Startups (and life) take balance

by Jeff Hilimire on March 6, 2014


Balance is something that I think a lot about these days. Having a startup requires a great deal of balance. There are so many moving pieces and decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. Decisions like:

Where do you focus your time?

What initiative or feature is most important?

How soon do you ship and at what sacrifice?

What is the best use of your money (staff, marketing, rent, etc.)?

The list goes on and on. I’ve seen these types of decisions become paralyzing for some startups as they attempt to build their business and make the right decisions.

Because I have no discernible game development skills, and because the gaming industry is so competitive and complex, I spend more of my time focusing on these types of questions at Dragon Army than I had at Spunlogic or Engauge.  And being in the Atlanta Tech Village, I’m surrounded by other entrepreneurs and therefore hear a lot of these concerns from the other CEO’s in the building.

Yesterday I had a great morning as a group of teachers from a terrific high school in town came to hear about the Village and Dragon Army to see if they could find any learnings that they could bring back to their school. Their hope, among others, was to help their kids aspire to something greater than acing the next test.

During the discussion, I was asked where I learned to take risks and be comfortable with failure. My answer was that I probably started learning this while I was playing competitive tennis at a young age and then into college. When you’re training four hours a day and playing so many matches, you have to be comfortable with taking risks as well as understanding that failure is the only way you get better.

As I think this morning about “balance”, I can also see that athletics helped me become more comfortable with making decisions, sacrificing things for the greater good and focusing on the most important areas of growth. To be more literal, deciding whether or not to focus on building up a weakness or continue developing a strength in my tennis game was a constant decision that I had to make.

Lastly, I think about balance in my personal life a great deal. How can I build a great business while at the same time prioritizing time with my family and community service work? How can I be more efficient at work? How can I be less distracted at home?

Balance is a tough one and something that I need to continue to work on each day.

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