Week 4 of 13: Distractions and Alterations

The old look. Unavoidable blog changes were among this week's distractions.
The twin advantage and disadvantage of working for yourself is that you get to set your own schedule. At school, there are multiple deadlines, determined by the course schedule. You effectively have to work to these deadlines. In the Fall quarter of the first year, working to these deadlines meant that you didn’t even get time to finish unpacking. At work, there are also deadlines, but not as predetermined, frequent or granular as those during business school. Working for myself, as I am now, I am mostly setting my own deadlines.

The disadvantage of setting my own deadlines is that it’s easy to succumb to distractions. These are distractions that would normally be set aside during the business school term. During the summer period – the only time during the two year program when you can catch up with life – it not even desirable to ignore these distractions. If I’m not going to pay attention to them now, when will I?

The "distractions" have included a long July 4th weekend hosting family, as well as making preparations to move apartments at the end of July. I even carelessly let a squatter take over the old domain of this blog (managingmagic.com), accelerating some changes to moving everything over to this domain (blog.dinogane.com). Another time sink has been a project with Playboy. This was a group project completed for MEDM431 during the Spring Quarter, but it was only this past week that we presented back to them what we developed. Add to all this the progression through the World Cup of a team I’ve followed since the late 1980s, Holland, and I almost feel the momentum this past week has not been as strong as in past weeks.

However, it’s difficult to drive forward at full momentum all the time. The advantage of working to your own schedule is that you can slow down. You can regroup and take a reality check, asking that all important question: are we really building the simplest thing someone will pay money for? Taking on board the feedback from potential clients during the previous week, the nature of the business has now changed. So this week has also been a period of accounting for these changes and change in identity: "we thought we were building X, but we’re actually building Y". This week has been about making adaptations.

The two interns, both software developers, working on this project with me are now adapting the software we’ve been developing. Some of the previous work is now not as critical, while other features are now more important. It’s been a confusing time for them, so I’m conscious of providing a clear vision of what it is that we are doing. “You need to work on your elevator pitch” says a professor who is advising me, so complete clarity might not be quite there yet. In the meanwhile, a team from the SBOC has taken on my case. This provides some relief in taking care of some of the legal aspects, such as company formation. Despite the distractions, we are still moving forward.