I recently watched "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" on Netflix and saw a lot of similarities between the resolute lifestyle of these Taiga trappers and startup founders. (highly recommend the movie)
These Russian trappers are completely self reliant, living off age-old trapping methods passed down from previous generations. This self reliance gives them something rare in the modern age: complete and unfettered happiness.
Place them next to their Russian kinsmen and they stand in stark contrast. Most Siberians these days live in a vodka-infused state of apathy and boredom (for a great look inside modern Russia, I recommend the book "River of No Reprieve", by Jeffrey Tayler ).
The freedom that the Taiga provides these trappers, along with the knowledge that they aren't beholden to any other man, makes them wholly reject any other lifestyle, despite its flashy promises.
Sound familiar? Software engineers command amazing salaries and benefits right now, and despite this, many of us choose the startup life for the thrill and freedom it provides.
Building products and founding startups is not so different from life in the Taiga. It's ultimately a game of survival and self reliance. The threat of not catching your dinner is always present. Yet this threat of hunger makes the lifestyle feel more vibrant, the food tastier. In other words, life feels richer when we are closer to the hunt and are more susceptible to the whims of the environment.
Many people in the modern age are so far down the chain of commerce, so far removed from the actual action which is earning meat, they don't even know why they are getting scraps tossed their way. This can be devastating to the psyche because the inability to hunt for ourselves makes us hopelessly dependent on a system which we don't properly understand.
I recently quit my full-time job and I'm now fully immersed in the Silicon Taiga. There are no more scraps at my feet. The hunt is difficult to master. But I am happy.
If you like the style of this blog post and would like to have your own blog similar to mine, you should check out Silvrback.