Growing up I was told that Not having a plan is planning to fail.
I find it now to be more truth than saying that life is actually what happens while you plan. Most important though is the action you take. And personally I feel that the most useful action generally occurs when looking to help others. Either way though, each action we take is of course, how we get to where we are. This is the story how we started.
In August of 2017, I realized I needed to make a move. The experience of finding a skilled someone to fix my broken something had become unbearable. It would’ve been less agitating if I was only a tenant in an apartment (which I still am) with one set of occasional needs, let alone as a property manager (which I still am) with several sets of almost constant needs and no real dependable solution. We have skilled in-house hands, sure. But the balance of jobs and time to do them is never perfect, delays in fixes are basically inevitable, there’s the unaccounted for emergency situation every now again, not to mention the fact that pricing’s always anyone’s guess, and simply no one (including tenents or handypeople) should ever get used this waste of time/energy/money. I didn’t really have a plan, but I planned on starting.
Ok, I really had no idea where to start, so I started where any self respecting problem solver would… Craigslist. There I put an ad out looking for someone to create a list of all the property managers and specialty contractors in the Bay Area. Having essentially no idea what it would take to get this done, I posted that I’d be willing to pay $100 obo. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
I got several responses in the next few days, which was great. They were quite varied (to say the least) in their scopes of wait time and cost, which was not as great. There was one response though that was immediately set apart from the others. This would make for an interesting change in the plans that I didn’t really ever make. Enter Vazu.
While the other responses were good enough, but basically bargaining the various amounts of time it would take and money they could extract out of this small project, Vazu, a student in the South Bay simply replyed with the list. Not only he do so, he was also kind enough to suggest that I download TeamViewer so he could show me how he was able (with a script) to do something I thought would take days in 4 minutes.
At this point, I observed two things about Vazu. First that he was that special kind of competent that used his abilities to explain and uplift rather than as a weapon to separate himself or belittle others. And secondly, that he was more than likely capable of executing on this idea I had. So I shared and explained that this was a list meant to be a base for a tool that I’d be building to make repairs/maintenance a better experience. He thought it was a great idea and we pretty much instantly began working on a project scope. Little did we know that that was just the easy part.
The journey thus far
As smoothly as that first encounter went is almost about as smoothly as. the time since hasn’t. We thought we’d be done in a few months, and have the platform ready. Ha! Silly us.
Varous setbacks and bugs and missed deadlines and anything else that can be thought of, occured. I actually recall an instance when Vazu warned me that this wasn’t going to be easy and in fact was probably going to be way harder than I thought at the onset. He was right. This has got to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever ventured to do. But I do love it.
This experience thus far has taught me (and hopefully us) so much about what resilience and actual discipline is. It’s coming back to something that continues to beat you up just because you believe in the contribution you’re making that much. I couldn’t have ever planned this, but wouldn’t change this process for the world. And as long as the aim is to be productive/facilitate for others, I’m sure we’ll keep the fire lit and have more to share as we get to where we’re going.