Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Happened AGAIN!

OK, so last night this guy emailed me.  We used to work together - sort of.  He was a VP at this consulting firm I worked at right out of college.  I remember him not at all, and only remember a few things about this firm:
  1. The consultants were, on the whole, conspicuously attractive people.
  2. The consultants were, on the whole, lazy.  The few people who worked really hard kept the whole thing afloat, but they got less good-looking the harder they worked.  True fact.
  3. At the time, I wanted to write a novel about a data analyst at a such a firm who discovers a big international plot and is recruited by the CIA... or turns out to be a spy all along...  or some such bullshit.  I couldn't figure out how else to make data analysis seem interesting.
Well, I just talked to this guy.  (He claims to remember me, which is either very flattering or an obvious lie.  I have an inflated ego, so I choose the former.)  And guess what?

HE WROTE THE NOVEL.  He wrote a novel about an international consulting firm that has something to do with spies.

It's sort of adorable that I ever imagine my ideas to be unique, or ever worry they aren't.  What they are, mostly, is just ideas.  Ideas are a dime a dozen; everyone has them.  Original idea is practically an oxymoron.  It's execution that matters.  This guy spent three years figuring out how to make consulting seem interesting, and another three years getting it published. 

Kudos man, kudos.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Better Sooner Than Later

I guess it was inevitable.  I have four novels in various states of completion.  Tonight I saw the movie trailer for one of them.  The exact same story.  The same opening scene! 

&^%$*! @#$%*!

Oh well, of the four novels, it was the least complete and least interesting.  Hopefully it was the least original too, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Starting a Business is Like Writing a Novel

1. The Blank Page.

You start out with a general idea of where you're going, but there are no constraints - you can go anywhere.  The choices can be overwhelming.  You spend a lot of time meandering and no small portion completely lost.  Your final destination is practically invisible until you're practically on top of it.

2.  The Work.

It is so much more work than it looks like.  Every day you realize it requires another skill, another domain of knowledge, another chunk of time that you have to find a way to acquire.

3. The Qualification Paradox.

You know perfectly well you are woefully underqualified, and also that the only way to become qualified is to just do it.  So you fake it 'til you make it: spend every day pretending to yourself that you can do it until you discover you've actually done it.

4. The Business.

You have to figure out who you're selling to, what they want, how you can give them something they didn't even know they needed that can only come from you.  You have to figure out who you want on your team and how to attract them and how to deal with them.  You have to figure out where the time is going to come from.

5.  The Investors.

You have to decide if you want outside investment, who would be the best fit, and then polish your pitch.  And polish it some more.  And realize in the process that your product needs work and go back and polish that, and then come back and polish your pitch all over again.  Repeat.

BONUS.  The Courage and the Faith.

There is every reason to believe you will fail, and that it will hurt.  This is why most people will never try.  But those who do, who take the leap of faith, will tell you that creating something is a journey, not a test.  The concepts of success and failure over time are far murkier than you'd imagined.  At the end of the day, it is your journey and your courage that will make you proud and bring you happiness.