Leaving a comfy job at a big corporation when you have family responsibilities, to start something that is "Default dead" (as the great Paul Graham defined and our co-founder Luis keeps reminding me), is daunting! Especially if it is your 1st startup.
For some reason my decision felt quite composed and rational, I took my time, and the cost/benefit & risks were clear in my mind, I had my family's support and for the first time in a while I felt "pumped up" again, energised. I was ready to take the plunge.
If you are curious how I got here and why I'm doing it keep reading...
In my mid thirties I was living in the UK, just had my 1st child, had issues with the family back home to sort out, and work was a lot of fun, but quite hectic... times were busy!
I managed but the result was my body was taking a toll: I was obese, having recurring migraines, and unsurprisingly in the the worse shape I'd been so far. Around that time, I started experiencing episodes of dizziness, so I went to the doctor's...
The doctor's diagnosis for the dizziness was: "it's probably due to stress"... and also I had high blood pressure that "required medication".
WHAT!!! The stress was no surprise (I knew)... but high blood pressure?! I was still in my thirties!!!
Change is hard & failure almost certain
I did what all normal people do: took my meds for a while (and then stopped), joined a gym (and stopped that as well), bought running gear (and left it all to rot after 3 runs).
The little weight I lost and fitness I gained were rapidly written off. I was frustrated, mad at myself, and almost ready to resign to being another fat and unhealthy geek, but at least I was going to be a happy one (so I thought).
...not so hard, if you know what to do!
But then, I had a chat with a very fit friend of mine which gave me some simple tips to improve my diet, tiny changes here and there, and he, unbeknown to him, was to became a source of motivation and a bit of a "role model" (spoiler alert!!! that friend is our co-founder Alejo).
The changes were so simple, there was no way they were going to make any big difference... But they did!
Turns out, like most things in life, change is not a matter of just putting in effort. What you choose to change, when you choose to change it, how often you do your new habit or routine, and which new habit or routine you go for matter massively.
I figured out that if I chose something that was easy to incorporate in my life, that takes little effort to start and keep going, that brings immediate results and that I enjoy somehow, chances of it sticking grew exponentially. Additionally, the amount of effort I had to put in was a fraction of all the gym going, running pushing & dieting I tried in the past! WOW
So I started experimenting with different simple things and slowly integrating the ones that worked (and sticked), and I started seeing results!
Failure strikes back!
I did it! I was back at the best shape that I've been in since my early twenties!
..and then COVID19 came... and my life was turned upside-down, like for most of us...
I was now in a new country, with a very strict and long lockdown and couldn't go outside apart from the weekly shopping trip. It ended up being months in a row working from home, sitting all day with the fridge far too close, and any sort of exercise too far back in my mind.
Inevitably, again, I lost all of my physical condition and instead gained far too much weight, past where I was when I began. I was now in my worst shape ever. Failure stroke back, with a vengeance!
A fork in the road
Again I had to get back into "it". I could not let myself down the "slippery road", too much was at stake! There is so much I want to do and I wanted to do all that in good health!
I had to change, and this time it had to be for good!
Still in full pandemic, with no commuting or a social life, I had plenty of time to reflect on my life so far, and where it was leading. For most part I had what I can only describe as an "incredibly lucky & happy career" in the Aerospace Industry. I got hired fresh out of University into a dream job just before the 2008 crash, spent a good part of my 1st decade there designing & building Earth Observation instruments, and the last stretch of almost 15 years in Technical and R&D Management. I had a blast!
That said, the road ahead in a huge corporation was not that appealing to me, and this made me realise that the time I was the happiest and most productive was when I was working in a very small and innovative team, doing really disruptive stuff.
The team dynamic was great, we all did "everything and anything", we all were pushing in the same direction, confident in the value of the pursuit. It was really hard work, it was risky, most of the corporation did not understand it or thought it would work... but it did!
What we did then was new & powerful, and we made it for a fraction of the cost! I was in my early 30's and saw a full satellite mission from concept, R&D, build, test and into launch! That "high" was not to be repeated since...
Clearly going up the corporate ladder, and letting "myself go" physically was not an option. I had seen brighter days - Time to make a decision at the fork!
A new Journey begins
So what was the result of my COVID19 life reevaluation? I joined the "Big resignation".
I left my comfy corporate job and decided to make my mission of becoming healthier much bigger, I was to build a product that would help others like me find their "healthier selfs". A product that took the best bits of my journey so far, and made it better. A product truly personalised & integrative, centred around the user, adapted to their life & personality, and driven by a spirit of self-knowledge, experimentation and data, and more importantly, under the user's command.
After all, each journey is different, there is no "template" that can ever sustainably work for everyone. If you don't make the change "yours", it will never go past being "a change" and become part of you.
As for the professional part: I'm now in a small team, the dynamic is great, we do "everything and anything", we are all pushing in the same direction, confident in the value of our pursuit. It will definitely be hard work, I'm already sweating and can smell the blood coming. It is risky, most of my friends and ex-colleagues probably do not understand it or think it will work (but are too polite to say)...
But what if it works? Guess I'm about to find out...