Are you a wantrepreneur?
by Randy Gingeleski
7 minutes to read
Me and you versus the wantrepreneur.
This is going to be a bit of a rant, as I’m taking a minute break from work and pretty fired up. Bear with me. Earlier this month, I mentally walked away from a working arrangement of almost a year and half. Wednesday I’ll make it official. Over that whole period of time, the company very barely improved. There was even an unneeded name change to something utterly ridiculous. I couldn’t take it any more. For the time and mental expenditure I was putting in, the financial return just didn’t make sense. All sorts of stupid stuff was going on. Hey, I gave it a try. I would make these beautiful alterations and improvements for the site - they’d get implemented terribly, looking and functioning like garbage. Much of the time I was lead designer, doing UI and all sorts of graphical stuff, while someone else was developing. I would design gorgeous graphics for the company Twitter page - they’d never see the light of day. All you have to do is change the cover and avatar on the Twitter page. It takes 2.5 seconds. If I had the login, the damned thing would be done. I’d make a landing page to at least stir interest and collect emails while bigger development was supposed to be going on - never gets put online. That’s another couple second thing. Upload what I produced and you won’t have this garbage:
Or send me the logins. Stop the madness. “Why don’t we code an entire system from scratch to deal with mailing and collecting emails?” We could just embed a Mailchimp form. We already use Mailchimp. It would be minimum viable product for right now. “Why don’t you take all these event pictures and put them on the landing page as circles?” I want you to think of your reaction to every circle-cropped picture you’ve ever seen. Ah, that’s right, the only solid use of circle-crops is for people’s profile pictures. These were group shots, wide party shots. And how is the design supposed to be clean and responsive with all these dumb circle pictures floating around in the background? “Hey, could you change this one word on a PDF. It takes half a second in Acrobat, but instead of learning Acrobat or some freeware tool, I’ll just send it to you and you’ll make it better.” The problem is this company, if you could even call it that, is being run by a wantrepreneur. Someone who runs events during the week, makes a living off of that, but has dreams of getting rich off an event startup. It’s easier to talk about things, think about things, than do things. Mental masturbation. Never mind that there’s a competitor in the same city. Never mind they got $2 million in seed funding and have a really strong team, one that’s motivated. Never mind that we have absolutely nothing proprietary versus them. “Randy, I want to launch September 1!” I say OK, I’m willing to fully take on all development. I send prototype pages, ask about the text and content to go on these pages. Ask about how he sees the functionality going. Things I need to know to build his vision. No response. September 1 rolls around. Not even that MVP landing page is up. This person has me on a leash, not giving me enough feed to do my job properly. To be the lead visual designer or product manager. So I split. You want all this success, but you don’t want to work for it. Fine. That’s not me. I can’t be like that. Weekdays, I spend either 6 hours a day physically sitting in class, or doing schoolwork outside of it. Studying, homework, whatever. Then I put in 8-10 hours building skills I need for my business or hammering out the actual work. Development, statistical analysis, design stuff. My eyes kill me. I stare at a computer all day. They feel like, any second, they’ll roll out of my face and plop on the desk. Or explode. I keep going. Sleep 5 hours a night. Wake up to nootropics and ibuprofen, get going. It’s all hard and it’s shitty, but I know I have to do it. Part of chasing this dream I’ve had for years, since early in high school. In 11th grade, I did this morning class before school. It was called “Rxesearch”, a program through Bristol-Myers Squibb for science-inclined students. I wasn’t that into science but thought participation would reflect well on me. I went into school early once a week for the course. Not a big deal. At the end, everyone and their parents got invited to the Bristol-Myers place in East Syracuse for a celebratory dinner. They were showing these commercials we’d made as part of the course, and basically celebrating that we’d all made it through. Giving certificates and whatever. They tell all of us kids to go up to the microphone – say our name, our grade, and what we want to do career-wise. I was one of the last to go. All these kids go up to say they want to be a doctor, a pharmacist, a physician’s assistant. Out of the 20 kids I think 2 of them are actually following through. Most were sucking up to the Bristol-Myers people. That’s their prerogative. I go up. Part of me wanted to lie like the other kids, make everyone happy. Feed their egos - “it’s so great we put on this program, look how many aspiring doctors and pharmacists we have!” I ultimately was too nervous to lie so I just told the truth. “Hi, my name’s Randy Gingeleski, I’m in 11th grade, and I want to run a casino.” After all the other kids, there was this kind of half-hearted applause. After me, there was a moment of silence. Then half the people started laughing. I guess it was too unexpected. On the way home, my parents gave me a stern talking-to. “You’re a smart kid, why not take advantage of that and be a doctor? All the other kids wanted to be doctors, scientists, all these prestigious things. You can’t go around saying you want to run a casino.” I guess I have to show everyone. The environment seems right to make it happen now. I have to put in the work, I don’t mind doing that. I understand the requirement and am willing to exhaust myself over this. Will I fail? Will it all crumble? There’s a huge possibility. But, even if that does happen, I can rest easy at night knowing I gave it everything I had. The wantrepreneur whose business I’ve broken up with has a dream too. He doesn’t want his as bad as I want mine. He doesn’t want his dream more than he wants to just get by, more than he wants to party and get all his beauty sleep. More than he wants to just be comfortable. Wednesday he wants to take me to lunch. He wants to talk about “the future” of the project. It’s all just talk with no results. All wants. I have to give him a wake-up call, jump off the misguided ship officially. It might hurt his feelings. My wake-up call may fall on deaf ears. I’ll almost undoubtedly end up paying for my own lunch. That’s fine. It’s something he needs to hear. Do you have a dream? Do you just want the end result to fall in your lap, like some kind of lottery prize? Do you want it worse than you want to smoke weed, watch Netflix, and cuddle your dog? Do you want to work for it? Are you a wantrepreneur?
(Image credit itsindy)