~ Written on a train ride back home

i think the hardest part of starting up - juggling between "are we doing enough?" and "everything we're doing, is it in the right direction?"

what i've learnt the hard way, you've to intentionally take your mind out of the startup context to make better decisions. it's so weird that not- working on the thing, helps see the big picture better & open the mind to better ideas. i describe it as "detoxing" the mind.

things that have helped me are - walks in gardens/shoreline, playing music, cooking, painting, even household chores for that matter. and 1st thing after coming back is writing a doc as plan of action

and it seems boring. but truth is, that's probably the most imp thing you do as a founder. calm your nerves, rest your mind, look at everything from a fresh perspective and reinvent every week.

Comparing 2 stories from my own journey about this:

my 1st startup was Coursepanel (curriculum management software for universities/corporate training). I was a student back then and my mindset  was just DO as much work as your body can bear - 16+ hours per day for months. I burnt out not from tiredness, but being tired of not making progress. We felt we were always right, overengineered things in the wrong direction, but for the most part - didn't introspect.enough to keep realigning every week. the company barely made money and shutdown from lack of direction

my 2nd startup is Recontact (video intelligence AI). now, every week, I actively take time out for daily strolls and half-a-day of hike/park time where I act extra-randomly and push whatever opinions/preferences I have. and then I come back and write just a 1 pager about where the company's at, good things, bad things, learnings and next experiments. the company is realigned every week. I have overcome the guilt of setting aside 8hrs every week in these breaks to ensure I perform well and think clearly in the rest 80. And that 80 can be pure execution where we're testing a well-planned hypothesis.

this is a long term game. and i've realized that the best things i can bring to the table is not execution (that any hard worker brings to any company). it's the willingness to maturely balance my own stress and emotions amidst all this. and with that, condense my company's data and learnings stoically to make sane decisions. that's what makes us survive.