Why start a company?

Joanne Wilson has a post today about what she looks for when she invests in a company.

It’s a good read (and, on a personal level, I especially like that she reveals she was a youth sports coach in her early days).

About a year ago, I actually met Joanne to talk over what I was doing with gawk.it.

As many of you know, I was on the fence about what to do with the project (raise money and go big, or stay small and treat it like a fun little hobby project).

My conversation with Joanne is what finally gave the me clarity/direction on what I really wanted to do with the project (she has a real knack for that sort of advice/direction and is why I’m such a big fan).

However, there was one thing about our meeting that really nagged at me for quite awhile afterwards…throughout it, I got the impression that she felt I was interested in being an entrepreneur more than I was interested in solving a specific problem.

I believe she meant it in a good way, and was trying to help down that path (she really is always trying to be helpful), but after reflecting on the meeting it made me realize I had clearly done a bad job communicating my intent and true motivations (likely a side-effect of not *really* wanting to go down the company path with gawk.it).

The truth was, I was already a founder in a successful startup (that continues to crush it, thank you), and while not a majority owner, I have a good founders equity stake and basically have all the ‘pros’ of doing a startup and very few of the 'cons’.

By all accounts, if 'being in a startup’ or 'being an entrepreneur’ was what drove me, I should be wildly content.

However I am not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the team and the company we’ve been building. It’s why I’m still there (though the cash doesn’t hurt either). And truth be told, being content enough with PubGears played a big role in my motivation/drive behind what to do with gawk.it (I didn’t feel I had taken the company to where I promised I would and wasn’t really ready to move on)

But I still have a lot of other things I want to accomplish, a lot of other problems I want to fix.

Some I can do with fun little hacks in my free time, and those don’t need to be companies or have a team built up around them.

But others are much much more ambitious, and really do need to be companies (with world class teams) to have the real impact I envision.

Look - I do a lot with and around startups…and it’s true I was one of those kids that also was always hustling for cash…but I’ve never really considered myself someone that “wants to be an entrepreneur”.

I’ve always just done what I do because I’ve been after a specific result or been trying to tackle a specific problem…and usually because I have a large amount of faith/belief in my own approach (vs. following someone else)…so if that makes me an 'entrepreneur’, then so be it.

But it’s the solutions - my vision of the future - that I’m after…that I’m willing to put everything and all of me on the line for.

Starting, and growing, a company is really just one of many challenges I believe is required in bringing that vision to life…and so that is what I’m compelled (forced?) to do.

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).