I have always thought of myself as an inventor first and foremost. An engineer. An entrepreneur. In that order. I never thought of myself as an employee. But my first jobs as an adult were as an employee: at IBM, and then at my first start-up.
The start-up life kept me busy and surfaced the problem of not being able to stay on top of my personal finances, which led me to invent Mint.com. I was working 80-hour weeks, and had done enough preliminary work and research to know I had a big idea: To make money management effortless and automated.
As someone who understands what's needed for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to succeed, I can tell you there is nothing more integral to their success than operating in a stable financial system.
Lease terms don't fit start-up lives.
With celebrity being our new religion, it's increasingly difficult to start up on your own. Talented young designers are more likely to either go and work for celebrity brands or huge fashion houses than ever before.
Not that I wouldn't have been equally happy to see the old buddies and see it all start up again that way. But this was more of a work situation, and a very good one.
Back in 2001, my first start-up was mentioned in the 'New York Times' and 'USA Today.' I figured that would drive thousands of visitors to the site and tons of new business. Instead, only a handful of people visited our site, and not much business came of it at all.
In the start-up setting and in most companies, the output is action-oriented. You need to be getting things done and making decisions, often with limited information.
You know what this nation is? It's a disruptive start-up. It was a group of rich guys that got together and said, 'You know what? We're going to break away from the other countries and start our own country.'
Incredibly, oil and gas companies don't have to pay certain environmental costs that amount to small change to them, while an offshore wind project start-up is faced with fees that could mean the difference between building a wind farm and packing up and going home.