The road is made by walking
A few months ago, while sitting in awful traffic once again on my way home from work, this phrase from Spanish poet Antonio Machado’s poem “Cantares” popped into my head. As I sat in my car, I was making myself dizzy trying to decide if the business idea I had been researching intensely for the past few months was the opportunity I had been searching for for the last few years. As I let out a deep ‘please get me out of this car’ sigh, these words popped into my head:
Cantares is perhaps Machado’s best known poem. A poem whose words I knew by heart because they are the first thing you see when you walk into my mother’s house in Puerto Rico. I have looked at those words thousands and thousands of times and yet, despite knowing them to be part of a beautiful poem, I had never had them pop into my head like that.
Here’s one of the better translations I found:
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Right before this happened, I was going back and forth attempting to reconcile my experience from the prior 8 years as an entrepreneur with what lay ahead. Struggling to answer questions which I only knew to ask because this time wouldn’t be my first time around. I had been going through that struggle for a few days before that moment in the car, but until then, I kept getting stuck in a mental stalemate which prevented me from taking the necessary next step. Strangely this one verse from a much longer poem happened to clear my mind and compel me to act. In one swoop, it puts the past in perspective and tells me that the only way to get to where I want to go is to start moving and make the path as I travel.
I chose to share this moment in part because it points to a deep connection I have with some words and a work of art I was lucky enough to look at every day for many many years. More importantly, I’m sharing this because that new journey begins today. As of today, accompanied by a small team of very bright people, we are starting a new company named Acompli.
We wont be sharing much about what we’re building for now. The reason for this is because products are what matter, and until ours is built, talking about it is simply not that helpful. Before you dismiss this as another Silicon Valley ‘stealth’ BS move, try and keep in mind I’ve seen this movie a few times before. One of the big lessons I learned then (and many times since) was the price of unmanaged, lofty expectations. Still, I will continue to share thoughts and progress about what’s going on at Acompli as we ramp up. My hope is that the bits I share, including this post, will be helpful to others who may be standing at the edge, wondering whether to take that next step into a new venture.
"Golpe a golpe, verso a verso"
[For those curious about the picture above, it is the calligraphy piece in my mother’s house. The calligraphy was done by my late stepfather Guillermo Rodriguez Benitez, an incredible artist, businessman, and human who chose to hang this at the entrance of the home he shared with my mom. He must have known these words would someday compel me to stop pondering, and get going.]