Dungeons and Dragons figurines painted by myself and my friends.
What's your fairy tale life? What is your dream? Who will you share it with?
A long time ago I wrote about a bridge for sharing stories, on a website I called Storybridge. On that site I wrote about worlds I created in my imagination, and the shared experiences through Dungeons and Dragons that could be had there.
But something went wrong.
Hash-tag life goals. What do you want out of life?
You hear it, don't you - work-life balance. Its touted by any workplace that wants to appear sensitive to its employees needs, or dropped into the recruitment process at some point to tick those boxes we want to see as we move ahead in our career.
But what happens? We never know how to balance work and life. So work becomes our life.
The pressure to advance our career is so strong in so many ways, that we convince ourselves life is watching Netflix after a takeout dinner late at night after we finish another 10 hour long day of video conferences.
Our parents drilled it into us, working hard to acheive our just deserts and to support our family, then after that to support ourselves in our retirement.
But even more seductive is the idea of success and the glittering prizes technology holds out.
There's the legends of people like Elon Musk who create companies and make the world a better place with clean & cool electric cars, or Mel Perkins who founded Canva. World beating men & women who we're supposed to emulate somehow in our professional lives.
Then we somehow forget that its all meant to be that we work so we can live.
Its not meant to be that we live, just so we can work. The reality is billions of us, even if we really wanted to be like those techno-gods and goddesses, never were in the right place or right time to ride that shooting star.
I remember when I found out Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos was a fraud. She never had a technology that could find your medical analysis from a drop of blood.
But she duped Silicon Valley venture capitalists into sinking millions of dollars into her company. She took "fake it until you make it" way too far perhaps, or maybe she never ever had what it takes. But how much really seperates someone like her from other successful people behind Silicon valley horror stories?
Crash and Burn
Recently we have had Netflix screen The Dropout about the Theranos story. It makes it seem obvious that she was never going to succeed.
But why did she fail when Travis Kalanick made another impossible thing reality - making an app that allows anyone to summon a ride from any city in the world?
Uber was running against the laws of society, and every city that it started business in fought back with legal sanctions. But somehow the founders hubris kept the investment money flowing through years of unprofitability.
The founders of WeWork are the same. More and more founder money. Eventually they outspent even the massive money fountain that is Softbank. And yet the man behind it cashed out with millions, while Holmes went to prison.
They all have the same thing in common - burning millions of founders money on an unsustainable business model and yet some succeed while others don't.
I'm happy to have the experiences I had with my startup as I would never have learned what I did without it. It was a very expensive lesson in business and technology, and a roller-coaster experience that is irreplaceable.
But it showed me that luck, and other peoples money is what counts for success, in that world, and its not something I ever want to aspire to again.
They're other peoples dreams.
Stories Are Back in my Life
I am writing again. I've been creating worlds of the imagination again. And it feels so good.
Find out more about my award nominiated game Pandora's Books in my portfolio.
The 4 week creative writing course that I just finished, asked for an exercise to write about what we got out of the course as though we were writing to a friend.
I think my single biggest discovery was about myself. There was a phrase, one of the week’s lesson notes refers to, that “Writing is that one thing which when I’m doing it there’s nothing else that feels like I should be doing instead.” Or something like that. It resonated.
My mum and dad instilled a sense of purpose in me, and I’ve always felt I had something that I ought to be getting on with. That nagging feeling has always been present and when I tried to write in the past I felt I was wasting my time. The course has allowed me to feel that I’m exactly where I ought to be.
This site is how I will use my writing power to draw a line under the chapters of my life so far, and to make sense of my journey.
I've committed to writing my stories.
From now, I will work to write. I have stories to tell.
This has been one of them.