One Year, Six Products: What I’ve Built and Learned

Exactly one year ago I quit my job with the dream of starting a technology company.  I didn’t have a plan except to work hard and learn.  Yet I could have used a lot of advice in the early days, which is why I’m writing to you today.  My hope is that the below advice will help guide some of you if and when you make the decision to quit your job and pursue a startup.

I have two blog posts summarizing the year and the six products I’ve built.  The first — the post you’re reading right now — is a telling of what I’ve done, what products I’ve built and what I’ve learned from each.  The second — which I’ll post tomorrow (UPDATE: here it is) — is a summary of advice for others who are in a similar position as I was a year ago.

1) FoneDoktor: Android App for Optimizing Performance

FoneDoktor was my first project after quitting my job.  I spent 2-3 months working three days a week on the project, spending the remaining two days on whatever I wanted.  I worked out of my living room, where I setup a comfortable home office.  FoneDoktor was my first mobile app, and really my first consumer app since college.  I had a ton of fun getting back into the consumer side of things and learning Android.  I decided to stop working on it after the first version was released.  I still see a lot of potential for FoneDoktor, but at the time my desires shifted to the next project.

During those two extra days per week, I built two partial products — a Craigslist search tool and a celebrity photo browser powered by Twitter.  I never launched either of them.  However, both helped in the soul searching process while I figured out what startup I wanted to pursue.

Lessons learned from FoneDoktor:

  • Android was a lot of fun.  I wrote getting started instructions
  • Consulting is a great way to support yourself while you’re looking for a startup to pursue full time.  You can pay the bills and have the flexibility to explore and soul search
  • Working from home is incredibly productive, at least for me.  But be sure to make an effort to get out of the house and interact with others
  • Don’t let consulting work monopolize your time.  Make sure you work on your own projects, too

2) TownSquared: Ning++

TownSquared was a startup I worked on for about five months with my good friend, Eric.  He’d kill me for describing it as Ning++, but that’s more or less what we were trying to do. We incorporated the company together and eventually decided to part ways despite our mutual belief in the product’s potential.  We’re still great friends, though, and I’m glad we didn’t let business get in the way of that.  TownSquared was great for a number of different reasons:

  • I got decently good at Rails and Javascript
  • All my backend work was accompanied by a beautiful frontend, courtesy of Eric
  • I pitched a good amount of big-name investors
  • I got my first taste for how hard startups are
  • I saw first hand what happens throughout the seed funding process
  • I was exposed to the incorporation process
Five months of living expenses, an incorporation, and a trip to New York for investor meetings greatly reduced my personal runway.  But the whole process was totally worth it.  I’m closer friends with Eric than I ever was.  And for the first time in my life, I pursued my very own startup, a dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

Lessons learned from TownSquared:

  • Get out and talk to other entrepreneurs — working in a closed area with your team gets lonely and cramped
  • Don’t incorporate a C corporation until you absolutely have to — usually when you decide to raise money.  A LLC is much cheaper, easier, and faster
  • It’s hard to build a product for many months without launching.  Try to launch something quickly and iterate — you’ll feel better about yourself when you see progress
  • Don’t pick a team because your skills overlap.  Pick a team because you work well together
  • Your team doesn’t need to have all the necessary skills for long-term success.  Build a team for short term success and hire for the rest later
  • New York is a great place to do a startup — the city is amazing, the investors we met were awesome and energetic, and the entrepreneurs are passionate and fun.  (we didn’t actually work out of New York)

3) CriticallyIn: Events that need Critical Mass

CriticallyIn was an idea I had that I totally believed could be big.  With my newly acquired Rails and Javascript skills, I learned Bootstrap and built the product in three weeks.  I got the idea because I had two events I wanted to plan that fit CriticallyIn perfectly: a zoo animal bar crawl and a mock Tour de France style mountain-top celebration.

I didn’t give CriticallyIn a fair shot at success, mostly because I had doubts about its growth potential.  CriticallyIn would need to compete with both Facebook and Eventbrite in the mindshare of the consumer, and the product isn’t distinguished enough from the other two to become a serious contendor.  That said, I had an awesome time building the product and have no regrets whatsoever.  I pitched a few investors, too, and learned even more about the fundraising process.

