Why I'm Doing This

So, there is one question that I constantly ask myself, and that's
"Why am I doing this this?"

I think that it's a question that every startup founder should be able
to answer for himself. In my case, it comes down to a few different

Before I went to b-school school, I was an engineer at Google. It was
a comfortable existence, but I felt like my potential impact was
fairly low. Big company, lots of bureaucracy, and even though there
was lots of total impact, the impact of the average engineer was
pretty low. When we launched Google Page Creator, it literally took me
six months to get through the launch approval process (lots of checks
and reviews by various people). I understand why they were in place
(to be honest, we were still under prepared when we launched), but it
ate up a LOT of my time. Time that I could have spent making the
product better (we were understaffed for pretty much our entire

Google paid me well (I can't complain about that), but overall, it
seemed fairly hard to do something big-risk/big-reward. Rewards (as
they should be) are generally distributed according to how much risk
you take, which often equates to how early you join. Paul Buchheit
made a lot of money from Google not because he created Gmail, but
because he was one of the earliest employees. I would actually argue
that his earlier contributions had higher impact to the company than
creating Gmail (which has high mind share but AFAIK hasn't been hugely
profitable). There were some big rewards for contributions that had
high impact, but these were somewhat arbitrary, and typically went to
teams fairly close to the company's core business (usually having to
do with the ads system). For the average person working on a
non-search product, the upside was essentially a nice salary, a
generous bonus, and some fairly good stock options (depending on when
you joined).

For most people, this was great. Many of the people I worked with are
still at Google (with the exception of some of the most ambitious). I
have a bunch of friends who left school and are working at comfortable
corporate jobs. I can't criticize these people. They are doing
important work for important companies that have impact on our daily
lives. In my case, however, I wanted something more. I really wanted a
few things (in order of importance):

1) To create new things that were my own. There is nothing more
rewarding than creating a product and having people actually use it. I
love thinking up ideas and putting them into practice. There are
definitely advantages to doing some of this within the framework of a
big company, but in this case, you don't really own the resulting
product. I wanted to create things and get them out there.

2) To learn about business. As an engineer and as a consultant, I was
exposed to a small slice of the business as a whole. The best way to
learn is to actually do it. While I have no intention of working a
corporate job moving forward, I would argue that entrepreneurship is
actually the best career move I can take at this point. I will learn
what I'm good at, what I'm not good at, and what I can develop.

3) To take more risks. I don't mind taking risks in exchange for
reward. I felt like I was too risk-averse in my career up to that
point. While I'm a fairly calculating person, one of my current goals
is to take smart risks. I feel like (especially at this point in my
life) a startup is a fairly low-risk endeavor that potentially has
huge upside. For me, the upside isn't a huge thing (I really can't see
how my life would be significantly different if I had a few million in
the bank), but there is definitely a thrill in knowing that my actions
directly influence my outcome. Every morning, I wake up and think
about what I'm going to do and how that will affect the company's

So that's why I'm doing this. What would be your reasons?