Unexpected tasks

When you start a startup, you know that there will be many unexpected tasks, but still, you have an expectation around what they will be. There is a whole framework around unknown unknows and various tools that can help you to navigate around them, (these will be in a future (more serious) post). For the meantime however, you know that they exist, you create frameworks and structures to mitigate their negative impacts, ideally giving you the greatest odds of success.

Today though, I realised that I had left some gaps.

In my defence, the gaps posted no operational risk or oversight, just a moment of reflection and entertainment at how varied a position as a founder can be.

Despite having created these frameworks and compared various actions and outputs, costs and rewards, there was an output that was in retrospect, outside the scope of any anticipated outputs.

I had (in a very small way) raised funding for a technology company, to pay someone, who I have never met, to grow a beard.

This can all be explained, but just for a few moments, I found this quite entertaining as it’s completely true. I previously posted about the subtlety of progress and how I think it’s important to occasionally look back at how far you’ve come. I think that having a similar mindset around the breadth of your role as a founder and the journey it takes you on is also a useful one. Research into how teams and their members optimally function under high-pressure scenarios shows that having the ability to focus on the small tasks at hand and then take a step back to look at the overall strategic view leads to the best outcomes. I think this is also true for founders.

A moment or two to look at the breadth covered can be valuable to provide both logical and emotional strategic overviews to check the path you are on.

So why the beard?

As part of FreeUP’s current work to improve our web and public awareness we are shooting a video in a week and a half, as videos are far more engaging than text. Part of this shows ‘Steve’ watching a dial and getting more bedraggled over time. In the final shot, he is a little worse for wear and has a bit of a beard. It’s far easier for him to have a real beard and shave it off than it is to do makeup that looks nearly as good.

So I’m using some of FreeUP’s raised funding, to pay the studio, to pay the actor, to grow a beard and not shave for a week, sorry Steve.

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