How This All Started

How This All Started

That's not me. But just pretend it is - for now. As of today, I just turned 43 and I'm at a major branching point. Option A: Take another full-time job or Option B: run this business at full throttle.

I'm currently working part-time while adding a few bucks from Lyft. It's enough to pay the bills and run the show but when you're doing it as a family, it adds an otherwise challenging situation into something more interesting.

I've been at this entrepreneur thing since my 20s - trying to build something. During those years, I worked at startups and climbed the ladder in large places. Between corporations and government agencies, I've clocked in around 15 years. All of those places were good experiences but I still had an itch to scratch. During that campaign, I've also started side projects with friends - each of those gigs provided experiences all their own. But somewhere around that time period, you get married and then you have a family.

My wife and kids are near and dear to me. Their opinions matter - especially my wife. I've even bounced the idea to one of my brothers. He says to go "Option B" and not only go full throttle but hit the afterburners.

I also love my parents but they have a different perspective. They are immigrants who came from a mostly poor upbringing. My dad did 20 years in the military, landed a government job and stuck around until he retired at around the age of 65. My mom was in finance and worked her way up the ladder. She was very close to the top but not quite. Irregardless, she was happy with her work. She was respected by her peers as well as my dad.

Both were lifers in their jobs. They got their pensions. They have a 3800+ square foot home that they're proud of and they're enjoying life.

Nothing wrong with what they did. As their son, I am proud of them too. They want the same thing for me. They would want me to take Option A - especially if it's a state or federal job.

But like most 1st generation immigrants who came to the states, they only know what they know and they draw from their own experiences hoping that their children will emulate them. Nothing wrong with that either.

That's what they know. Get a nice paycheck, keep your nose clean and enjoy a pension.

But if you really want to go back, it started much earlier.

Since I was a kid, I was always building stuff. I had an Atari and Coleco Vision but I still had the desire to play outside.

Then my Dad got me a Commodore 64 when I was 9. I had no idea what the hell to do with it except to ask my Dad to buy more games - that is until my much older cousin showed me to program on it using BASIC. I literally flew off my seat when he turned it on without a game cartridge. I thought he broke it. Then this came on:

commodore-64-prompt-screen

Then he typed the following lines:

10 PRINT "CHECK THIS OUT RAD."
20 GOTO 10
RUN

It would fill the screen with that sentence and my mind was blown away. My cousin told me there's more tricks out there. "You can even make a game," he said.

Every other day, my brother and I would join my mom to the JFK Library in Vallejo and I would go straight to the computer books. Whenever I finished coding, I would tell my brothers to NEVER turn off the Commodore. Concerned that the computer's power adapter would burn the house down or at the very least drive up the energy bill, my brother told me I need to save my damn programs somewhere. So I annoyed the hell out of my parents to get this thing:

1200px-Commodore-Datasette-C2N-Mk2-Front-1-

It was these experiences (and many countless others) that would shape the way I saw the world. It would extend all the way into adulthood. Before the BBS era, I tried to surround myself with like minded people but they were few and far in between until, of course, the internet exploded.

That's when things were really taking off. I was a director in my early 20s at a startup where I had a blast working at. I didn't want it to end - but it did. It got acquired and I had no idea what that meant at that time. I just knew I loved developing - especially if it was something I was excited about. If you asked my wonderful ex-roommates, they would be annoyed over how quickly I'd jump from job to job.

There are lots of ideas in the world. Millions of problems to solve in this world. Some very important. Some just plain fun. Don't get me wrong, I loved contributing to a team and working collaboratively under a single vision, especially if there is a good leader. Working at all the companies taught me to have great culture, good teammates and I gained valuable experience along the way. But it always came down to why is the company doing this? If it was about money, it didn't last long.

I blame (credit) Steve Jobs for my current mindset.

I want to do meaningful work. If I want to work anywhere, the company must know why it does what it does. That's where I do my best work. If it does not, I will do it myself.

That's I stand for.

That's what I teach my kids now.

That's how this all started.

About Radford Castro

I own this entire bad boy. I'm a husband, father, developer and entrepreneur. I like to make stuff.

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