[Ed. note: yes, friends and family who wrote in to correct, I know that the phrase is 'compliments to the chef' with an 'i'. This was an attempt at cleverness - entrepreneurship being a complement to cheffing - that apparently wasn't so clever after all. Tough crowd.]
Recently, I’ve started to notice how many entrepreneurs are interested in both cooking and photography. Which makes a lot of sense.
Entrepreneurship is basically the art of slogging daily through nebulous victories and vague defeats, for years and years at a time. Successful startups are those where the victories at least slightly outpace the defeats, consistently enough for the edge to compound gradually. Even in today’s world of lean startups, of building minimal viable products and iterating fast and always shipping, the process of slogging and compounding moves excruciatingly slowly. It takes a long time to see anything happen, and an even longer time to see anything incontrovertibly significant – anything big enough to impress your mom or your non-entrepreneur friends.
Like entrepreneurship, cooking and photography are about making something from scratch, and about sharing it with others. Unlike entrepreneurship, they also let you do so exceedingly quickly. Over the course of an afternoon, you can create something that never existed before, yet that’s still good enough to be appreciated by family, friends or the broader world. And it’s not just the immediate validation – that appreciation (or lack thereof) also provides fast and clear feedback to quickly guide iterative improvement.
After a long day of slow slog, it’s hard to explain how very gratifying that can be.