We’re approaching the first anniversary of when I stepped down from my operating role at Splice. The company kept on growing rapidly and be impactful, I am very proud of what the team is doing to change things from within the music industry.
I had a blast during my time off:
- I worked on a great project with Grimes which we started previewing but had to put on hold because of covid-19.
- I had the privilege to listened to, coach and mentor talented startup leaders.
- I hacked on so many research projects and learned a ton.
- Due to the lockdown, I became an unqualified homeschool teacher and was able to spend time with my kids.
- Finally, I was able to spend a lot of time reflecting and discuss with so many smart people. Having this time for myself has been invaluable given the current world situation.
My goal was to use this time to better understand myself and the world around me. Here are 4 things that I found exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis:
- We want and need to be active, not passive (During the pandemic the increase in video gaming dwarfed the increase in Netflix/video streaming).
- We want to develop ourselves, grow, we might not always have the tools to do so, but are driven by some sort of growth feeling (from playing Animal Crossing to DYI or learning new skills).
- Ego is a powerful enemy. This bullet point would require a full post on its own, but the short version is that many not-ideal decisions are based on ego and results in missed opportunities or worse.
- We’re less and less of a social society. We might have huge social networks, I think it’s pretty clear to everyone who suffered from the lockdown that we somewhat become so self-centered that we lost real/deep human connections.
Besides these generic point, here is what I learned about myself:
While I started my journey wanting to focus on impact, I realized that measuring personal impact is surprisingly subjective. This is a topic that would deserve more time, but the short version is that chasing impact seems to be a fool’s errand that might lead to megalomania. Maintaining and increasing one’s happiness while having a positive impact on others is probably a better goal (at least more measurable).
To increase my happiness I found a few required ingredients:
- hard challenges that I haven’t yet accomplished
- a team of people I respect and want to collaborate with
- a sense of progress
Writing down those bullet points, I realize that they might not seem like big revelations. After all, aren’t we all after those 3 things? The thing is though, I can’t be happy unless I have those three things. I can tolerate not having of those items for a little bit but if the situation doesn’t get fixed, I quickly burnout or move on.
The other thing I realized is that I need to be active, I need to be focused and I need be seriously challenged or I eventually lose sense of “active purpose”. The covid19 lockdown made this very clear, even if I thought that I could just chill and hack on a new project every week. Instead I needed and wanted to focus on a new challenge with people that would push me to become even better.
My new adventure
The direction I chose might surprise some of you, I have to admit it’s a bit of an unorthodox and unexpected move but I think it’s the right thing for me. I’m not becoming a VC, developing modular synths nor jumping back on a new startup, instead I’m joining Microsoft and will work on on new technology focusing on collaboration (the tech will be free and open sourced). I’m particularly excited to rethink the concept of open source within a 2020 and enterprise context of 2020. Open Source evolved in surprising ways and there is an opportunity to help the overall tech community, I’m looking forward to this challenge. Finally, I’m very thankful that most of my work with be done transparently and in the open. So while It’s premature for me to share more details, I’m looking forward to blogging/posting more and hear your feedback.