Lessons learned from CriticallyIn:

  • Do your homework before you talk to investors: understand who your competitors are and will be, what the market size is, and how you’ll gain market traction
  • Doing a startup by yourself is strictly harder and more lonely than doing a startup with co-founders
  • Try to validate your idea before you build it.  The product only took me three weeks to build.  Some early validation would have saved time
  • Bootstrap is awesome if you’re someone like me with zero front-end skills

4) BreakStreak: Helping You get into a Routine

BreakStreak is an idea I saw a lot of promise in as well, but the product itself was more ambitious than I was willing to take on — it would have required a mobile app, website, and complex logic.  So I built a totally fake product as an experiment.  Some of my friends were upset with me for leading them on, but overall I’m very pleased with the outcome of BreakStreak.  I learned that BreakStreak was a good idea, but my product vision was off by a long shot.  And I only wasted two days figuring this out!

Lessons learned from BreakStream:

  • Customer development is everything — find out what customers want and what they’re willing to pay for.  Figure this out before anything else
  • Figure out the best way to get good customer development — usually surveys aren’t good enough.  Building a fake product was very effective for me
  • Don’t wait for a lot of customer feedback to make a decision.  Chances are good you’ll never have enough customer feedback
  • Start with a minimum viable product, get it out quickly, and continue customer development as you iterate.  A fake product is about as minimum as you can get

5) CharmRoom: Your New Way to Discover Beauty

CharmRoom is a product I built for a friend’s startup as a consultant.  Unfortunately I can’t talk about it because it’s still in a closed beta, but I had a great time building it.  I worked on CharmRoom while I got MemCachier (explained below) off the ground.

Lessons learned from CharmRoom:

  • Consulting is a great way to sustain yourself while you get through the early days of a startup (which in my case is what I was doing with MemCachier)
  • Try to consult for someone who’s better than you at something.  In my case, the CEO of CharmRoom has given me a ton of great advice and perspective on business in general, fundraising and negotiation

6) MemCachier: A Managed Memcache for the Cloud

MemCachier is the sixth product I’ve worked on this year.  I’m pursuing it full time with David and Amit.  We incorporated in April and have been working our asses off ever since.  I’ve been having the time of my life, too.  I’m writing code, creating marketing material, discussing and deciding on company strategy, negotiating with partners, talking to customers and working with an awesome team.  We’re growing fast and trying our best to keep up.  I couldn’t be happier.

This year has been about finding what startup I want to build.  I’ve struggled to figure out what I truly love, and what I’m truly good at.  MemCachier, I’ve learned along the way, is in a space that I both love and am good at.  It’s the perfect blend of opportunity, passion, and expertise, all packaged up in a company that I love building.

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Lessons learned from MemCachier (so far):

  • Raising money takes a long time.  It’s a full time job.  The process will distract you from running your business.  Spend as little time fundraising as possible
  • Investor meetings will beat you up; investors are good at picking holes in your business.  Don’t let them get you down.  But listen to their feedback
  • Raising money is not success.  Plenty of companies get started without investment.  Ask yourself if you really need money.  If you don’t need any, don’t raise any.  Be honest with yourself — you’ll have an easy time convincing yourself that you need money
  • Institutional investors aren’t the only option.  Depending on your capital needs, money can come from banks, the government, friends and family, Kickstarter and probably other places I’ve never heard of
  • Strive to find early adopters that love your product.  Constantly interact with them and learn why they use your service.  Give them small tokens of appreciation for their help (e.g., Amazon gift cards).  MemCachier’s early adopters have been incredibly helpful
  • Being cash-flow positive is a big deal in the investment community (that is, when your costs not including salaries are lower than your revenues)
  • When you find the right business to build, you’ll know.  I’ve had doubts about each product I’ve spoken about in this post, except for MemCachier
  • Again, don’t necessarily incorporate a C corporation.  A LLC or something similar works for many businesses.  Figure out what you need and make a decision.  C corporations are expensive to incorporate.  But you can’t raise money with a LLC

enter THANKS

I want to thank a number of people that have helped me along the way.  I couldn’t have had such a great year without your help and support.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Your friendship and support is a constant energy in my life that I’m incredibly grateful for.

