I work a lot. But not as much as I used to. I'm older and smarter now. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly and I've no interest in revisiting the latter two.
Working at a start up means I make things up as I go along. I iterate. I test. I brainstorm. I tweak. This is the best part.
My company recently had its annual sales kickoff, three days of high-energy, back-to-back meetings with extroverts. It was a pep rally.
Our CEO said a lot of quotable things and one that struck me the most was, "You are the first hundred employees."
I've been here before. Three times in fact.
We're special, the first hundred. We know each other's names. We do water cooler chit chat because there is only one water cooler. The first hundred employees have the biggest chance to pivot and to benefit financially.
Mike Fields, the late CEO of my second start up, had an opinion on this. He often said that the people who would benefit most from the company's success were the people like his longtime executive assistant, who would be able to buy a house, or the product manager whose child could now attend college without the burden of student loans.
The thrill of another win is enticing. But the fun that comes from trying to make it happen is why I do it.