Med School Hell – An Entrepreneur Speaks

This post is raw and holds nothing back. If you’re uncomfortable with vulgar language, please turn back.

June 21, 2007
By: Hoover

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Some people work to pay the bills. Some people work to achieve power. Some people, like us, are so passionate about creating things, the prospect of being able to create with no rules, no oversight, and no strings attached is just about the most appealing job in the world.

Very powerful words.

“Very powerful words” used to link to another page, which does not exist anymore. It is an excellent essay, which you will find below:

How to make being unemployed sound sexy

By Bret Taylor, June 7, 2007

I have always had the entrepreneurial “bug.” It’s hard to describe to people who don’t have it. Why give up a secure job at one of the most well-respected companies in the world? Why go from virtually guaranteed to success to searching the couch for change to buy servers for a product that few people may ever use? The answer to those questions is partially rational and partially irrational. It’s like asking why a comic book collector wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a first edition of a comic book no one reads anymore. It’s not just a financial investment — it’s an investment in your happiness, an investment in your psychological well-being.

Jim and I both work at Google. Collectively, we have played a part in so many products and worked with so many amazing people at Google in the past four years, I have almost lost count. We worked on the incredible team that launched Google Maps. The Developer team I founded just celebrated a significant milestone, hosting Google’s first ever global developer conference with over 5,000 attendees in 10 countries around the world. Jim was wrapping up an 8,500 line code review the day before he left. So why leave? Why now?

Well, the main reason is, as you may have inferred from my introduction, entirely personal — partially rational, partially irrational. Some people work to pay the bills. Some people work to achieve power. Some people, like us, are so passionate about creating things, the prospect of being able to create with no rules, no oversight, and no strings attached is just about the most appealing job in the world.

I woke up one day a few months ago in the middle of the night, frustrated with a number of aspects of my day-to-day job at Google, and I realized that the career path I was on was not for me. I was climbing the ladder — getting promoted, moving from “individual contributor” to “manager” (corporate speak for “doing less and less every day”), managing more and more products, and gaining more and more authority in what I consider to be the most exciting company in the world. Despite my ascent, I came home disenchanted most evenings, unable to express what was bothering me so much. I wanted to write code, make mockups — create again. But I liked defining product strategy. I didn’t want to be a code monkey, a cog in a machine I had no control over (I had been there, and it was much worse). What I was craving was not the top of the ladder, but a completely different role: founder.

Founder is one of those funny, partially meaningless job titles that means something different to everyone in Silicon Valley. To me, it represents the opportunity to venture down paths larger companies are unwilling to explore, define markets that didn’t exist before, take risks no larger company could bear. Thousands of times more risk, but commensurate reward if you manage to survive the process. Edge-of-your-seat decision making and products that have to be good, or you disappear completely — no product bundling or a marketing machine to fall back on. It is creating in its purest form.

Jim and I are starting this process after taking a couple weeks off to relax and complete the long list of personal errands we have been putting off for the past four years. A number of friends and family members requested we set up a blog or mailing list so they could get updates on our progress, which inspired this web site. You can subscribe to our feed. You can also get updates via email. We will probably post about once a week, and likely less as the company we are building gets going.

Are you convinced to leave medicine? If so, you may feel like you are alone. You may feel clueless about what to do next. However, quitting medicine could turn out better than you have ever thought possible. And here is why you should get out …

This article is part of Hoover’s Med School Hell series. Med School Hell reveals the crazy truth about the crappiness of the US medical education and healthcare system … while making you laugh so hard, you’ll crap in your pants.

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