I've been working on my startup for a year - and it hasn't gone anywhere close to the way I would have wanted it to.
It's been a truly humbling, soul crushing exercise. Customer acquisition has been slow, as has been fund raising. Having previously started funded projects and gotten job offers and scholarships easily, I thought the success would be easy. I really didn't appreciate how lucky I was.
I've had to learn to tame my jealousy as the corporate alternatives I've forfeited or the peers who are "ahead" creep into my mind.
I've had to learn to check my ego and lick my wounds as I get rejected and found consolation in the philosophy of the Stoics and the Daoists.
I've had to count my blessings at my past successes - and to humble myself in the realisation that success is a lot of luck. I'm really not as great as I think I am.
But, I don't have any regrets, I think. I took a risk - and I'm happy to take the consequences. I prefer hard experiences and harder failures, then the perfectly paved road imagined for me.
I've learnt more and grown to be a better human being. My life before - untested with low stakes and no failures has been a cocoon. This risk I took prompted me to take a deeper look at myself, and my beliefs about risk, luck, rewards, individuals and society. For once, I've truly had to examine and understand myself, and experiences outside my Hong Kong/international school/Oxford bubble.
I've learnt to be a better entrepreneur and VC. I know what's at stake now - and know that every late cheque I write or decision I delay impacts.
I've also (re-)learnt, that I don't give up. I apparently keep swinging. I'm so grateful for the friends who believe in my mission - Heidi and Gordon, who are pushing us to new heights with this latest rollout. This week is the beginning of the prax+ rollout - another round of engagement with schools, teachers and parents.
Here's to hoping that after this year of learning, this product I've poured so much love in, will find some love with users. I hope that in its quest to democratise and disrupt education, prax+ will stand for more than the better IGCSE preparation - and will one day enable someone's failures and growth. I hope it increases the potential of our next generation - we're kinda counting on them.