Why did we start a new company and what is this all about?
As some of you may have seen, Pete and I founded a new company that has been a few years in the making from our experiences building and growing tech startups together.
We had a lot of demand from our District clients for different requests that were not aligned with our core product and growth focus at our VC funded company District. This meant that we kept having to say no to opportunities that personally I was quite interested in and it felt wrong enough times that we have decided to start saying yes.
Once we decided to spin up a new company that would focus on custom work i.e. a consultancy / agency / studio style business, we realised very quickly this would be the company that we would never raise money for.
We wanted to take all of the learnings we had working together for over 5 years into a company that would help other companies to not go through the same mistakes we went through at the beginning of our startup journey many times. Find out more about our services via our new website.
What is in a name?
We have some strong values and ethics grounded in our vision statements around authenticity and our name reflects this feeling perfectly, you can read more about Pete’s perspective on why we started Authentic here. In summary we want to have a strong focus on building authentic technologies as our most authentic selves for authentic users and companies.
I am excited that there can be so many meanings in one word: so what is authenticity?
What is authenticity to me?
For me authenticity means embodying and being your most authentic self which can take many years or honestly lifetimes to figure out. I feel like I have already lived many lifetimes in one life and I certainly believe I have had many lives before this one.
But when you arrive in a version of your most authentic self, certainly compared to the feeling of being inauthentic, it is the most beautiful thing in the world. This might sound like BS but honestly I know because I have been on this wild personal journey for the last 3 to 4 years transitioning. I officially changed my name to Lee in July 2020, I had topsurgery on the 9th of July 2021 and started taking testosterone in September 2021 exactly a year ago now.
My own journey: what a wild few years it has been!
Living in this world from the perspective of two different genders is wild and I have not shared much about my experience until now which I am happy to say will change. I am feeling much better personally than I have for many years which led to a lot of personal growth that I am very thankful for.
I have decided to document and be more open about my journey, our new journey with Authentic Technologies and of course our continued amazing journey with District to give you more of an insight into what it is like to be a trans founder in an ever changing digitalised world. I will also be sharing my own analysis on industries such as proptech, future cities that I have always been passionate about and new ones like our climate crisis which I am excited to spend a bit more time researching.
If I can help some other people on their own journeys then I am grateful for my decision to start writing more content.
In truth this also follows a few years that were really tough for me personally which made me not want to be very public about anything.
I am happy I have moved through that.
So what is next?
I have started a new substack newsletter that you can subscribe too, which will be focussed on much broader themes than our District newsletter which focuses on our District tech product (signup here) or our Authentic Tech newsletter which focusses on all things digital transformation and scaleups (signup here).
The new content will be more personal sharing stories such as building and running my company District whilst some major life stuff was going on like going through a few years of court trauma (yes I’ve never mentioned that publicly but will be writing about this too) or realising I am trans and I can have a happy fulfilled life as a trans nonbinary person, as well and choosing to live my best life by being my most authentic self.
My new name: ?
As an extension of the past few years I have decided to change my name again officially. I have been using a new name, Jupiter, for the last year or so with my friends and family.
Although it is very strange to keep changing your name, especially for yourself as it can take some time to get used to a new name honestly, I am very happy to say that this one is going to stick (I think!?!).
It feels great every time someone calls me by my new name and so therefore it shall be my new name because what else do you need from a name? I really love my name now. I used Lee instinctively because it’s my middle name and on my passport but it never felt right. It started off as a joke with a friend that Jupiter Lee would be my DJ name and somehow it stuck.
I will probably use Lee for a while with some clients, for example the clients that I can’t be bothered to always correct.
As a trans person (or probably a lot of other people too but especially as a trans person) you learn to know when it is worth putting the emotional effort into correcting someone who may have misgendered you or got your name wrong and when it is easier just to let it slide for purely selfish reasons sometimes.
So no, I will not be upset if you call me Lee – I have nothing against that name, I would be happy if you call me Jupiter and if I correct you in the future when you get it wrong, that means I care enough about you that you are definitely in my inner circle.
My pronouns are now he / they as well. He has been an interesting journey for me, maybe that will be one of my next posts.
It’s really amazing being trans. It has taught me many things I never knew I needed to learn. What I now know for sure is that I do not know anything and everything will always change.
If you want to follow me on this continuous journey, you can sign up to my new newsletter on substack here.
I am still trying to figure out where my life and work does not collide and how to prioritise what, maybe we can learn some things together.
Never stop learning