People have repeatedly asked me for years why now that I can afford it, I don't hire people, build a team and stop coding myself. Instead every day I still work on all my products by myself. I code the back end, front end, I design the layout, the logos, I do the marketing and press for it.
It's hard to explain why but John Carmack explained it better than I could have:
The majority of technical people at some point decide to make the pivot into some kind of management level, whether it's being a startup CEO or just taking a VP position somewhere and managing other people. And there's good reasons for that.
An argument that I would have with myself about how I'd seen the transition from these very low level programming tools writing in Assembly to writing in higher level languages to using application frameworks. And at some level you say "well the next level of productivity enhancing programming development is to work with people". Instead of writing the code yourself, you find the team, and you tell them what to work on. And that's the way most of the world runs. That type of groups, and teams, and hierarchies, that makes the world go round.
But it's not what I want to do. I don't want to be the one doing that. And in many ways that's selfish. Where, at some point, if I said "I'm all about the project", I want to change the world in this way by bringing this product into existence, I should just suck it up and learn how to manage people. And make that happen.
But it is selfishness that keeps me saying, no, I dearly love building the things myself. I don't want to step away from that. Even if it would be more effective. And I know that even if you go do that, I could maybe be super effective for a couple of years at that but then my skills atrophy, and the world moves on and I am no longer at the cutting edge of those different things. And eventually I am giving bad advice to the people I am managing. Or at least not current and optimal advice.
— John Carmack on JRE 1342 @ 01:23:40
It's exactly how I feel. Apart from that I don't trust most people and I think you need a hell of a lot of money to hire people that would actually do the job better than me (arrogant yes), it also would stop me from improving my skills every day. Every day I work on my projects, I get a little bit better. It keeps my brain active which helps neuroplasticity.
I studied business and a big part of that is management, so I know what it entails. But my core desire is creating new things. It's what makes me most happy. I don't care if it's programming, design, music, or something IRL. Whatever it is, creating is the most pure activity I can do.
Doing this has negatives. I'll probably never be able to scale up to a billion dollar company (but do I want that really? and who really does? isn't a million enough?). Automation helps in some respects as I can program the robots to do what I don't want to repeatedly do myself, and they can run for years, maybe decades, without reprogramming them.
Most importantly, I'll be able to keep creating things myself for a long time.
P.S. I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. See a list of my stories or contact me. To get an alert when I write a new blog post, you can subscribe below: