3 Years in SF

3 years ago, today, I landed in SF and it’s been quite an interesting ride, to say the least. I shared a little bit about why we decided to head out west (from Atlanta) in a blog post (of course) but I didn’t really do it justice.

Really, what I believed is that life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage and I wanted to exercise a bit of courage by moving to the center of the technology universe and see if my hand was good enough to play.

Or, at least, that’s what I thought at the time.

The last 3 years have been the hardest of my life, full of sadness and disappointment, resentment, bitterness, and a lot of anger. If there was joy it was quickly overridden by another personal or professional letdown or simply snuffed out of me entirely. I shared a few of these thoughts in my 2015 year in review as well as my 2016 and 2017.

I made a few friends, lost just about the same amount, and generally struggled to find a foothold… anything that seemed like a remote “fit” – a square peg in a round hole type of thing was very much a persistent feeling and frustration.

But I simply didn’t quit.

I networked, built relationships deep and wide, and continued to experiment. I mean, to a certain degree, that’s all I could do, right? I tried working for a few early-stage companies. I tried being a venture partner at a VC firm and then an EIR at another. I tried cofounding 3 different companies, one which crashed and burned while the other two are doing quite well (at least at this very moment).

I simply believed that we had come out here for a reason. Either that or I willed myself to progress, to survive. And, through that sheer force of will I’m still here, still married, and we even managed to add one more to the brood.

It’s been un-fucking-real.

Is this the typical right of passage? Who knows. Did I deserve to experience all of this raw trauma? Again, who knows. Did I learn a lot about myself? I guess, but, it’s hard to know.

In the worst of times it all felt pointless and needless. In the best of times I actually enjoyed the suffering as I felt like it was part of the process, the refinement that was necessary to get to the next level (whatever that “next level” really was).

And, if you had told me that this would have been what the last 3 years would have been like… I’m not sure I would have ever left. My life did, in fact, expand… it just expanded into long periods of darkness for most of the 3 years in Silicon Valley.

It also shrank… as it helped me remember what my chief motivations are and why I do what I do. If those motives were ever in doubt… they have now been emblazoned on my very heart and soul.

I’m glad we decided to move to San Francisco; the best days are yet to come.