Moving on From a Startup

Have not posted in awhile. The reason? I’ve been “studying” abroad in Sydney since mid-August. My co-founder Eric and I made an agreement going into Summer 2010. If the pieces didn’t fall our way, we were to move on once the summer ended. As two 21 year olds, we’ve dedicated the last year to Hangchillparty, learning heaps about startups and entrepreneurship. What we haven’t done though is do what normal 21 year olds experience. Going out, mingling, and taking the day as it comes. Working nonstop is a great experience I will not take back, but at the same time, there is more to life than working toward a monetary or idealistic goal.

I really hoped Hangchillparty worked out, but I believe it will be a project we will return to. I believe the niche is still there for a real-time online socializing tool. Facebook may be taking a step in that direction with check-ins, but there is still a market for such a tool.

When it comes to life moving on away from the startup grind, it’s has an interesting effect on the mind. For one year it was all that really occupied my thoughts, so like a long relationship, there was a void that had to be filled. When you focus so intensely on something for so long, your brain adapts to those thoughts and changes. It caters to your area of focus, and physically changed the neuronic structure of your brain (check out the Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge for more details).

I was constantly looking to work toward to something, which is my brain being used to constantly working. In mid-August, I decided to go back and work as a camp counselor for two weeks at one of my favorite places, Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, Washington. It’s an enriching job that keeps you continuously occupied, so I didn’t have time to dwell on Hcp much. I transferred that energy to throwing dodgeballs at kids and acting absolutely ridiculous.

With only one day at home between camp and my departure for Sydney, there was not much downtime at all. Before I knew it, I went from the nature of the San Juan Islands to being engulfed in the urban landscape of Sydney.

Again, there was little time to think about what we could of done better with Hcp. It was all about socializing with the 70 kids in our program, exploring Sydney, and meeting locals. This has been my number one priority, which has been a refreshing change. You appreciate the pleasures of real-life socializing more after sitting in front of a laptop for 12 hours a day.

So what has triggered me to write this post now? Well in the program I’m in, we are given an internship for the 2nd half of the semester. I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to contribute to another very early web startup. It’s an awesome chance to contribute what I’ve learned from Hcp into a fresh, new idea. But because I’m back in the startup environment, it has brought back a lot of memories from grinding away on Hcp.

Also, watching The Social Network brought back startup emotions as well. The theme of building nothing into something is a strong belief and feeling every entrepreneur holds near them, and it is a dream of all of us to have even a fraction of Facebook’s success. After seeing the film, I had to rest and even write in my journal because of our dream to be that “next big thing”

I’ve realized that when someone dedicates their life to something for an extended period of time, it takes time to adjust to real-life again. It’s not a positive or negative, it’s just the way things are. So if you’re adjusting your life after a long dedication to a project or craft, I’d say keep yourself busy with new experiences and hobbies. If you’re planning to move on, then move on by adapting your life to the way you wish to live.

That’s all I got, hope you enjoyed this post.