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The Next 30 Trips (Issue #1)
Welcome to The Next 30 Trips, where I'll explore "doing hard things well," or put another way: building cool stuff while taking care of yourself along the way.
The concept came from a tweet:
This came from a desire to connect with other people who are working on ambitious projects to figure out not only how they do it, but how they take care of themselves and their teams along the way.
I struggled with this balance in my early career. I spent the first decade out of school working on some of the coolest projects in New Space: helping design, build, and operate the first west coast Falcon 9 launch site as lead field engineer; helping build and deploy the SpaceX landing barge on its first missions out at sea; working on rocket launches in Alaska, and just about everything in-between. But along that path also ended up depressed, divorced, mired in ego, and without purpose beyond the mission of an all-consuming day job.
Don't get me wrong - I learned a lot and was fortunate to experience so many transformational events early in my career:
But when I started The Launch Company, my current business, I knew I had to do things differently and that the same approach wouldn't take me new places. It wasn't enough to do the work and do it well, this time I wanted to get the other parts of life right as well and prove that it's not an either/or situation.
We struck a chord. The Launch Company quickly took off and now works with almost every major New Space company. We put culture first and work hard to be everyone's favorite aerospace company to work with, because frankly getting to space is hard enough without being miserable along the way.
I am proud that our team puts ourselves and our families first. It makes us better. It helps remind us that we're more than just what we can produce and it helps bring our best selves to the work, when we are there, which results in better solutions for our clients. I am also proud that our approach allowed us to bootstrapped hardware to space and, as of this spring, an acquisition with Voyager Space.
I saw, learned, and experienced a lot in my first 30 years. The Next 30 Trips is about the adventures that come next, applying the lessons that many times came at a high price and sharing them so that, hopefully, others may benefit.
This isn't writing about business. I have no #growthhacks, tips for a VC deck, and we're never going to talk about hustle. However, I will definitely share stories about the experience of bootstrapping The Launch Co. When I do, I'll try to focus more on the feelings, the perspectives, and the lessons, rather than the mechanics, to show what can happen when we band together with people we love to take on the world, no matter what form we do it in.
Ultimately, I hope to show that while doing hard things can be, well, *hard* we don't have to lose ourselves along the way. Rather, through persistence, trials, setbacks, and little victories we can find ourselves more clearly than ever.
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