Eight Years

I retweeted something last night that I’ve been thinking about ever since. Here’s the tweet:

I strongly recommend reading the blog post linked to in the tweet. It’s Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s guide to attending CES as a bootstrapping (also known as ‘broke’) founder. The guide itself is interesting but more important is the idea that Kalanick, with an estimated net worth of over $6 billion, ever needed to think about how to go to a conference for under $100/day. The fact that this post was written only eight years ago seems incredible, not to mention that Kalanick hadn’t even founded Uber yet. That didn’t happen until March 2009.

But I’m thinking about that eight year number for other reasons too because exactly eight years ago, I turned 18. And thinking about that birthday and all that’s happened since makes Kalanick’s change in circumstances more understandable. Now to be clear, my net worth isn’t even a rounding error for Travis Kalanick so that’s not what I’m talking about here. Here’s what I am talking about: it’s insane to think how much – good, bad, and ugly – has happened in the past eight years. Some things off the top of my head:

  • Self-Awareness: (sort of) figured out what makes me tick and what motivates me
  • Started my first company the summer between high school and college. Got bit by the startup bug – it hasn’t left me since.
  • Got the opportunity to go to CMU and meet amazing people
  • Went through the rollercoaster of startup life – twice
  • Met, worked for, and co-founded projects with incredible mentors like Chaz Giles
  • Had the chance to work at and learn how one of the world’s most iconic consumer companies evaluates opportunities.
  • Re-discovered reading

I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences or relationships gained from the past eight years for anything. Not even the shitty experiences (or people). Despite what people tell you about life being short, eight years is actually a really long time. A lot of things happen and those things don’t have to be as massive as founding Uber for it to all be worthwhile.

The last eight years have been transformative in every way and I absolutely can’t wait to see what the next eight years brings – no matter if it’s ups, downs, or something in between. And with that, I’m off to drink some birthday beers with people I love. Cheers!

 

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