  • Christophe for your constant advice, friendship, and help
  • Nutron for your movies and UI/UX skillz.  Next time I won’t let you beat me gokarting
  • Jen for your love, support, and cooking :)
  • Eric for your worldly analysis.  Oh and for your friendship, too :p
  • Amit and David for putting up with me
  • Dad, Mom, Carly and Peter for always being there
  • Zoo for your kindness, positive energy, and fun attitude.  And for putting up with me
  • Ashley for Tia’s and the Family Dinner tradition
  • Kimball for your generosity regardless of my lameness
  • Ryan for setting the pace on those dirty uphills
  • All my Mission Cycling buddies for forcing me off my computer a few times a week
  • Hodges for all your marketing insight, even though you’re an asshole
  • Dror for your patience while I pitch 100 ideas to you at once
  • Omer for your frankness.  I owe you a hot chocolate
  • Dust for an excuse to go to Kansas.  Stoked you’re back in CA!
  • Todd for your technical advice and ice skating dates
  • ATM for kanyezone.com — without it I may not have survived
  • Andrew for your athletic inspiration and BBQ ribs.  You’ll kill Ironman Switzerland this weekend!
  • Glenn and Jay for always being huge inspirations and role models.  Jay, I’m still comin’ for ya on Hawk Hill
  • Whit for your patience and endless advice
  • Umed for your energy and negotiation tactical advice
  • Andy for your great soul-searching advice during those times when I didn’t know what to do
  • And everyone else I’m forgetting — friends, family, coworkers, cycling buddies.  THANK YOU

Patience to Find the Way

A young boy traveled to Japan to a school of a famous martial artist.  He wanted to be a student.  This young boy — when he arrived at the dojo — was given an audience by the sensei (teacher).

The teacher said, “What do you wish from me?”

The student responded, “I wish to be your student and become the finest student in the land.  How long must I study?”

The master replied, “How long do you think you should study?”

“I want to study for as long as I need to study.  How long should that be?”

“10 years at least!” the master answered.

“What if I study twice as hard as all your other students?”

“20 years, then.”

“20 years?!  What if I practice day and night with all my effort?”

The master answered, “Then it would be 30 years.”

“How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me it will take longer?”

“The answer is clear,” said the teacher, “ обход блокировки legalrc when one eye is fixed on your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the way.”

In other words, a full, complete presence gives us more clarity and a broader view to find the way.

Source: The Power of Patience

San Francisco: Best City for Cyclists in the World?

The map you see below is a heat map of all the rides I’ve done in the last 2-3 years in and around San Francisco.  99% of these rides started at my house on my bike — no driving or car necessary.  This map illustrates how truly amazing San Francisco is for cyclists.  Without driving we have SO much access to amazing rides on the coast, over mountains, around lakes, through cities and by coffee shops and bakeries.  I claim that San Francisco is the best city for cyclists.

Here’s a view of just Marin, the county just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge (which has a bike path).  In Marin alone you can ride 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 125 miles starting at my front door and ending at my front door, how ever many hours later.

And here’s a view of all the rides you can do quickly in a morning or afternoon, if all you have is an hour of time:

Have I convinced you yet?  San Francisco is the best city for cyclists.  And San Francisco as far as pure city experiences go is pretty amazing, too :).  I love San Francisco!

Some Context

For the last 2-3 years I’ve used Strava and my GPS-enabled bike computer to track my rides.  Strava is great because it lets me compete against my friends and measure progress.  Recently Jonathan O’Keeffe built a tool that uses the Strava API to create a heat map with all of the rides one has done.  The maps you see above were generated from his tool.

10 Startup Facts Panel at the University of Washington

If you’re in Seattle and want to learn more about what it’s like to work at a startup, you should attend a panel I’m in on скорость купить May 2nd at 3:30 in the UW CSE building.  Glenn Kelman (Redfin CEO), Christophe Bisciglia (WibiData CEO), Oren Etzioni (UW CSE professor and entrepreneur/investor), and Dan Weld (UW CSE professor and entrepreneur/investor) will be on the panel with me.   http://www.bandaelarrabal.es/life/gallyutsinogennie-gribi-upotreblenie.html More details about location/time here.  Below I’ll tell the story about why I’m organizing the panel.

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 5 years now, and BY FAR the most popular post I’ve ever had was 10 Facts About Working at a Startup vs. a Big Company.  About 30k people have read the post, and I’ve received a huge amount of interaction in comments, Twitter, etc.  The whole process has been a wild experience for me.  But most importantly, I’ve learned that there needs to be a lot more education about startups.  People don’t really know how amazing working at a startup can be.

