Not Everyone Shares Your Passion and/or Commitment

This post is a rant. I need to get it off my chest – it may disappear in the future if I deem this post’s tone too negative. Increasingly and lately, I have come to realize that not everyone shares your passion or commitment towards something.

I run a startup called Pressyo. We are four, and we do all sorts of funky and cool stuff. One of our projects is edgeyo. edgeyo is a matching platform for investors and startups — in other words, we help investors make good investments, and help startups (particularly lean startups) get investment.

I am obsessed and passionate about edgeyo. This idea has been there for over 2 years, and in recent months we’ve made huge progress, and only to falter. You see, in late January, we ran into some small problems, and we had to temporarily stop work on edgeyo. The issue was resolved less than one month later, and work could begin anew on edgeyo, but so far progress has been painfully slow.

In economics, we have a concept called signalling, and I think it’s clear that my colleagues are signalling that they aren’t as interested in edegyo as I am.  Typical signals for passion and obsession includes a ridiculous drive to get things done, above everything else. I’ve seen people with ridiculous amount of drive that even with everything collapsing around them, they still get the job done. That’s commitment.

The same can’t be said for our team, I must say. You see, the tech lead live in an oppressive regime, and there was a political demonstration scheduled this weekend. We also had a sprint scheduled this weekend. Guess which one has priority? Definitely not the sprint. In all honesty, I don’t think edgeyo is in the tech lead’s mind any more. And who can blame him? We’ve dragged this project on for yonks and I can suitably understand motivation and drive drops with time.

I keep wondering if I am biased though. Afterall, I DID go catch The Avengers on its midnight premiere. I too, did spend 4 hours last night playing at a Magic the Gathering pre-release. I could be totally biased in thinking the political rally has no significance and that the tech lead is merely wasting his time. But it is important to him, this is obvious, and I shan’t question that.

I think my problem is that this is a team that keeps saying “let’s hanker down and finish shit”, week after week. But yet, week after week, our commits are appalling, and we don’t finish anything. Always there are some reason for not completing the tasks at hand. It is my opinion that if we had enough drive and commitment, the reasons to not complete them would be irrelevant. The worst part is this contributes to a negative cycle. Each week we drag on and on. And we give more and more verbal promises. Our motivations drop and drop due to incompleteness.

Is this team incompetent, you might ask? Not really. One guy sat down one weekend, learn a completely new language and wrote a fairly complex webapp (read: mathematically advanced) in that new language within a week. Another guy is simply obsessed with writing toy application with novel new languages and often does so. The other is a ridiculous polyglot and algorithms master. And then there is me. I sat down and wrote Strangers For Dinner within a week.  The point is, that I don’t think we lack skill. We just lack drive.

And with the mention of Strangers for Dinner, it is the perfect time to segue into another anecdotal story as to why not everyone shares your passion or commitment. The story for Strangers for Dinner is pretty straightforward. It came after watching one too many episodes of Come Dine With Me and My Kitchen Rules. The idea was, why not combine the idea (and mathematics) of edgeyo with dinner parties and making friends? My fiance and I mulled over this idea for many weeks,  to see if it is a good idea. It was. We circled jerk the idea around until it’s fever pitched. Then I took the plunge and wrote it.

I took the shell and architecture of edgeyo, and built Strangers for Dinner in roughly a week. I think this is a testament to the genius of the architecture of edgeyo than anything else.  It’s written in a different language from edgeyo, yet remains the same architecturally. Everything functions the same way as edgeyo. But that is not the story. The anecdote is this: I believe I am totally obsessed and passionate about Strangers for Dinner, and I too believed that my partner was (as were the other members of Pressyo).

And that was why last night she and I had an argument. I had wanted to spend the weekend working on edgeyo and Strangers for Dinner, instead, she thinks we should do something else. To me though, I don’t think there is anything better to do than working on edgeyo and Strangers for Dinner. I already spend a large proportion of my waking hours thinking about them (and various other Pressyo projects – there are 4 projects now), I think every hour not spent on those projects is an hour lost.

I am sick and tired of non-progress. Non-progress which I attribute to what I think to be the lack of passion and commitment of everyone else in contrast to me. I may be very wrong (afterall, I don’t have a mind reading machine) but the signals seem to all point that way. I am sick and I am tired. A normal person will probably want to quit, but I shan’t let this get me down. I shan’t. I won’t.  If this were Mulan, this would be the time to play “I’ll make a man out of edgeyo and Strangers for Dinner, and SpellTrade, and Pressyo”. By hook or by crook they will be successful, and I shall see to it.

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