My dear old dad passed away at the beginning of the year 2000. At the time of his passing he was 84 years old. I was exactly half his age at 42, which seemed sort of symbolic. Well, I took it as being symbolic. In particular, I decided that this would be a good time to leave my existing job and form my own company, which I did with two close friends.
Looking back, we didn’t have a clue. There were so many “gotchas” that almost did “get us” — from little things like “Don’t create a cunning logo that turns into an unintelligible smudge when photocopied in black and white,” to big things like “What's the plan if one of the partners decides to leave the company and fulfill his lifelong dream of snorkeling his way up the Amazon?” Not that this latter case actually occurred, you understand — the truth was much stranger — but it wasn't something we had thought out in advance.
It's not that I'm trying to deter anyone from founding their own company; doing so can be one of the most rewarding things you ever get to do. It's just that there are a lot of things that, if you don’t know about them, can bite you in the nether regions when you least expect it; contra wise, knowing about them can make your life so much easier.
One of the great things about the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) is that you get to rub shoulders with your peers, including those who have set up their own companies and succeeded… or failed. (In our case we had 10 good years, and then we had a brilliant idea and put all of our money into it. In hindsight — the one exact science — it wasn't such a good idea LOL.)
All of which brings us to the forthcoming ESC Boston, April 13-14, 2016. One of the sessions is How To Start Your Own Start-up. This will be a panel discussion moderated by yours truly. I will be joined by a number of engineers who have formed their own start-ups — some with spectacular success.
The first half of the session will involve each member of the panel offering some sage words of advice. We'll follow this with a question and answer period in which attendees can delve deeper into those topics that most interest them.
This session will be held in the ESC Engineering Theater, which means it's open to all pass types — both Full Conference Passes and FREE Expo-Only Passes — but either way, you need to be registered to attend. Hopefully I'll see you there.