Startup education and evangelism is especially lacking at the University of Washington’s CSE program.  The CS program at UW is world-class.  The quality of graduating students is incredibly high.  Yet the HUGE majority of them take jobs at mega-large companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.  I get so sad envisioning these awesome engineers working in a cubicle at some gigantic company, where they may make some small impact if they get lucky with a good team.

I originally wrote the “10 facts” blog post to try and show my friends why they should work at a startup, in particular at a startup I’m doing right now :).  My original blog post inspired me to put together the panel I mentioned in the intro to this blog post.  My hope is that Glenn, Christophe, Dan, Oren, and myself can inspire the UW CSE community to consider working at a startup.

I hope to see you on May 2nd!  Bring your friends, invite others that may be interested.  Even if we don’t convince you to work at a startup, at least you’ll understand what they’re all about.  See here for more details about the panel — location, time, etc.

Here We Go Again – Introducing MemCachier

The last nine months have been a practice in self discovery — I’ve been keeping myself busy trying out startup ideas, consulting, and talking to investors and other entrepreneurs.  I’m pleased to say that the search has been postponed for now.  I’m working on MemCachier, a better memcache for Heroku.  And I’m working on it for the long run.  We’re going to turn MemCachier into a thriving business, and I’m stoked for the opportunity!

MemCachier provides a caching service to web developers that gives them an easier, cheaper way to scale their website.  Currently it’s available as an addon in Heroku.  Nerd stuff, I know.  But the reality is that I’m a nerd and I’m good at nerd stuff.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m working with Amit and his lab mate, David — the three of us make a great founding team.

Amit started building MemCachier about six months ago.  He launched it in private, then public beta on Heroku.  And earlier this week we launched into general availability.  Times are very exciting, and I’m stoked to have been invited by Amit to work on this with him.  My primary responsibilities will be on the business/company side of things, although I expect I’ll write a little code here and there as well.

MemCachier isn’t an entirely new concept — memcached has been around for a long time for websites who manage their own servers.  But memcached hasn’t yet been offered as an easy, managed solution in the cloud.  Enter MemCachier: the primary goal is to make caching easy for developers.

Anyway, I thought I’d update you guys with what I’ve been working on.  If any of you use a cache in Heroku, EC2, or anywhere, I’d LOVE to get your feedback.

What I Learned from Making a Fake Product

I originally envisioned BreakStreak helping me and my friends be better about getting into a routine such as cooking more, working out, running, etc.  Rather than build a full fledged product, with a mobile app, complex reminders and check ins, and payment processing, I thought it’d be great to run an experiment first.  BreakStreak.com makes its users think they’re using a real product, complete with all sorts of fancy features.  But really they’re using a totally empty, fake product that’s tracking their usages in the background.  Cruel, I know, but this experiment let me disprove my original hypothesis that BreakStreak is a good implementation of my original vision.

спайс по закладкам в зеленограде The Product

BreakStreak is essentially a wizard that takes the user through a few steps.  The user is asked what routine they want to get into, along with a desired per-week frequency.  Then they’re prompted with a description of the product, and a few mechanisms for tuning their incentives — reminders, donations to charity if they fail, and guilt from friends.  Finally, they’re asked to create an account.  After creating an account, they’re directed to a page that explains this experiment, apologizing that BreakStreak isn’t actually a real service.

see url The Experiment

I wanted to see how far along in the wizard customers would get.  So I built the wizard such that only the user’s progress was stored, not the actual data associated with their routine.  For every single user I know exactly what part of the wizard they stopped at, what data fields they filled out (but not the values), and when they gave up with the wizard.

http://arenda-dogovor.ru/good/doska-net.html The Results

The results were very surprising to me.  Of 271 page visits, only 4 (1.5%) actually created a real routine and a real account (another 8 created test accounts).  Keep in mind, too, that those 271 page visits came from friends who found BreakStreak through my Facebook and Twitter posts — they weren’t a fair representation of the average consumer.

Furthermore, of those 271 page visits, 119 (43%) actually filled out the name of a routine (running, gym, etc.).  And of those 119, many were test routines such as “make sexy time,” “test,” and “masturbate.”  I built a little dashboard that models the funnel and the choice of incentive:

(You’ll notice in the chart that 12, not 4 finished.  8 of those finishes were tests, not real routines.)

http://astradrone.fr/race/soli-po-zakladkam-v-tveri.html Conclusions

My BreakStreak experiment proves two things: героин по закладкам купить people want to be better about getting into a routine, and see url BreakStreak isn’t the solution.  The 43% conversion rate when prompted for a routine is very high.  However, the 1.5% final conversion rate shows that the product has fallen short of its original vision.

