I've been in some major car accidents growing up. Once on the way back from a vacation with my family we T-boned a sheriff's car. A few years ago I crashed into a stretch limousine!
No but really, it wasn't my fault, I swear! I'll share the rest of that story with you over a beer.
Driving is hard! I'm amazed car accidents don't occur more often.
Looking down from the 500 Startups office on Castro Street in Mountain View, you're almost certain to see a Google self-driving car pass by on the street below. In fact, you'll see them all day – they are training.
The audacity of Google’s self-driving car project reminds me of the nerve-racking sensation of trying to start a business. To become successful I believe you need to put yourself in a situation where there are a lot of obstacles, and an overwhelming amount of input and stimulation from the environment around you. You'll need to surround yourself with all the indicators to know you're making the right turns. You’ll need to know when to stop, change direction, reverse, or speed up!
Castro Street is not a very simple place to drive. There are a lot of street signs, markers on the road, flashing lights, train crossing gates, and other signs or indicators. But what are all those indicators really for? They are helping the car navigate street, are you surrounding yourself with the indicators to guide you down the right path?
Transplanting myself in San Francisco has presented me with both a number of obstacles and the community to help me navigate it. While the web really is everywhere, I really do believe there is a different attitude towards engineering and the internet at-large in the Bay Area. The meetup groups, events, incubators, accelerators and other startups here provide the indicators and guides to keep your career or business on track, you just need to make use of them.
On a side note, I think the Google self-driving car project will be a huge success, even if the product is decades away from reaching the average person, I love their ambition.
Sometimes it's easy to get lost in your business, in click-through-rates, painstakingly analyzing your cost-per-click bids, obsessing over your conversion funnel.
It's taken me years to realize how to enjoy my life while building a business at the same time. While self-analysis is important and critical to maintaining a business, don't let it rule your life like it did for me. Don't forget to have fun! It's a lot faster and much more fun when you get there in the carpool lane with your buddies.