Welcome to From Scratch, my first stab at blogging. Do please go easy on me! I’ve long enjoyed tech and entrepreneurship content, particular shout out to Acquired and Benedict Evans, and have always loved the idea of creating something myself, without necessarily knowing what my angle would be. I’ve also read a lot about the power of writing; how it refines thinking and decision making, and how it’s generally a very effective way of taking stock. Given I’m starting an interesting journey tomorrow with Antler, I thought a weekly reflection might be a helpful way to ease me into writing, hopefully provide some interesting insights into the world of venture building and, ultimately, help me to make the most of the next 10 weeks.
The reluctant entrepreneur
I definitely wasn’t that kid who was buying chewing gum in bulk and then selling for a premium in the playground. It seems everybody needs a story these days, but that’s not me (but of course, there’s plenty of time to dream up that apocryphal story if I need some media coverage down the line!). I dreamed of playing rugby as a kid, not selling things. So why Antler? The honest answer to this question is that, despite having had overwhelmingly positive experiences in my career to date, it’s always felt that that little something has been missing, and for a long time it was hard to pinpoint. I loved school, I loved the learning and I was always excited about what the next week, term or year might bring. I realise this isn’t the case for everybody and I’m very grateful to my parents for having made the sacrifices to provide me with a great education. University was similar but then that excitement dulled as I entered the ‘real world’ and I’m not sure why. I guess I just felt a bit underwhelmed, and that was at a super-fast growth start-up, where the culture was great, working with colleagues I counted as friends.
and that really made me stop and think. Now, Ben’s an infinitely more talented sportsman than I am, he’s an ex-GB middle-distance runner who has won medals, whilst I only managed a couple of years of pro rugby before my body gave up, but I still think it applies to me. I’ve missed the jeopardy of sport, not knowing what the outcome is going to be, not knowing quite how you’re going to perform but knowing you’ve done all you can to prepare and just hoping that your luck is in. The parallels with start-ups are aplenty. Tenacity and grit are non-negotiables, word class talent is of course essential but even that isn’t enough. You need that bit of luck and good fortune and that’s what keeps things interesting and it’s that uncertainty that I’ve been missing. I have no idea if I’ll be a good entrepreneur or whether I’ll be successful at Antler, but I know I need to give it a go. I’m one of those weird blokes who likes quotes and have had Teddy Roosevelt’s brilliant Man in the Arena speech stuck up on my wall next to my desk for the past few months. These next 10 weeks are my opportunity to dare greatly.
I intended this first post to be just a couple of lines, so I apologise about that. In the immortal words of Blaise Pascal, “I didn’t have time to make it shorter”.
Thoughts, comments etc all very much encouraged.
Have a great week all and catch you next weekend for some thoughts on week 1.