Dave McClure, founding partner at 500 Startups, says that the perfect formula for a startup is hacker + hustler + designer.
I’ve been trying to figure out which one I want to be for the past two months.
I tried being a hacker, mostly through learning how to program in Python via Learn Python the Hard Way, but I soon realized that I’m not naturally a programmer. My programming friends can go to work, program for 10 hours straight without meeting anyone, and think, “This was a great day.” I’m not set up like that.
I can be a hustler, but while I like some parts of the hustler role in a early stage startup (pitching, building relationships, getting things done), I don’t like others (endless networking, marketing, and selling).
What I really like, I’ve discovered, is design, specifically UX design. It’s the perfect blend of creative and technical, independent and social. Plus, I just love solving problems by designing beautiful processes and systems that just work. I’ve been testing out my interest in design in several ways.
1) I’m working with a WONDERFUL team of fellow education entrepreneurs on the Ideo +Acumen Human Centered Design Course. We’re testing out a prototype next week on our idea to sell healthy, portable lunches for under $5 at the entrance of New York City subway stops so that working class people have a way to buy convenient, affordable, and healthy food on their way to work, even if they are busy, on the go, or lacking healthy food choices in their neighborhoods. It’s been an exhilarating experience that’s really taken me out of my comfort zone because it involved facilitating a team and really talking to people in the community to design a solution that works for them.
2) I started blogging a design a day at design.debryc.com. I’m on Day 12 and I find that I’m getting better and better at what I’m doing! Even though I am COMPLETELY new at this, I’m excited to capture my growth as a designer in the days and months and years ahead.
So there you have it, an entrepreneurship update. In many ways, it shouldn’t be a surprise, I feel like I’ve been designing things for years. It’s just that now, I have the vocabulary for it as well as the determination to take design from interest and play to passion and expertise.