How is beginning a startup like raising a baby? I’m trying to do both at the same time!
The picture above is my daughter, Miryam. She’ll be 9 months old soon. My startup Sujjest is 2 years along now and our app will be out this spring. While Sujjest might not be as cute as Miryam, at least you can interact with Sujjest online. Try out our interactive demo at sujjest.com and while you’re there please join our wait list! Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Welcome back! Without further ado, here are the top similarities between my startup and my baby:
1. They’re worth it
Looking back to the beginning, I realize now that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure, I knew there would be a lot of work and incredible highs and lows. But now it’s all real! Both my baby and startup demand tremendous follow-through and whatever time I have available, forcing me to reaffirm at every turn, “It’s all worth it!” …because it is! And because I know there’s no going back.
2. They’re always changing!
I’m not just talking diapers. Both my startup and daughter are growing up quickly, to the point where sometimes a month ago (or a week ago) can feel like the distant past. Each lesson seems to build on the last, at least, so even while I make mistakes along the way, I can look forward to making exciting new mistakes instead of boring old ones.
3. To me, they’re beautiful
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eye, Miryam and Sujjest are both beautiful. I know from my experience in management consulting, that some people will inevitably tell me my startup-baby is ugly. When I hear those opinions, I will try not to sock that person in the nose, and rather take the constructive criticism and use it to make my startup-baby more beautiful.
(If you call my actual baby ugly, I’ll probably just sock you in the nose.)
4. It takes a village.
In case you haven’t signed up for our app yet, please be a good villager and do so. Babies and startups take a lot of time — more hours than there seem to be in a day. The only reason I’m able to get by is that I have an incredible team supporting me. My partner and wife Emily is beyond compare and showers our daughter with love and protection. Extended family and daycare are also fabulous. On the startup side, my cofounders Jeff and Kjell work every day to develop Sujjest into a useful and fun everyday tool. As they both continue to grow, I know that I will rely on many more people for guidance and support.
5. They teach me
Experience is the best teacher. Becoming a parent or creating a startup is a bit like diving into the open ocean. Part of me feels like I am an expert already on the past milestones, and part of me knows that I still have so much more to learn.
6. Both are investments in the future
Not just for my wife and I. Not just for my cofounders and I. But for each person Miryam may touch with her positive presence, and for however many adventures and great conversations between friends Sujjest may enable.
7. Their futures are unknown
My cofounders and I have a vision for the company — an application we think others will find useful, with features we believe people will want. But it could turn out that Sujjest’s purpose will diverge from whatever we’ve already imagined, being used in ways unanticipated and adapted for needs unforeseen.
In time, Miryam will decide on her own what she wants to be when she grows up. Whatever directions she may choose, I hope she can uncover beauty in both the unique and the mundane, explore the bounds of her vast potential, and make the world a better place along the way.
I also hope Miryam will use Sujjest from time to time to schedule a visit with her parents.
8. They make me smile
Whether it’s staying up until 1 AM on startup stuff or waking up at 4 AM for baby stuff, there is a lot of joy all around. This has been one of the most fulfilling and exhilarating times in my life. I am thrilled to be in the moment and to find out what the future brings for both my baby and my startup!
I hope you will continue to read about this startup journey, share your own insights in the comments, and support Sujjest by joining our beta at www.sujjest.com. (Author: Sol DeLeon)