Look to windward

September 27, 2016

I have always been fascinated by the title of this novel by Iain M. Banks, even though I have never really understood the true meaning of it in the story. Whatever, I have this expression in mind now that I am trying to build a team for a project of mine.

And the wind you feel when you are selling your project to potential teammates is not a light breeze grazing the hair, it is a violent hurricane breaking each part your body. Looking to windward is painful.

The project is, in my opinion, not bad: there is a good idea, a potential market and possible long-term developments. And I kept its objectives reasonable and achievable with a modest amount of funding to start with. The technical challenge of developing the software is limited as well.  Thus, it is a nice medium-sized project with a vision, a well-formed pitch, technical feasibility and potential to reach a market.

Yet, what hell it is to find people ready to participate to it. I did not ask for 100%, no, it is not necessary. It can be a side-project at the beginning. But, I get during the discussions all the risks and possible imaginable failures, I am explained the hard competition, the difficulty to get funded, the bugs, the security leaks and other trouble a code can offer. I do not even imagine the reaction if I would propose to start a new SpaceX ūüôā

It is incredible how people can be pessimistic. Is it because they care of you and want to prevent you from suffering? Is it animal instinct to escape the danger? I do not know, maybe a mix of these. No wonder that successful entrepreneurs deploy a reality distortion field: it is the only way to deal with the surrounding negativity.

The positive aspect is that you learn to polish the presentation of your project and to improve the counter-arguments. The negative aspect is that I still have not found a soul to share this project with.


Back from holidays

September 1, 2010

Summer holidays are over! I am back at the Institute with a lot of work ahead: plasma experiments are coming very fast, the test bench has to be rebuilt in its new building, I have two articles to write, a poster to prepare,  a conference, the SOFT at the end of the month (I will try to live-blog it) and two weeks of lectures in Padova, next month. So I will be kept busy.

I am still struggling to better organize the work and make it more efficient. I find there is too much inertia in the team. I do not know where the problem comes from: lack of communication, of motivation, weight of habits. I would like to really have a dynamic, inspired group. Of course, I am not the chief, so it is difficult to change things, but I have some influence, and I am trying to use it so that we can produce results, very interesting results, to build new experiments, to follow a logical, scientifical method to get these results. This is my goal for this year. It will be hard.

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