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From Technology to Business: Finding My #Flow

Who is the worlds youngest billionaire?  Answer:  Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook.  A whopping 8 days younger than Mark Zuckerberg.

How does a tech-savvy person bridge the gap between great ideas and the facilitation of those ideas into a working business?  Dustin seems to be doing just that with his new venture.  I am often stifled by the learning curve of entrepreneurship as my professional skills are set at developing applications for the web and not building/understanding financial reports or internal mechanisms of business.  But I am learning quickly.

I recently read an article in “Bloomberg BusinessWeek” called “Dustin and Justin”s Quest for Flow” where Dina Bass reports the young entrepreneur and a tech comrade have spun their ideas into a productivity suite called Asana.  While this looks like a great tool, I was more mesmerized by the discussion on “state of minds” and psychological effects of spending less time on the day-to-day and spending time on things they care about.  For these two guys, finding that ethereal plain of time slipping away while over-producing is more important than tackling lists.  They explain to Bass, “a single version of the truth” needs to exist.

And it does.  It is called flow.  As reported by Dina Bass as she squeezes the minds of these young entrepreneurs, to achieve flow people need a clear task that”s challenging but not beyond their abilities; clear feedback; and an emotional state somewhere between bored and stressed.

“When all of the conditions apply, you start being able to concentrate on what you”re doing, and you know exactly what you want to do.”  – Dustin Moskovitz

My worry is that at this stage I learn more by failing.  I struggle to find flow between meetings, discussions, emails, texts, Facebook and Twitter.  All of which are upsetting the nature function of flow.  To be consistent with anything you must find the balance between those things that need to be done and those things that can be grouped into a larger set of functioning priorities.  Justin Rosenstein, Moskovitz partner at Asana, reveals that “flow is under attack”.  He asks, “How can you find an ease and a comfort and relaxation, even when you”re literally stretching These include table games, card games and online pokies – with hundreds being available online to play immediately, or the option of downloading the free software onto your PC and having access to the full catalogue. yourself to your limits?”

I used to be able to find this stride when programming for hours. I would find myself in that state where I didn”t realize I was typing, music repeating over and over and my mind reeled at the endless possibilities of the current functionality of the task at hand.  The kind of mystic cloud that hangs around separating my realities from a coder and a normal person.  It took at least 30 minutes to come down and have a normal conversation.  Also,  If I become interrupted it would take 30 minutes to get back into this state.

I experienced it often before taking on a business.

So, how do I go from technology to business?  How do I find my “business” flow?  Does this mean I have no passion for it?  Does this mean I am focusing on the incorrect states by using my programming “flow” parameters for business?  I think changing my expectations for what I want to become is key.

It took years to find my “asana” in programming.  Flow is an accumulation of passion and productivity.

I imagine it will take time to find this state in anything else.

I will begin today.

About the Author

I am a husband to a beautiful wife named Whitney and Dad to a wonderful baby boy. Yay! :) Damien Augustus Shaffer has come into this world on March 15th 2010. In my professional life, I have accumulated over 4 years utilizing a wide range of technologies to develop software solutions for my current employer. Most of this time was spent learning methodical approaches within different environments to broaden my programming knowledge and project planning abilities. These environments include both open source and Windows based development, mainly Web. I also dabble in Social Media and it applications in today's culture and marketplace. I consider it a hobby but some may say its an obsession. ;) I enjoy it immensely.
  • Hi Lucas, great post.
    I think it’s all about emotions in a smaller or wider scale. For me, “the flow” is the emotion of the “perfect moment”, while the upcoming fails project a not distinguished emotion.

    “…, to achieve flow people need a clear task that’s challenging but not beyond their abilities; clear feedback; and an emotional state somewhere between bored and stressed.”

    This sentence is a great description of what it needs, to discover and rule these emotions.

    • Thanks Birger!  I think some people chase the #flow because they “know” it the place where ideas grow and forward motion are obtained at higher rates.