I was walking home from an entrepreneurial event the other day when I stopped to look at downtown Reykjavík from my elevated position.
I leaned against a stone-and-mortar wall running the length of the sidewalk and ran my eyes over the beautiful colors of the buildings, the clouds contrasting with the lines of the architecture. I looked over at a bird that was crooning out a love song a few feet away before returning my gaze to the horizon.
The past several weeks have been intense and at some points stressful. The combination of learning a new city and building relationships within it while also learning the ropes of a new aspect of business isn’t easy. There’s no sense of security and everything, from relationships to financial status, seems more nebulous than usual.
Little flakes of ice began to flitter down from the sky, and the sunlight they seemed impervious to made them sparkle as they landed on my eyelashes and the back of my neck. The chill was invigorating and seemed to loosen something. Thoughts that had been weighing on me spilled to the forefront of my mind.
I’ve been speaking to investors and incubators, and the whole process seems so arcane to me.
I know how to run businesses, how to make money from nothing, but all the legalities, paperwork, regulations, and equity plans are things I’ve tended to avoid in the past. What if I make a misstep and pull my team down with me? Do I take some time back in the States after Iceland to make sure the foundation of the business is sound, and so that investors can meet me in person and see that I’m not an absentee-CEO?
There have been opportunities to work with other entrepreneurs and some companies here in Reykjavík. Should I break new ground and start officially working with locals when I’m in town, or stick with the more tax-friendly option of doing business online only and keeping any local work under-the-table or on a barter basis? How much do I want to learn about international tax law?
And how about the other opportunities that have been springing up? The import-export concepts? The side-businesses that I’ve put on hold in order to focus on Ebookling? Will they be able to scale on the Ebookling platform like I hope they will?
Am I following the right path? Am I spending enough time making sure that I’m philosophically fulfilled? Does any of it matter if we can’t define reality to begin with? What impact will quantum tech have on my day-to-day existence? Will I be able to buy a spaceship in my lifetime, and if so, how far will I legally be able to travel before breaking space-laws? Will the word ‘lifetime’ still have meaning by the time I’m 100? How much of what I know is fact and how much is so bias-laced as to be useless?
As each thought arrived, each melted away like the flecks of ice falling from the sky after a few seconds on my skin.
A calm came over me and I laughed like a crazy person; thankfully the street was empty in both directions. The only strange look I got was from the bird, who turned its head toward me, its rhythmic warbling interrupted, to flash me a look that seemed to say ‘All better now? Mind if I get back to singing?’
Yeah, it’s going to be good. Sing on.
Update: February 8, 2017
Ebookling was a very educational process for me. As much as I learned about the publishing industry, I probably learned as much or more about how I like to make money and what kinds of projects I prefer. It turns out that while I’ve been at the head of companies before, I don’t particularly enjoy it. I also don’t like the startup scene, especially what it looked like back then.
I’m glad I had that experience, but I’m also glad I’ve moved on to other things.