After studying international development in Latin America, undergoing a number of various corporate experiences and graduating from college, I have officially launched myself into the NYC tech startup scene. Thanks to my dear friend John Exley(@johnexley), a fellow startup geek and Hashable (@hashable) intern, I am now working at YouNow (@younow), a new social platform for user-generated live video that allows users to broadcast live and curate content in a fun, game-like fashion. As Operations Manager at YouNow, I work alongside our CEO Adi Sideman, and am able to touch all non-technical parts of the business – which is to say, everything but the physical product itself. It’s a tremendous experience, and is preparing me to launch my own startup one day… but I’m missing one thing:
In my opinion, it is the single most significant thing holding me back from starting my own company. There are obviously many elements that go into building a successful business, but in an increasingly technological world, having negligible technicalunderstanding will make you practically insignificant.
I recently came upon a post by Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) of Union Square Ventureswhich encapsulates the feelings I’ve been having pretty well. It is entitled: “Program or be Programmed.”
For some reason “Program or be Programmed” makes me think of Vladimir Putin… lol
Fred’s post takes inspiration from Douglas Rushkoff‘s latest book “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age”, postulating that “in the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, [one] will either create the software or will be the software.” Didactically, and with less of an alarmist tone, Fred encourages the nontechnical to get technical.
I think this quote pretty much sums it up:
“Dennis Crowley claims to be a terrible programmer. And yet he and Naveen built the first version of Foursquare together. Their third team member was Harry and Harry’s first job was to rewrite all of Dennis’ code. Dennis is the kind of technical I’m talking about. Learn how to hack something together so that you can get people interested in your idea, your project, your startup. If you can do that, then you have a better chance of success.”
- Fred Wilson, AVC
Dennis Crowley of foursquare
Fred’s thoughts only further confirmed for me the feelings I had already been having. You see, I’m an idea guy… always have been. I’m someone who lies awake at night, feverishly excited about the possibility of creating something that can change the world. Inspiration has never been my problem, fortunately.
Unfortunately, however, inspiration in and of itself simply isn’t enough to make one’s world-changing idea a living, breathing thing. My problem is my uncertainty… I’ve always seen the value of learning new things, but because I am unsure of which path I will take, and am constantly inspired by new things, I find myself unwilling to focus on mastery, instead caught up in another whimsical dream of what could be. For this reason I have resolved to learn how to code, as a means of making my startup ideas come to life.
While the hard skills I will acquire from programming will be a tremendous catalyst to realizing my aspirations, my determination to learn how to code is much deeper than that.
It is about:
Instead of being spontaneously capricious, being assiduously dedicated to accomplishing my goals.
Enduring and pushing to achieve success, rather than navigating to another “possibility” of success when perceiving potential failure.
Having enough certainty and self-confidence to trust myself and believe that my dreams are worthy of pursuing whole-heartedly.
Turning possibilities into realities.
Apart from being a dreamer, I am also someone who is capable of great output once I put my heart and mind to something. Knowing this… I guess it’s time to just buckle down and GIT UR DUN.
On that note… I will stop writing and proceed to learn the beginnings of Ruby.