It’s 6 in the morning (which would actually make 5am as we entered Summer Time) and I still can’t fall asleep. Yesterday I met with a friend of mine who few months ago joined Improbable (the new hot start-up from London, recently secured Series A of $20M with Andreessen Horowitz). My head can’t stop thinking. Unordered thoughts run from the vision of future me having built equally awesome company (companies), just to switch into the fear of the unknown in the very next moment.
Damn you freedom.
The more you are aware of how many ways you can lead your life, the more frightening and limiting it may feel. Which way to go? What to focus on? Living in fairly boundless world.. which country to settle? Who to reach out to not to waste ones’ time? Going solo (and then we will see) or seeking for a co-founder from the very beginning? If the latter, then how to know that this person is to be trusted? Can YOU be trusted? Do you truly know yourself? What turns you on? Shall you follow your hobby and turn it into business? Will you still feel passionate about it, once you deal with it on a daily basis? What if your business doesn’t succeed and you will be left with the debt and a career lag in your CV? (Hey you close-minded recruiters looking for continuous linear career growth- some of us are not sheeps).
Pretty CV and great credit rating allowing one to get 20 years+ mortgage for a London shithole vs. Risky entrepreneurial Roller-coaster. Bloody opportunity cost.
Aforetime, people knew what to expect and how to live their life. Uncomplicated. Maybe even happy? Tribes or even people living in small villages in fairly civilised countries are not specially aware of the possibilities of the outside world... They have been replicating the style of life of their forefathers and surrounding society. They have been cultivating what they’ve got, not being aware that you can do things differently.
For me it is simply incomprehensible that most of us spend our lives without seeking for stimuli, trying to ‘blend in’, in the end to be left convinced that this is the only way you can lead your life. They are satisfied with MVP (Minimum Viable Perseverance) for the rest of their lives.
Yes, naivety is blessing. Ignorance is blessing. And it’s up to you how you turn the cards. You can chose to ignore all the opportunities live is giving you. I totally get that people can be cool with the little they have. But limiting yourself on purpose, despite the fact that you are educated, healthy, live in a safe country, and you are still wasting your full potential? You are doing a disservice not only to yourself but to the people around you. You selfish inglourious basterd.
I salute people who do their best to bend the reality – some rockstars like the guys at Improbable actually make it happen. These are like-minded individuals trying to leave something meaningful behind. It’s so freaking awesome. Most likely they are not doing it for the money or CrunchBase daily fame. (Although it’s always in the back of your head – let’s not fool ourselves by sweetened PR).
The biggest battle we have to fight is not our competitors, government rules or lack of resources. The hardest part is believing that there is no spoon, and there is no freaking box, so we can think freely without imposed social conventions.
Take for example Matrix scene.
The spoon exists only in the Matrix, which really means it DOES NOT exist. It’s a lesson for Neo to help him realise that manipulating the Matrix isn’t about focusing on an object and trying to change it. The object itself doesn’t exist, so he can’t change it – he has to change himself instead. The idea of no-self is that everything is of impermanence and always in a state of flux, even our own “self”, so it’s wiser not to hold on to any existence as it is. Metaphorically, it’s all in your head. Your limits. Your exaggerated fears.
We are the masters of our brains and no obstacle should be big enough to stop us from achieving goals, provided we have the right attitude.
Theranos, Improbable, Leap Motion, Internet.org, Airbnb, SpaceX, Hyperloop concept, Illumina… their founders give true meaning to the words: what your mind can conceive, it can achieve.
The guys at Improbable are trying to create an operating environment that makes simulated worlds possible. They explain it on their website like that:
Simulated worlds are digital spaces that can run in real time containing millions of entities with interesting behaviour that work in concert to create functioning worlds: spaces with their own rules and properties that a multitude of people can simultaneously change, explore and visualise in as many different ways as developers can imagine. We think simulated worlds can be used to solve problems in areas as diverse as defence, healthcare, economics and entertainment.
Making simulated worlds of this kind involves many technical challenges. One of the hardest ones is distributing a simulation of this scale across thousands of servers in real time. The elements of these simulations have many interdependent layers of complexity, most of which are not embarrassingly parallelisable (so traditional approaches to scaling won’t work). You can imagine our approach as a swarm of decentralised, heterogenous workers collaborating together to form a simulation much larger than any single worker can understand.
Still difficult to conceive? Remember Second Life? Then think of idea at Improbable as 1000 x more complex and more real one which can be applied to infinite industries such as defence, medicine etc.
This very friend working in Improbable also told me that Marc from Andreessen & Horowitz was extremely impressed with their project also because these guys went against the flow and created something, which is not yet another service start-up. These guys brought a breath of freshness by taking on a very difficult task on building something improbable.
Sure, when you hear these kind of stories – this whole thing can be a bit intimidating. Especially that behind those huge concepts often stand people younger than yourself. Sometimes they got there through “little” help from their well-situated, influential parents. Sometimes it was the right timing and being at the right place.
Add this to the fact that e.g. your first serious SaaS start-up hasn’t taken off the ground yet and you had to make it dormant to pursue plan B.
But that shouldn’t stop any of you (definitely not me) from trying and showing to the world that you have the willingness to create. To make mistakes and learn. You may be surprised how many people will quickly want to help you and identify themselves with you. They will be forgiving about mistakes you make, as long as you take the lesson and show gratitude. Since I launched Amuse website and started spreading the word more heavily, I got myself talking with people who want to offer genuine help in spreading the news and believe in this project. I took on my shoulders another big project (obviously, I can’t settle for less even if I wanted to).
Amuse mission is to create an awesome technology hub (talented tech community) in Poland with innovative consultancy based in London, which will take on inspiring tech projects. Then, once these projects are developed, tested and having gained traction, will be pushed on international markets and supported by foreign capital. I see it as a win-win situation, because considering lower initial costs in Poland, Amuse will greatly increase chances of many businesses to take innovative ideas off the ground and get them tested. Materialised dreams.
I want Amuse to be the medium to promote Polish talent and contribute to building innovative and more connected world. I owe it to my country. I want to enforce conversation between Poland and foreign countries who want to innovate and create synergy effect by collaboration. I dream on creating a truly talented environment around me doing awesome things, incomprehensible things. Alone, we are fragile and insignificant to the whole. Together, we can make a difference.
Even if for you it sounds idyllic and silly, I chose to work ignorance and naivety in my favour. The world is not cruel and unfair for me. It’s filled with awesome individuals who, given right conditions and feeling belonged to like-minded community, can achieve improbable.
I will always try be an example of a passionate individual, even if for now, that only means raising from failures and trying again and again and again. So if you want to join me in this long, tough but awefuckingsome journey – give me a shout.
As they say: don’t think outside the box, because there is no box.
PS. Yeah! Finally a shorter article, and not another Homeric epic.