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The Entrepreneurship Road

Three years ago, Gauntlet.io was being developed inside my mind. Today, as you can see, it is a platform to run multiple scanners, centralize security findings, and take action on them.

It's been a non-linear journey, full of creative thinking, hard work, mistakes, changes in habits, and learning.

Before this, I used to work in an office and was very focused on doing my job - I was paid for that after all. But soon after leaving it, I started challenging some assumptions regarding my day-to-day life.

The first assumption to be challenged was time.

Do we really need to work 8 hours a day? Hmm, that depends on what you do. If what you do requires lots of cognitive effort, you can work 8 hours a day or 9 hours a day, but your brain will only last 4 hours. After that, your focus will begin to drop tremendously. Then the rest of your workday should be filled with emails, meetings, etc. You can't, for example, code for 8 hours straight and still be sane. Here are some references: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

I even read about one guy, an indie game developer, who decided to work 3 hours a day, but every day (link above). The less you work, the less you need a vacation. Some will say that 'somebody is always working to their bones while you are slacking off,' but it's very relative. Those who may work to their bones and appear to be delivering more than you will probably get burnout, get sick, or simply lack time to think about what they're doing - if it could be done better, or whether it's really what should be done. You can't push your brain and body with willpower alone.

I've met another person who, despite living in a rural area with lots of birds and trees, has stress embedded in his life. Sleep deprivation for decades, memory issues, and a small child to take care of. It's clear to me that work can really destroy your life, despite the fortune you may earn. One phenomenon that would be interesting to understand is why politicians, despite their age, don't retire. From television, at least, it seems that their lives are full of stress, scandals, interviews, and more. My theory is that they don't want to 'lose their status' or 'lose power' because they have influence and money.

Now I am somewhat careful with how I spend my time, if I am sleeping well, eating well, drinking water, etc. And after a few experiments, I realized that I work better right after waking up. When I wake up, I just need to eat something quick and go straight to work until my head starts spinning, which takes precisely 4 hours up to 6 hours, depending on what I am doing - excluding meetings. If I work even more, I can feel the difference in the next days. But as I said, it depends on what I do. If I am talking about meetings, I can work fine for 8 hours a day. I will be more physically tired rather than mentally in most cases because when I really need to come up with something, it happens after the meeting. Not really during it. More precisely, it happens in the shower or prior to sleep.

The second assumption is focus.

When you're inside an office, have a boss, and so on, you can define your focus to some extent... until a new order comes up. Well, that holds true even when you don't have a boss, because this new order means that there is a new opportunity that is worth pursuing compared to what you're currently doing. Quotes like 'you make your own agenda' or 'amazing, you do not have a boss' are mere illusions.

Focus is really tough.

I may say: all I want to do is work on Gauntlet. But that's not focus. Focus is saying no. Saying no to all other opportunities that will come up that look as interesting or more interesting than what Gauntlet represents to me.

Life will always keep challenging you and asking 'how much do you want what you say you want?'.

Imagine you were me, working on your own product and happy as ever. You might think 'that is all I want'. Now imagine receiving an offer to 'work at Google/Facebook in the area you want with a team full of nerds'. You would have to say no. This is focus. A more extreme case would be to be acquired. Being acquired sometimes means getting out of the business. Someone is willing to pay your price to make you leave what you love. Even so, many startups/companies are sold. Life has lots of interesting choices, and that's why focus is hard.

The third assumption is freedom.

From Calvin Harris' Under Control music, 'Freedom is a lonely road'. All your colleagues tend to stick to their lives as you start a journey on your own. You're a risk-taker, but many of your friends are not. Actually, many may hate taking risks. That will never be as crystal clear as when choosing the road of entrepreneurship.

It also means that you don't have a team, unless you have partners that really want to work. As you know, there are partners who are only there for the hype of being in a startup or just for being in a company as they would feel not being employees for a few minutes a day and getting a sense of relief. In this case, of course, it's better to be alone.

You become even more independent... or perhaps you already need to be independent to start something on your own. I am not sure. All I know is that this journey is for go-getters, albeit there are many pitfalls.

It doesn't really matter how many pitfalls you've fallen into, as long as you can stay in the game, and want to stay in the game. Easier said than done, but we as human beings tend to focus on what we enjoy the most. In my case, it was focusing more on developing the technical part of the product, only to later realize that I would need to add a business face to Gauntlet.

The first version that went to production was all I needed as a security engineer at that time: run multiple security tools and give me a consolidated report. However, when I presented that for the first time, I started getting questions such as: 'where are the charts?', 'how can I share that with my team?' or 'can I customize that report?'. That's when I realized that despite my effort to make it work - more than a year - I was only scratching the surface. Then I focused on answering all the questions I was getting the most until only a few remained.

In hindsight, using this strategy may not be the best possible option. As different companies have different needs, I ended up answering many questions by developing many features. Features that were supposed to be built, but perhaps not at that time.

I believe that all businesses get a few things wrong, but find their way to profit. There are so many domains to be aware of, that it would be surprising to get everything perfect from the start.

Well, that's it

Actually, I have much more to say, but writing too much takes time away from my next activities. The cool thing about blogging for me is proving my self-discipline, sharing some thoughts, and providing more information than a 'LinkedIn profile' for those who want to know more about me. It's not like I am some big shot, it's just that I am taking care of my own little piece of the Internet.

That's all for today. Thank you.

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