I've written several times before about some of the places I've traveled to and there's no doubt it was enormous fun. Having big gaps in my work history has sometimes made it a bit hard finding a gig when coming back home, but certainly when I'm looking to hire people, I see this kind of thing as a plus, not a minus. If you can arrive in a strange country in the middle of the night and not have a clue where anything is, not be able to speak a word of the language, not know how the public transport works (whether it be bus, taxi or camel), but you can still find a roof to sleep under and something to eat, quite frankly, anything that might come up in the office is probably going to seem pretty minor in comparison. And traveling through the third world really gives you a perspective on how good we have things in the West, how trivial most of our day-to-day "problems" really are.
Now, running a startup is hard enough under the best of circumstances but Adam Benayoun writes here about the added pitfalls of trying to do it in a war zone.
One problem is that business owners are obligated to give employees leaves-of-absence for their reserve service [in the Israeli army], up to 30 days at a time. This especially impacts start-ups, where every employee has a key role. Try to manage a month without your lead developer or VP of marketing! Best case: you lose days of development and customers who can’t wait through a product delay. Worst case: your employee gets hurt – or doesn’t come back at all.
Man, I fret about getting online to take care of customers when I'm on the road but these guys had it a bit harder.
I had to tell [clients] that their projects wouldn’t only suffer delays. Our clients’ projects would stop all together until–and unless–we both made it back. Eran and I would have no cell service, no Internet, no contact even with one another–much less with our customers in the outside world.
There wasn’t much we could do for them from the back of a Humvee on the northern border, under fire.
It was stressful.
Part 2 is here. I wonder if any of this appeared in their project plans...