✔ It's all about passion! - Introduction [part 2]

Note: This is another excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

Introduction - continued...

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." - Oprah Winfrey

It's all about passion - intro 2

My first .COM

I got us the cheapest web hosting account I could find, my very own .COM domain and started coding away. We used old-school FTP to transfer files, chatted over ICQ, sent emails back and forth — the online collaboration was at full speed and we were making our new project a reality. When I wasn’t in my dorm room, we’d send text messages on our mobile phones. Just think about it, it was the first time I got myself my very own mobile phone! Yes, I was amazed how much Victor and I could get done although we weren’t physically in the same place or working at the same time.

We also chatted with our friend, Simon, who was already a successful Internet entrepreneur at that time. We got lots of inspiration from him and were blown away by his small Poland-based company making it big in the USA. We wanted to be like him. He is still my mentor to this day.

It was on the eve of dot-com boom when we launched our product — a small, social email reminder service. We started to charge $5 a month for it. Got a few first customers… and then we discovered such reminder services are offered free from most of the major Internet portals. We didn’t manage to get many more customers. Our product was great but not many people wanted to pay for it. Bummer.

Ultimately we closed down the service. It failed. Miserably. But we didn’t. We were inspired by the idea of building a kinda-company together, all remotely, all at a distance. The fact of connecting my small laptop to the Internet "pipe" and building a web-based application with a friend from "far and away" stayed engraved in my mind. And I never wanted to work in a different way.

It was the first time I discovered passion in my professional life. I was passionate about building this web app, about working with my friend located hundreds of miles away... and most of all, about the Internet and the possibilities it could bring. It was the first time I felt several types of passion within me, working for something truly great. I was happy.

Our project failed. I kept paying for the .COM domain every year out of nostalgia... and when 7 years later I launched my small time and project management application to help people around the world get things done, I used the same .COM name again... and this time the project succeeded beyond my wildest expectations and ironically helped me re-discover these several types of passion all over again. Now, after more than 7 years of running my startup I know I wouldn't have succeeded without all these passions.

Yes, you guessed it, the .COM I'm talking about here is Nozbe.com — my first serious college project... and today my company and my real "passionate" startup.

"As students, sitting far away from each other in front of our PCs, we developed a very efficient form of creation and communication in our project. However it wasn't enough to create what we had in our hearts: a great product. If you want to change the world, start with yourself. Start using your product. Become your first loyal customer. There is no other way to transform your hobby into a successful business." — Victor Mazur, built Internet projects with me in college

Why build a startup?

When young people decide to "build a startup", they very often do it for different reasons. Frequently for all the wrong reasons (like "fame and fortune"). And most of them fail. And folks actually don't know why they failed. I was there as well. But when you start with a passion for something and rediscover "new passions" along the way, you'll eventually succeed.

This book is about the types of passions I discovered within me and within my peers, colleagues, mentors and friends in all these years of running Nozbe. And why "these passions" helped me achieve success and happiness... and a feeling that even after so many years of running the same service, I'm "just getting started".

The Internet kindled my passion for building things, for working with people around the world, for finding a solution to a problem, for growing and learning new things, for helping others and ultimately for doing it all across time and distance. I will never forget the fall of 2000 in Germany when I first felt all this.

Now on to the 7 types of passion and what makes a passionate startup truly... passionate.

"If you’re passionate about your work, you won’t procrastinate — you’ll love doing it, and want to do 7 more. The habit to form here is to constantly seek things about which you’re passionate, and to see if you can make a career out of them when you find them. Make your life’s work something you’re passionate about, not something you dread doing, and your task list will almost seem like a list of rewards." - Leo Babauta, blogger at "Zen Habits"

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: How did you develop your interests? When did you start discovering your passion?

Posted on Friday, August 15, 2014 (passionbook,startup)

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