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 🙂

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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