It was 1993 when Craig decided to change careers. 17 years at IBM and it was time for a shakeup. Charles Schwab came calling from across the country in San Francisco.
Craig was 40 and starting over. The job kept him busy, but he’d make time to for local programming events where he met others in his field and kept track of what was going on in the industry. Pretty soon, he was a regular at the meetups and thought, “Hey, there should be a way for everyone to keep up with what’s going on.”
As a software developer, Craig was a techie, so he started an email list where he and his friends could update each other about different events going on in town.
It was a hit and lots of people started using it. It was perfect for Craig—a fun side project that didn’t take too much work. He spent his days banging out work for Charles Schwab and his evenings managing “the list.”
After a while, people started posting about other things. When someone was moving, they’d notify everyone their apartment was available and maybe sell some of their furniture. They bought cars from each other and listed jobs for their employers.
When there got to be too many emails crowding everyone’s inboxes, Craig decided to make a change. He shut down the email list and moved everything to a website.
The real lesson from these stories is that success doesn’t depend on how much time you have but on what you do with that time.
To recap, what you should do are these four things:
Start with what you already know. Don’t waste time learning new, critical skills. Put the ones you already have to work.
Keep it (really) simple. Have a long-term vision, but don’t get distracted or discouraged thinking you have to build it all at once.
Pivot early and often. Make the best use of your time by focusing on what’s really working and make changes quickly when things aren’t.
Make your boss your investor. You have an enormous resource in your day job. You owe it to yourself to at least explore the possibilities of a partnership.