I built the BreakStreak experiment in about two days, whereas the real app would have taken me many weeks.  I was able to save tons of time otherwise spent on development by running an incredibly meaningful survey.  Instead of asking my users if they’d pay for something, I gave them a product experience that was real and let the results dictate their buying patterns.

I’m incredibly happy that I made the decision to run this experiment instead of wasting my time building the whole thing.  I’m stoked about the results, even with with (mostly) negative outcome.  Now I can rethink the original BreakStreak intention and either build a new/improved product or move on to my next idea.  (For now I’m choosing the latter.)

I’ve always been a fan of the Lean Startup movement, and this experiment drives home the importance of experimentation, at least for someone like me who’s relatively inexperienced building consumer apps.  Not to mention my sub-par design skills ;).

Introducing BreakStreak

I’d like to introduce my newest project: BreakStreak.  BreakStreak helps you get into a routine.  It does this in a few key ways:

  1. You sign up to perform a routine, say cooking or working out, along with a specified number per week.  Every time you accomplish your goal, progress gets added to your “streak.”  Eventually your streak will get so long that you won’t ever want to break it and start over.
  2. You can create incentives for keeping your streak — although incentives are optional.  For example, if you break your streak, you can have a SMS and/or email be sent to friends.  You won’t break the streak if you know your friends will find out.  You can also donate $1 to charity for each activity you don’t perform for a given routine.  30% of that $1 is kept by BreakStreak to help operate the website.  Again, these incentives are optional.

I built BreakStreak because there are so many things I wish I spent more time doing, in particular cooking and meditating.  And many of my friends have the same problem, too.  BreakStreak is designed to help us set a goal and stick to it.  My hope is that BreakStreak can be a common and useful tool for helping each of us hack our lives better, with the sole goal of making us happier and more proud of our accomplishments.  A friend of mine, Brian, has helped me with much of the brainstorming and product ideas.

Give it a try at breakstreak.com!  And let me know if you have any thoughts or feedback.

Introducing CriticallyIn

I’ve begun building a bunch of prototypes for ideas I have had over the last few years, each an experiment to see if my ideas have legs.  My goal is to turn one of these ideas into a business as soon as one is validated.  I’d like to tell you about the first of these experiments, CriticallyIn.

CriticallyIn let’s you create an event that requires a minimum RSVP in order for the event to take place.  There is a certain class of event that needs to hit critical mass in order for the experience to be enjoyable (think flash mobs, silent dance parties, protests, etc).  CriticallyIn was built to help plan and organize those such events.

I’m using CriticallyIn to plan my Bay to Breakers MC Hammer theme, along with gauge interest for a faux cycling celebration flash mob idea I have.

I’m not going to promote CriticallyIn that heavily, because at this point I’m solely interested in running an experiment and learning from the early users of the product.  If you plan an event or attend one, please let me know if you have any feedback or thoughts.  And while I’m here, feel free to fill out a survey for me here :).  Enjoy!

Mindfulness and Meditation Resources

The below post has been reworked in a new post, here. And the below post is not out of date compared to the newer, linked-to post.

I’ve received several requests for mindfulness and meditation resources. I’ll share my favorites in this post.

Background / Introduction

I got into meditation in the early part of 2012, and it’s now a big part of my life. Mindfulness and meditation have changed me in many beautiful ways: I am happier and more calm; I see beauty in ordinary, everyday things; I feel immense joy much more often; and I am not controlled by negative emotions and feelings; I am accepting of whatever is happening, good or bad; I am more compassionate, towards myself and others; I am less judgemental; the list goes on!

I spend most of my meditation and mindfulness practice listening to Dharma talks, following guided meditations, doing unguided meditations, and attending Sangha. I also attended a 5-day insight meditation retreat in early 2015. Each of these categories are covered below.

Dharma Talks

Dharma in Pali (the language the Buddha spoke) means truth. Dharma talks are 60-ish-minute talks about Buddhist teachings. They tend to be very, very practical, and great listens.

