Notes from Underground: Eclipse

5 candlesEnd-of-year schedule overload led to an intense week, complete with meetings trickling over to the weekend.  Sigh.   But Friday afternoon was sunny, so I knocked off early and went for a walk in the woods.  After dinner I took a short nap and a good thing too.

What leads to a pivot? You don’t just wake up one day and decide to do something entirely different. It’s a gradual process.

— Tara Hunt, The Pivot (or How to Learn Humility in 4 Steps), Inc.

Yeah really.  It had been a week of feedback and reflection (as well as action), taking stock of where things are with qweries and thinking about what next.   The consensus from my friends and advisors: I still can’t say just what “it” is that’s so transformational.  Sigh.  Startups are hard.

It’s frustrating because even though I can describe the opportunity, the underserved audience, and key requirements for a differentiated product … people don’t seem to put a lot of value on any of it because I don’t yet know what the answer is.   Fair enough.   Qw (Qweries mini-logo)It’s all too abstract.   What is qweries building and how is it so different?  Um …

Maybe it’s a mistake to position  qweries as a Q&A site.   It’s a ridiculously cluttered space, and most of the stories aren’t real happy: Yahoo! was never able to monetize Answers successfully; Cha Cha and Mahalo hemorrhaged money; got wiped out by Google’s algorithm changes; Quora seems to have hit a wall.  True, there are successes like Stack Overflow and Naver’s Knowledge iN; but they’re the exceptions (and people in the US tend to discount Naver anyhow).   So perhaps it’s time to pivot and look at a new category.

In any case, it’s clearly time for a “minimum viable product”: get something out there and see what people’s reactions are.   As for the bigger picture transformational stuff, good solutions are clearly out there, they don’t defy the laws of physics, and I can describe a process for how to get there from there — and a short-term low-investment technology base for the initial MVP.  Good progress!

Which is why, after a gruelling Thursday evening shmoozefest at the GeekWire gala and a couple of big meetings Friday morning, I was ready for the weekend.  The walk in the woods, dinner, and napped had all helped me get to a different place — relaxing, instead of thinking about work.  A friend sent me an email with some insights from Vedic astrology.  This eclipse is in the MrigashÄ«rsha nakshakra and so relates to the power of fulfillment and desire.  “A good time for retrospection and introspection.  Look at how you fulfill your desires and reflect on that.”   Makes sense to me!

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We got to The Atrium around 11 for Eclipse just as things were getting going. There were some problems in the kitchen so the usual “tasty snacks” weren’t around but nobody cared: DJ Anomaly was on a roll and the crowd was totally into it.    I introspected and reflected, on fulfillment and desire and many other pleasurable topics.  Things were still in high gear when we left around 2:30.


Full moon. Swirling Mist.
An impossible eclipse.
Warm lights and candles

a full moon eclipsed

D went to sleep after we got home; I meditated for a while about transforming desire, took another short nap, and then got up to enjoy the eclipse. It was surprisingly clear and by around 4:00 a.m. the moon started to disappear. I took this at 5:30 or so. The fog came in just before totality at 6 a.m., so I didn’t get to experience it turning red. Still, quite a treat!

After a few more hours sleep I was somewhat the worse for the wear on Saturday but was glad I had stayed up …

I heart psytrance.