having the skills and no need to ever earn a salary from a startup must be close to the ideal situation to be in! Achieving this in the next 2 -5 years is going to be my goal! In this time I can also look for the right problem to solve. As Robert Pirsig said in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”:

“You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”

I am looking forward to a lifetime of building startups.