An Entrepreneurial Self Portrait
Dec 9 2007

Picture by my friend Sandy Blanchardbirds-flying-lake-sblanchard.jpg
Shane and Peter issued a challenge on their blog (which I first read about on Naomi’s IttyBiz blog) where he asked their entrepreneur readers to answer questions he came up with (i.e., interview themselves).   It’s his way of interviewing people by getting the interviewee to do all the hard work!   Great idea by the way.

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Since I just finished a post called Why I Don’t Want a Monster In My Pants, I said to myself “what the heck, let me see what I can make up come up with.”  I was just helping my son with his Transformer puzzle that he’s putting together here next to me, and I have some time before the rest of the house wakes up so here it goes…

What’s your personal mission statement?  To make a difference and change the world for the better (not for the worse).

What’s the biggest mess you’ve dealt with this year?  Depends on what you mean by mess.  On the parenting front, I would have to say potty training messes.  On the business front, I would have to say spending more money than I had hoped to.  I probably should have invested in Google stock or figured out how to invest in facebook instead.

What current entrepreneurial efforts consume your time?  Product management, product development oversight, software testing, user story generation, press release writing, assembling (with help) gift cards and mailing them out, thinking, blogging, dealing with &#$#% Microsoft’s Vista OS which results in IE crashing every 30 minutes!  All that fun stuff.

Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? When do you get most excited?  It’s in my blood.  My grandfather was an entrepreneur.  He actually made baby powder back in Sri Lanka and sold it door to door.  Plus, I’m not sure what else I would do.  I like creating things that didn’t exist before.  I like bringing to market products that make life easier for people.   Now if people actually use them and want them, that’s a bonus!

I am inspired by my children’s smiles and laughter.  I’m inspired by blue skies and majestic trees.  I’m inspired by people who overcome great odds and challenges and are still great people/parents.  I’m inspired when people make sparkling connections with other people and the world around them.

I get most excited when I get a good night’s sleep.

Boxers or Briefs? or as Naomi says, Bikini or Thong, duh?!?  No comment.

What do you do when you’re not [designing | programming | managing | writing | toiling for the wo/man]?  Sleep.  Tickle my kids.  Negotiate with my kids.  Hang out with my husband.  Argue with my husband.  Watch TV.  Chat with my family.  Hang out with friends.  Walk.  Think.

What one thing made the biggest difference when getting started?  Lack of sleep.  Our son didn’t sleep through the night (and he still wakes up) until he was 4 years old.  I can’t be held responsible for any of my decisions between the years of 2001 to mid 2006.  He is the reason we started Babble Soft and we even had another little one in the middle of the non-sleeping chaos.

What’s your exit strategy?  Happiness or Acquisition by a Happy company that has a lot of money.  If a Happy company does not exist or does not want to acquire us then I guess we’ll grow big enough to continue to stay private.  Get it?  Me either.

What is the last thing that made you belly laugh? My kids laughing together (i.e., making each other laugh).  Kids can make you cry, whine, scream, yell but the greatest thing they can do is make you laugh like crazy at the silliest things.  Oh and I laughed pretty hard when I saw There’s Something About Mary and the Austin Powers movies.  I almost forgot about the DadLabs manly breastfeeding video.  My gosh it is so hilarious that I had tears in my eyes!

Have you ever been in business before? Yes.  I’ve also been in a swimming pool before.

At what point do you consider yourself successful?  I don’t believe one ever attains success.  It is an ongoing, evolving learning process.  Check out all of the cool people I have interviewed on the topic of success right here.  I think the closer one gets to feeling at peace with oneself and the world around them and can complement that feeling with a very comfortable financial position, the closer they are to success.

Oh, who am I kidding it’s when I can get 6+ months of uninterrupted nights of sleep…now that’s success!

What was your first experience with a computer?  I think it was at computer summer camp and we were working on Atari’s or maybe it was an Apple.  I remember learning some BASIC coding.  Of course I can’t code anything to save my life now. 

My first memorable experience was on a Macintosh.   I happened to be fairly good at typing and in my junior high typing class I was second only to a girl who was also an expert pianist.  She typed 90 words per minute and I typed 70 and that was on a typewriter not a computer.  Because of my typing speed and accuracy, my mother asked me to help her type up her exams and some other documents she needed for her medical students on her Mac.  I remember feeling so happy and proud that she trusted me to help her with such important tasks!  My very first computer was a Mac Classic that my mom got for me during my 2nd year in college and it cost something crazy like $1,100.

Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates in a jello wrestling match, where’s your money?  No comment.

Where do you do your best thinking?  Everywhere and nowhere.  I’m a non-stop thinker.  I even think in my sleep.  Some people think that’s odd.  I am told my grandfather (who was also an entrepreneur) was like that.  It’s genetic.  I know this because my son does not stop talking.  He has not learned that he can keep thoughts in his head and that he doesn’t have to tell everyone everything that runs through his mind. 

