Ay, there's the rub.

A Few Thoughts on Start-Ups

I'm writing this in the middle of the night because I am awake due to stomach pains, most likely caused by one of those symptoms from the Pepto Bismol jingle. Upset sto-mach di-ah-rrheahh (It would be nice if I could find the exact version of the jingle I am thinking of to share with everyone, but a YouTube search of "Pepto Bismol Commercial" and "Upset Stomach Diarrhea" did not bring it up within the first page. The latter search brought several other disgusting videos to my attention though.)

As I am probably not going to talk about food much for the rest of this entry, a quick round-up of what I ate today. I ate 2 spoonfuls of jerk shrimp macaroni (from Mac Shack in Brooklyn, highly recommend), an egg and chicken with sriracha (when I was starving after CPR class. My stomach pains began then), half a Dunkin Donut that tasted like cardboard, a glass of iced coffee and also iced tea, and then half an avocado with snow peas sauteed in oil (stomach pains in full force after this). In summary, I ate extremely poorly this weekend and am now paying for it in extreme pain. Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow...!

So, anyway. Start-ups.

I have been thinking about start-ups a lot recently. One of my friends attributed my sudden obsession with this to the fact that I read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In recently, but actually I found this book to be largely immemorable (spell check is trying to tell me "immemorable" is not a word.) with the exception of the chapter on mentorship (Sheryl has some great ideas about how to be a good mentee! But I feel like many girls who would benefit greatly from having a career mentor are too timid to approach someone they think is cool [I have this problem--my letter of recommendation asking-strategy involves e-mailing people I see everyday for letters and then fleeing town after I ask them to minimize awkwardness. I do not recommend this method.] and I wish Sheryl had talked more about this than the extroverts who approach people but then don't do any work. But Sheryl is probably kind of an extrovert. This is a total digression.)

Also, whenever I think of Lean In, I think of how much my younger cousin did not really want the copy I bought for her (I know this because she kept forgetting it in various places over the course of the weekend). "I just want you to be a strong empowered woman!" is what I was thinking. And she was probably thinking more along the lines of, "I just want to teach you how to straighten your hair!" (I do appreciate that she styled my hair. I looked super fly, friends. I worry that her bedroom was devoid of books, however.)

I think I am slightly enamored with start-up culture because it is portrayed in the media as cool, yet elusive. I think elusive is a good word because so few start-ups are successful, and so few have any women at the helm. Also, people who work at start-ups are seem to be young and hip (!), and my future career most likely involves wiping up people's vomit all day (or so I am lead to believe after my experience as an EMT).

But I also think maybe start-ups aren't as glamorous as I think. Given that I have a wholly unmarketable degree in Literary Arts, if I actually worked as a start-up I would probably end up doing something like PR, which I think I am ill-suited for because as hinted before, I have extremely messy hair. Most of the people I know who work in public relations are mind-bogglingly put together.

But I was reading the Brown Conversation (which is not a start-up) while I had nothing to do at work the other day, and I was thinking about how my roommates and I had many discussions last year that are similar to pieces shared on that website. While I think that the Brown Conversation is a great idea (I probably would have wanted to join if it had been around towards the beginning of my undergraduate career), it bothers me that none of my roommates or myself ever thought to share what we were discussing. Why wasn't taking things to a more public level on our list of priorities? We were certainly busy with schoolwork and extracurriculars (I am embarrassed by what a stereotypical pre-med I was/am), but arguably, we did not have any more work than the movers and shakers of our class.

So last night when I was without a bed (because I am dumb and gave away my mattress before I moved out of my apartment/my futon was occupied), one of my former roommates kindly took me in for the night and I wanted to see if we could brainstorm any start-up ideas while we Skyped with our old roommates. Start-ups are all about sharing great ideas with society, right? In hindsight, however, I ended up steering up the conversation towards start-ups rather forcibly because my social skills are probably deteriorating by the day. Although it is also quite possible that I may not have had any to begin with.

We came up with lots of ideas, most of which revolved around food--I don't know if this speaks to how we have been ingrained with the idea that women belong in the kitchen and should shy away from social justice issues, or if food is a common thing that unites all of us, or if we were all just really hungry--but regardless of the ideas, I do think this was a good exercise for our group, even if the start-ups never materialize (the idea seems unlikely as we live so far from each other). The Bechdel test is not designed for real life, but I feel like as we are getting older we spend more and more time discussing interpersonal relationships (friendships, relationship relationships, people who WRONGED us at work) instead of fostering innovation in our personal lives. I vividly remember a time when this wasn't the case (again, the ephemerality of youth!).

There is also the possibility that we don't have anything to prove to each other, which is why we're not talking about business plans all the time. This is a comforting thought. I just worry that we are generating great ideas and then just letting them evaporate into thin air.

In summary, no one should invite me to their slumber partiez because I am the Most Odious. It is also possible that now that I am on my two month break before med school, I have lots of time for ~thoughts~ but soon I will be back to my "Woe is me, everything sucks, my only joy in life is FOOD" ways.

Anyway, it's 6 am, so maybe I'll go get some cronuts.