8 min read

"If you're looking, you're not cooking"

Startup Lessons Learned from cooking.
Written by
Roy Keely
Published on
May 5, 2023

For a minute I thought I wasn’t going to have a ‘real job’ for a while (some could argue I still don’t). With some free time on my hands I decided to pick up some new skills - cooking and smoking meat were first on the list. An adage I learned was ‘If you’re looking, you’re not cooking’.

Open up that lid and all that yummy smoke that the meat was supposed to absorb…goners! Say goodbye to all the heat you need to keep your 10 hour cook going.

You have done the hard work of prep, planning, marinating, and reading the books to get it just right…now you gotta get it in the oven/smoker. It’s time to trust the process. Sure, a thermometer can let you know if something is going awry…but your best course of action is likely to just sit tight.

The same principle applies to my work in tech. It’s very obvious to everyone on our team that I can’t make a damn thing actually happen. I can’t lead dev-ops, or write a line of code (chat GPT!), or design a website….My job is to let the finest ingredients (people) do their thing. I must trust the process.

At times, I feel useless and attempt to justify my own existence by calling an engineer with a new idea or some new business model we could create. What I’m actually doing is interrupting the process of the magic that people are creating under the hood.

Sometimes a leader’s role is to sit back and let it happen.

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