The Broom

In the world of startups, especially in the beginning, much of your work (all of it?) is entirely unsexy.

This is as it should be though as the founding team spends their time building the infrastructure, the scaffolding, and all of the core parts that will eventually become something significant.

You also spend a lot of time “cleaning things up” as there’s a ton of waste material that’s created as a natural byproduct of building; it allows us to become well-acquainted and introduced to the “broom,” as Andrew Carnegie once said.

These jobs are important and it’s where everyone shall and will start. Moving chairs, both physical and digital, is just part of the job and there’s honor in the smaller tasks.

I’m reminded of the oft-told story of how President John F. Kennedy once visited NASA HQ and during his first trip in 1961 while touring the grounds he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor – when Kennedy asked him what he did at NASA he promptly replied:

I’m helping put a man on the moon!

Regardless of whether the story is true or not is unimportant as the principle still remains true: If you understand the why then you can bear any how.

For instance, working a 20-hour weekend becomes less of an issue when one understands the greater and more important context, even if the time spent is sweeping up after a long week’s work.

I’ll take the broom.