Everytime we talk about the reason we want to be in a startup we talk about freedom, about doing the things we want to do and so on. But lately I found out that there is another reason I like being in a startup: I get to meet people I normally wouldn’t meet, people I enjoy a lot talking to.
Just let me give you two examples (and a bonus):
1. Last week MavenHut, the startup I am a co-founder of, launched Mahjong Arena, our second game. For this, we went to The Next Web at the end of April, took a booth and launched there. And we had one surprise guest: the future (then) King of the Kingdom of The Netherlands (yeah, the king of Holland). We shook hands, we talked about the kind of games we’re building and he surprised us with some really well put questions.
It is the first time I am meeting royalty and chances are, if I wasn’t in a startup, I would’ve had no chance of meeting a Dutch King (especially coming from Romania). It didn’t change my life, but certainly made it fun to talk to my parents about it :D
Oh, and I asked him to help us make Solitaire Arena an Olympic sport. It can’t be done apparently, since this it is a mind game, not a physical one. Well, at least I got irefutable proof that Solitaire Arena is a mind game, in case anybody thought different.
2. About a month ago, I visited Bay Area for business. And, at one of the events, a friend told me: look, that is the CEO of Virgin Galactic. He was talking about George Whitesides and not Richard Branson, who is the founder. And, like a groupie that I am (I just read the article on Wired about them), I went to him to congratulate them for what they are doing, reinventing the flight on this planet. And, of course, he was great, he actually talked to me for several minutes and seemed to enjoy the talk.
And, since he was such a great guy, I did the unthinkable: I told him that, in a way, we’re doing to Solitaire what they are doing to flight: bringing it to the new century. I can’t really tell you how baffled he looked when I told him this: after all, I seemed a perfectly normal, even if a little too enthusiastic, person, not the lunatic I proved to be by telling him the following statement:
“MavenHut is reinventing Solitaire, a hundred year old or more game, with Solitaire Arena, while you are reinventing flight, that’s been done the same way in the last 100 years”, I said. He laughed, kinda approved, smiled, and changed the subject.
3. Finally, I am a big fan of Seinfeld (the TV series, in particular). And, since Jerry decided several years ago that he wouldn’t to tours anymore, I missed that boat (seeing him on stage). Until I went to Dublin last year, for Startup Bootcamp. And, in the last weekend there, I got to see Jerry Seinfeld on stage. I didn’t talk to him or anything, but it is a nice thing to be able to see the legend on stage.
Obviously, each of us has different “bonuses” or “perks” that we get from our own startup experience. You just need to look around you and remember that you are the sum of your experiences and hobbies, not just the business you are building :)