(an ever-evolving work-in-progress)
WRITTEN BY: RYAN ZERNACH
LAST UPDATED: 04/01/2020
For nearly four years, when I was building my two most successful businesses (to date), I was regularly working (16)-hour days and (80)-hour weeks. The vast majority of my time conducting business was from behind the computer:
✅Emailing & Invoicing Clients
✅Designing Project Proposals
✅Remotely Managing Contractors
✅Expense Management Organization
✅Designing Data Collection & Management Processes
✅Generating Computer-Aided Landscape Graphic Designs
Although I earned a respectable income for my age, I have since sold the landscape design/contracting business to fully commit myself to a remote career in the technology industry with a startup company/organization where I can make a positive difference, sustainably work a “normal” number of hours per week (no more than sixty), and earn a consistent stream of income with health benefits. When I am old and grey several decades from now, I don’t want to be stuck with the regret of having spent too much of my time working: time on Earth is everybody's most valuable resource.
I read/write for several hours every day, and regularly listen to podcasts and audiobooks. To summarize the previous chapter in my life, an all-time favorite principle is that "small, gradual changes lead to drastic results." Although that concept was featured in several books, I have personally found this to be the key to building a successful startup, leading high-performance teams, managing projects, communicating with clarity, and projecting a mission/vision that's filled with purpose and direction.
Until the end of May 2020, I am enrolled in a full-time, online Data Science curriculum at Lambda School — a fully-online software engineering academy (which was accelerated within the Y Combinator program in 2017). Prior to Lambda School, I attended Computer Science & Mathematics classes for two years at Georgia Southern University. With my business background and software education, I launched Archlife Industries with a group of fellow software engineers. I've included a timeline on this page to visually explain our progress!
It's also worth noting that we graduated from Y Combinator's Startup School program (view our certificate of completion). If we don't get invited for an interview, then I'll be getting a full-time 100% remote job in the software industry (already have some options lined up), will continue living in Georgia for another 6+ months, will continue remotely developing Archlife with the ambitious team, and then will be reapplying to YC for the Winter 2021 batch.
My goal in life is to positively impact the world by leaving behind a legacy — making the world a better place, turning sci-fi dreams into a reality, and making the impossible possible — because those objectives are far more important than merely having an ultra-high net worth. However, I am a firm believer that money roughly equates to the scale of impact that an individual or an organization can leave behind with the world. I believe that if there's a will, there's a way, and I'm going to find it — because the world is my sandbox, and if more people felt that way, then Earth and all of its inhabitants would be better for it.
We continue to iteratively enhance our MVP. We find out on April 20th if we're being invited for an interview with the Y Combinator team.
I believe that intelligence is overrated — because anyone can learn new skills and abilities. Rather, I believe that intelligence is simply the speed at which one is able to learn and to detect complex patterns/correlations in life. I've read many biographies about some of civilization's most influential people, and have noticed certain key characteristics among them that I have decided are components for professional success, however you may define that. These aren't really skills nor abilities, but rather characteristics. Skills and abilities can usually be learned very quickly! But characteristics, on the other hand, take time to gradually evolve in oneself — they're more of a mindset...
I feel that it's appropriate to conclude with two quotes from a prominent, global figure. The following quotes are from the same person, and they remind me that success originates from the hands of many:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else [helped to make] that happen. The internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet.”
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t [get where they are today without help from others] — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.”