Elle Morrill


I’ve Got Big Plans Heading Into 2022

Wow, another year in the books! I came into December ready to be done with “school” (Hudson) and feeling pretty spent after a year full of endings and beginnings, including riotously intense periods of effort and intentional idling and reclaiming of time. I’ve established boundaries and simplified my work down to ~20 hours per week, and I’m loving the time freedom.

In 2021 I continued to stretch my working identity beyond startups founder and employee, dipping my toe deeper into public service with a Governor-appointed board position and also making a move toward professional coaching as an ongoing vocation.

I also made the transition back to startup founder after a 4 year break that saw me take a year of sabbatical, lead an internal startup (which was spun out and backed by GV), and join the senior management team of a multi-billion dollar startup with a lot more experience and perspective than last time around (Twilio). During that time, I had my first opportunity to report to a professional CMO and got an up close and personal look at the largest Sales & Marketing machine I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to so far.

For this new startup, I have identified my sweet spot as reporting to the CEO, instead of being one. I’ve grown a lot as a leader through all my experiences, and I’m so excited to bring this next iteration of myself as founder to Firstparty alongside Jonathan. For my next act, I’m going to stretch into the CTO role for the first time.

I could not have completed these milestones without the love, help and support of my husband, my friends, my boss, my colleagues, my investing partners, my learning group, and my community both online and IRL.

I’ve also had the privilege of retaining a wonderful supporting staff (housekeeper, gardener, personal assistant) and a suite of software solutions (Calendly, Reclaim.ai, Zoom, Linear, Sanebox, Audible) who make the day-to-day of living and working a-sync and fully remote across two businesses possible. Thank you!

2021 Milestones

2021 Lamborghini Huracán EVO Spyder in Blu Cepheus

2022 Forecast

  • Get pregnant (I’ve changed my tune about having kids)
  • Spend more time with my nephews and nieces and extended family
  • House remodel Part 1
  • Run the coaching business (Objective: reach $100K annual revenue)
  • Run the startup (Objective: Product Market Fit)
  • Finish reading 200 books (I have 352 in “Currently Reading”)
  • Start NO new businesses in 2022

On Having Kids

TL;DR We’re going to attempt to make some little humans to nurture and love. Their existence will bring more meaning, joy, play, adventure, novelty, and entropy into our lives. I can’t wait!

In June 2019 I wrote a post about my decision to be child-free, and now just over 2 years later, after a second dog and during an ongoing global pandemic, I changed my mind. As usual, the process was a combination of effort and good fortune. Here’s a brief rundown:

I got a lot closer to my husband during the pandemic, after 10+ years of hectic startup life. Looking back its wild to remember that I returned from my honeymoon in 2007 and dove straight into my first startup job. Even after a year of sabbatical in 2018, only the pandemic really slowed me down enough to let myself invest deeply in our the long term vision for our relationship and life together. I love you Kevin.

Working at GitLab radically changed my understand of what work/life integration could look like, and modeled for me a different vision of my professional future. It inspired me with a real-life example of the kind of workplace I will create for others as a business owner. Fundamentally the emphasis is on results delivered, not hours worked.

I got a lot more dialed into what brings meaning and joy to my life. Turns out, its more than startups! I’m finding though my work as a coach and public servant that I derive a great deal of meaning and enjoyment from bringing my passion for leadership and talent development to new contexts. I’m much more comfortable with interdependence, ambiguity, and patience for waiting at the “middle places” in life.

I accepted my own finite lifetime as a real thing, and started living accordingly. Accepting this fact enabled me recognize that the choice to have kids or not is a one-way door decision, and could potentially be a source of deep regret for me in the future. I used to think I would regret having kids, because I saw it as trading off my ambitions and time. Now that my ambitions have been (and continue to be) realized, and I have a system for managing my time and boundaries, I’ve effectively mitigated those downside risks. I’ve also accepted that living a life with no regrets is simply not possible, and set that perfectionism aside.

I made a life-changing amount of money, and I’m going to use it make parenting easier wherever possible. This is an incredible privilege, and I plan to deploy it against whatever barriers we come up against.

I’m sure I left something out, and it really feels like this short post hardly begins to express the thought and care that has gone into changing our minds. Ultimately, this is a deeply personal choice, which I expect will completely change my life and rock my world, in ways that I can read about but are clearly something one has to experience first-hand to really understand. I look forward to being humbled, greatly.

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