Writing this post has taken me 20x longer than it normally would because my son (who finished his Transfomer puzzle) has asked me a million questions and reported to me everything that was going on with his puzzle, his friend who is coming to visit, his friend who is not coming to visit, the basketball game he is going to see with his dad, and marshmallows.  Now he is here trying to read this post and asking me why I’m writing about kids and work.  He is just so darn adorable, amazing, wonderful, and he wants to sit on my lap. :-)

What does your average daily work / life balance look like? How much time do you work, play and sleep?  Let’s see.  I pretend try to sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.  I check email constantly sporadically throughout the day.  Depending on who drops the kids off at school, I usually start working between 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. each day.  If I don’t have a lunch meeting I watch CNN for 15 minutes while I eat leftovers or a PB&J sandwich.  I then wrap up around 4:30 or 5:00 in order to pick up the kids.  If I can, I’ll fit in a 30 to 45 min walk (which is rare) around the neighborhood if the weather is good.  Then I do some more work and blogging between 8:30 and 10:00 pm (unless we’re watching one of our favorite TV shows after the kids go to sleep) and on weekends (like I’m doing now).

I think it also depends on how you define work and play.  Some of my work is play (like blogging and setting up partnership deals and meeting cool people) and some of my play (hanging with the kids) is work.

If I could introduce you to anyone, who would it be?  Oprah Winfrey.

What stops you from giving up when you are frustrated?  I don’t know.  Probably the fear of what I would have to do instead of doing this.  Plus the fear that if I stop now, all the time and money I’ve invested would have been for naught and people will make fun of me.  I’m hoping for another tech bubble so I can be a part of it before it bursts!

If Chuck Norris and Steven Hawking had a baby (hey it’s my damn interview), would you vote for her for president?  It all depends on her IQ, parenting style, athletic ability, knowledge of world affairs, ability to persuade huge groups of people to do great things, and her knowledge of universal physics.   It would also depend on who she is running against.

By the way, I saw Steven Hawking once at a restaurant in California.  He was with his assistant (I think) and I remember wondering if he felt lonely.

My question:  What is something you do (or have done) that makes your kid(s) genuinely laugh?  If you don’t have kids then your spouse, your friend, or your family member.  Tickling does not count as an answer.  There was no requirement that I answer this question so I’m just not gonna do it, but I look forward to Shane’s response.

Thanks Shane for these interesting and bizarre questions and for motivating me to do your work for you. :-)  I have a hard time refusing any challenge!   I started this post yesterday and am finally getting around to posting it today because we just got back from the Austin Zoo.  The Austin zoo houses endangered and abused animals and it’s the perfect size for kids.  They have lions, tigers, and bears oh my!

Since I don’t think Shane is going to pay me for this interview, if you like this Entrepreneurial Self Portrait, won’t you give it a Stumble please? :-D

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments »

6 Comments on “An Entrepreneurial Self Portrait”

  1. 1 Amy said at 12:00 AM on December 10th, 2007:

    Since you seem to be both a busy mom and a successful business entrepreneur, you may find this video from Intel’s Pat Gelsinger on balancing family, career, and life! Keep up the great writing.

    http://iquestions.com/video/view/457

  2. 2 Aruni said at 2:27 PM on December 10th, 2007:

    Thanks Amy. That was an interesting video and it sounds like Pat travels a lot. Keeping track of when you are at home or not is probably very insightful for high-level executives. I wonder how that video would be if his wife was traveling for business a lot too.

    Right now I don’t have to do a lot of traveling but I can see that changing as Babble Soft grows!

  3. 3 pearl said at 6:44 PM on December 10th, 2007:

    you bet! its definitely stumble worthy! those were some neat insights in your day/mind/thoughts Aruni :) might I add, into the mind of a potential Forbes 500 entrepreneur ;)

  4. 4 Aruni said at 8:44 PM on December 10th, 2007:

    Thanks Pearl! You are so sweet! There’s a long road between here and Forbes 500 but with friends like you, I just might make it. :-)

  5. 5 Interview yourself: Lodewijk | How to be an Original said at 5:43 PM on December 23rd, 2007:

    [...] is something you do (or have done) that makes your kid(s) genuinely laugh? (from Aruni) What haven’t I done? He’s only one year old, so he laughs pretty easily and sometimes [...]

  6. 6 My Get Things Done List » Blog Archive » Interview yourself: Lodewijk [How to be an Original] said at 11:04 PM on December 23rd, 2007:

    [...] is something you do (or have done) that makes your kid(s) genuinely laugh? (from Aruni) What haven’t I done? He’s only one year old, so he laughs pretty easily and sometimes [...]