Current Progress

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Luck is when Opportunity meets Preparation

When life gets you down and you go through something traumatic, it takes time to heal. It's taken a lot of will power to just wake up everyday (sometimes at 5am, other times at 2pm), find things to do (work out, grocery shop, cook, read, drive), and try to be positive and optimistic around people and yourself...and some days it's great and some days it sucks. If you're like me, and you have absolutely no idea what the next steps in life are... what to do, where, how, when - you're kind of in this limbo of a semi-retired life but you're only 30 (and poor) with so much experience, passion and insight to want to create something and stand out...but you don't know how. It also irks you that you're supposed to live each day like it's your last and make the most of it...but you sleep through it and wish the evenings and weekends came faster so there's actually stuff to do with other people. You also set a deadline to stop the moping around...

And right when that deadline hits....

You answer a random email from an old friend from junior highschool about making an app and you meet up, just for something to do..and because there's sushi involved. Then it becomes therapy when the friend turns out to have gone through much worse and for way longer than you have. His travels, his insights, his interests, his values really have mapped him in a really similar seemingly random path as you. Then you decide to collaborate and it comes so naturally. To think, someone that I've never said more than "hello, how are you" and "school sucks" and "aw man i bombed that exam" had way more in common with me than anybody I've ever met. It's really something. This is called luck. :)

Entrepreneurs are a different breed, definitely not too many of them to begin with - and in that subset, it's almost like the wild wild west of business. Loose processes, trusts and hunches and limited resources lead to things that can be good or bad. The risks, big wins and big losses remind me of gambling at casinos. Imagine the type of people that they attract. Everyone sitting at the table to play comes with their own hands of experiences, connections, degrees and money - each believe they have the edge to win. In the pursuit of wealth and success, there's plenty of tricks, traps, broken promises, broken agreements, greed, pride, egos, friendships and relationships to navigate through. Having emotion is a detriment...though having passion helps gets you through. Striving to find win-win situations or putting in all you've got to help someone else can be a thankless pursuit.

On the flip side, you can look at entrepreneurship as an adventure...maybe a quest. At it's core, it's a temporary organization to discover a business model that's repeatable and sustainable. It's about creating value and problem solving. It offers the chance to innovate and also to find intrinsic motivations in people. It's really rewarding to bring people together to learn, collaborate and have fun under the pressure cooker of limited time and resources. There's no map on this adventure, but every time you play, you get better at it - even better when you have more like minded people to join you.

What nobody ever told me much you learn about yourself - your strengths, weaknesses, values and limits throughout this adventure. You learn that failure isn't the end of the world, that there's so much more to learn, that mistakes can't be avoided but can be learned from, and most importantly that sticking to the golden rule reaps more benefits than you can imagine. (Karma really is a b*tch)

You know what, I'd do it over again in a heart beat. From riding the elite Alberta train to Whistler as official media in the Olympics, to having heart to heart talks with my culinary heros Vikram Vij and Jason Bangerter, from raising funding on Kickstarter to publish a book to being covered in the largest newspaper in Vietnam (Tuoi Tre), from selling WiFi to a large national retailer to developing a product with Toronto's first Techstars Boston company - I can't complain about my fun filled past three years of entrepreneurship. I've attributed all of it to luck...or just being open to opportunities.

Anyway, my depression is passing. Things are looking up. I'm so grateful to have some of the best, most loyal and caring friends around who have supported me through my slump(s). Listening to my everyday complaints about first world problems, letting me indulge in not-so-healthy-things that makes me feel better. I'm so grateful for all the food, drinks, and couches and tissues, hugs and the referrals, contract work, introductions and mock interviews. My best decision yet has been to spend the last year in Toronto and realizing that it takes a village of support to get things done and take care of each other instead of doing it alone. Looking around and knowing what I have and what's coming, makes me think I'm the luckiest and most fortunate person I know. Thank you.


  1. Never a dull moment with you, tutu! :)

  2. *HUGS* awesome! love the progress you're making in everything!

  3. You have the strength of having been through the fire, and if I know you, you'll end up sharing with others and helping people along the way. This post alone is empowering.

    1. Thanks Neil for the kind words. We are long overdue to catch up!