A huge repository of Dharma talks are available here: dharmaseed.org. Click on “talks” and either view the most recent talks (there’s an RSS feed, too), or search for things like “forgiveness” or “difficulty” or “love,” whatever you’re interested in hearing. My favorite teachers are Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, and any monastic such as Thanissara and Kittisaro.

My favorite Dharma talks are Wisdom, You Can’t Stop the Waves, and Loving Kindness by Jack Kornfield, and That Bird Got My Wings by Tara Brach.

I listen to Dharma talks on the bus, car rides, or while working out. They have great perspectives and advice.

Books

My all-time favorite mindfulness and meditation book is Fear, by Thich Nhat Hanh. The Issue at Hand by Gil Fronsdal is also great. Same with The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield.

Meditations

Meditation helps me practice and accept the beautiful principals of mindfulness and Buddhism that I learn in Dharma talks.

There are good, free, guided meditations at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. This short meditation is great, too, and anything from Dr. Robert Foster. Jack Kornfield has wonderful guided meditations for sale, too [1], as does Tara Brach. I enjoy meditations on loving kindness, forgiveness, breathing, awareness, joy, and working with difficulties.

If you’re interested in reading a guided meditation before trying one, read this. It’s a great, short meditation and a great practice.

I also meditate without a guide, using this meditation timer. I do “insight” meditation, which is all about the present moment — what thoughts, feelings, sounds, tastes, smells, and (sometimes) sights am I experiencing right now? Although when I first started I stuck exclusively to guided meditations.

What I tend to do is meditate 4-6 times per week, for 20-45 minutes each. However, when I first started, I meditated less frequently and for shorter durations.

Here’s a great meditation FAQ, too.

Sangha

Sangha in Pali (the language the Buddha spoke) means community. A Sangha usually meets once per week. A meeting consists of a 30-45 minute guided or unguided meditation, followed by a 45-60 minute Dharma talk given either by the resident teacher or a guest teacher.

San Francisco has many Sangha groups, as I imagine most cities do (use Google to find one in your area). I attend two regularly: San Francisco Insight and Mission Dharma.

I try to attend at least one a week. I love being “forced” to do a long meditation, and most of the Dharma talks are awesome as well.

Retreats

Retreats are typically held in silence and last anywhere from one day to many months. The retreat I attended was 5 days and was very difficult, but it greatly deepened my practice. I hope to attend one retreat per year.

[1] Jack’s CD collection comes with two CDs, each with three meditations. The three meditations are combined into one long audio track, making it hard to jump around between meditations. To help with this, I’ve copy-pasted the start and end of each meditation below.

Breathing Meditation:
session: 1
start: 5:17
end: 28:15

Loving Kindness (Metta):
session: 1
start: 33:47
end: 55:45

Forgiveness:
session: 1
start: 1:00:37
end: (end of session)

Working with Difficulties:
session: 2
start: 1:19
end: 11:50

Gratitude and Joy:
session: 2
start: 15:00
end: 27:25

Mind like sky
session: 2
start: 29:20
end: (end of session)

Finding Your Edge

I want to share a wonderful little story from Patricia Genoud-Feldman’s talk about learning from fear.  This story is about finding your edge:

There’s a story about a group of people climbing to the top of a mountain.  It turns out it’s pretty steep.  And as soon as they get to a certain height a couple of people look down, notice how far it is, and completely freeze.  They had come up against their edge and they couldn’t go beyond it.  Their fear was so great that they couldn’t move.

Other people tripped on ahead, laughing and talking.  But as the climb got steeper and more scary, more people became scared and froze, too.  All the way up this mountain there were places where people met their edge, froze, and couldn’t go any further.

The moral of the story is that it really doesn’t make any difference where you meet your edge.  Just meeting your edge is the point.  Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again.  That’s where you’re challenged.  That’s where if you’re a person that wants to live, you start asking yourself questions, “Now, why am I so scared?”  “What is it that I don’t want to see?”  “Why can’t I go any further?”

The happy people who got to the top weren’t the heroes of the day.  They just weren’t afraid of heights.  They are going to meet their edge somewhere else.  The ones who froze at the bottom were not the losers.  They simply stopped first and so their lesson came earlier than the others.  However, sooner or later everybody meets his or her own edge.

It occurs to me that my love for adrenaline sports such as snowboarding, snowmobiling, skateboarding, and cycling is based on my desire to find my edge.  I love trying bigger, scarier things.  Even when I fall or get hurt, I love getting back up and trying again.