Archy Will He
January 1 2018     

Gap years

by archywillhe

I used to entertain myself with naïve thoughts about how Chapter 1 would begin. At one point I was pretty determined it’d begin with my enrollment into a grad school as I bypassed formal undergrad studies. Or more ambitiously in the event that I design an algorithmic-game-theory-based trading bot to exploit the Chinese stock market. Or a more recent thought, in the event that I start an AI research lab with a middle-aged scientist from Italy I met while travelling in Dali, China back in early 2016.

None of the events’ve occurred, and I’ve ended up delaying Chapter 1 by taking a gamble with the scientist from Italy, and investing in a romantic relationship with a really cute girl I met in a Sino-Russian equinox party. The scientist from Italy, despite having a decent peer-reviewed publication record with over 700 citations, turned out to be a self-delusional hypocrite. The girl, despite having the most beautiful smile I’d ever seen in my life, turned out to be the main source of my self-hatred inducing a spiral of depressive behaviours in the next 18 months before the entanglement came to a bitter end. Nonetheless they had both taught me a lot in many aspects of life I would otherwise reckon as a pure waste of time. And thanks to them I managed to gain a deeper insight into my own behaviour patterns and reactive tendencies. But the truth remains the gamble and investment didn’t yield the result and romance I’d love to have. And I had let many days slip past without much accomplishment.

i.e. I can’t afford to lose any more time.

The actual Chapter 1 begins with my resignation from the position of CEO with 0% vested share in a start-up I co-founded four months ago with the scientist from Italy and a UK postdoc, after the previous start-up co-founded by the two (wherein I was employed as the lead architect and iOS developer) ran out of funding and died. Upon discovering that the scientist from Italy was unfit to be a start-up co-founder, I decided to dismiss him and repurchase (or basically reclaim) his share. I couldn’t reach a consensus with the UK postdoc however. The postdoc agreed it was a logical thing to do but simply did not want to let the scientist from Italy (whom he had known for more than 10 years) to walk away empty-handed. At this point I would like to dismiss the postdoc as well, especially considering that he was taking a part-time position and wasn’t really that much of a help. I deeply regretted the wishful thinking that led me into doing a start-up with these two guys in their forties who

  1. have superficial ideas about how start-ups work
  2. don’t have as much business connections as they claimed they have
  3. are highly inefficient as co-founders of an ambitious deep tech start-up
  4. emphasise a lot on ideas (especially their own ideas) and would always either expect someone else to take care of the actual executions or get stuck attempting the executions and never going anymore and then complaining about it (maybe because they are old?)

And thus the resignation. Many lessons were learnt though, for which I’m very thankful to them.

I will conduct more start-up experiments in Chapter 1. And I will make things right this round. With the right people.