Entrepreneurship and Off-Roading

Wondering as an enthusiast for both… are there shared learnings between building a cloud company and off-road adventures?

First question comes to mind: Are we still on track? Ready to try out new paths? Don’t be stuck in your comfort zone…

Years ago, on a beautiful but terribly sandy track in Western Australia … I encountered one of those opportunities to go beyond my comfort zone…

All day long, my mate behind us made fun of our Landcruiser’s rear hopping left and right: Are you on track or are you making a new one?

As a seasoned four-wheel driver and recent 79 series owner, what’s going on … But I couldn’t join the laughter as we were losing traction and got stuck despite correct tyre pressure and low range gear!

True 4WD epiphany moment when engineering (hardware, not software) meets reality… all 70 series Landcruiser have a different front to rear track width (50mm each side). Technically we were forming two tracks in the sand, not one.

Learning one – pushing dirt up the hill slows you down 😊 Less relevant on a comfortable road but in soft terrain…

Back home, I started ‘digging’ into it… Out of many option, the best clearly is to replace the rear axle all together with 50mm extra on both sides to correct the tracks. I’m not going into quick fixes like spacers or offset rims, as these are not necessarily legal nor carry stress from a heavy Landcruiser.

However, taking out an axle and replacing it with a new one? Being a desk jockey, never did that before… Shouldn’t I at least try? Knowledge of the Landcruiser’s drive systems is crucial on remote tracks…

After unpacking the new axle housing, shaft, bearing, … and browsing through the instructions, I felt absolutely challenged…

Learning two – if a future problem seems unclear now … get there and see again 😊😊

Slowly but steadily, I got started. Some fun facts in between: When you take out the prop shaft, mark the position so you can re-assemble exactly like before …

If you need a hammer to loosen something, use a softer metal, such as brass, so the steel is not damaged… Torque settings are there for a reason… lubrication is not a great idea here, as a bolt or thread can only hold that much tension.

Learning three – resistance is sometimes there for a reason 😊😊😊

But once everything is back in place… you start the engine and roll out of your garage, like launching a new car. No loud bang, driving down the street, you feel pride!

This felt like a real accomplishment. Sure, could have saved weekends and had the job outsourced, but confidence in driving and maintaining the car has increased so much.

And this has always been exactly the same throughout startup times!

So, there are shared learnings for entrepreneurship and off-roading. Just that one is clearly more muddy 😊 Or as my daughter would put it: Same but different …

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