1/18/16

A Note-To-Self: 2015 Edition

If there was a theme to 2015 for me, it would probably be that of “humbling moments”. From the ups & downs of startup life, hitting the pause button on life, to returning back to a desk job (for now), I found myself on the receiving end of both hard lessons and lots of kindness. I’m grateful to everyone who’s kept me in their thoughts—making introductions, providing advice/perspective, and lending a listening ear.

I left Experiment in May 2015. Not wishing to sound cliche, but I look back on the startup experience as one of the most rewarding things I’ve done (and would do definitely again). Startups in general, are a unique place for personal and professional growth. Personally, I feel privileged to have contributed to a topic that I had strong convictions about (science funding). Professionally, it was refreshing to be an ambassador for new ideas and change—especially in an area that sorely needed it.

That said, I also learned that the same reasons that makes startups rewarding, are ones that make them incredibly challenging. Anytime you try to do something new, you have to open yourself up to scrutiny (be it from prospective clients, partners, users, investors, incumbent players etc). Being able to filter the signal from the noise, and not take things personally, was the hardest part of the job. A wise friend told me that surviving (and succeeding) at startups is all about “managing your psychology”. Looking back, I couldn’t agree more.

After leaving SF, I decided to take 6 months off. For someone who’s always jumping to the next thing, it felt a bit unnatural to hit the pause button for what seemed like an eternity. During this time, I split my time across a few things—most important of which was spending time with family (my mom, dad, younger brother, grandparents) and close friends. This was long-overdue, and unfortunately got pushed aside too often when I moved to the US ~3 years ago.

When ready to start job searching again, I kept an open mind. Through the numerous coffees and calls, I re-discovered an interest in the impact investing space. After striking out in the final round interviews for a few firms, I questioned whether or not this was something that was really for me. However, inspired by this talk, I decided that I would continue to try—albeit in my own way.

This has culminated in an proof-of-concept project I’ve been calling Boundary Impact Ventures: an impact investment fund focusing on science/tech. In 2016, BIV will become operational through a donor-advised fund (DAF) structure. Setting modest expectations, the short-term goal is simple: learn by doing. You can follow our progress here.

In my note earlier, I also alluded to returning back to a 'desk job'. To keep the lights on, and stay busy, I made the decision return to consulting. While generally unusual for one to make the reverse migration, I couldn’t think of a better place to be around a high-density of awesome young people while still figuring things out.

I'm excited for what 2016 brings.