Have you ever heard this saying "your 10th startup will be a success!" - implying that your 9 previous startups were total failures.
I see that in a completely different light. Maybe I am deluding myself, but in my opinion it is super easy - while the utmost goal is to build something of lasting value and to deliver, additionally I like to go into each project with this notion (btw, I LOVE notion) of doing an experiment, trying to learn something new. Most of the time these experiments emerge after some time (e.g. you start building, and only after a few weeks you notice an AI component that could make sense). Since this is a general concept, it makes me topic-agnostic. It does not matter whether you do QC or AI, if you are experimenting with supabase to increase the speed of MVP development, or you're experimenting with optimizing the collaboration between designers and developers with figma autolayout, or you're simply experimenting with government processes for registering a non-profit. This is why I have such a broad set of topics - the range is from fintech, QC, to a charity (an actual non-profit legal entity), and many more that I would not be able to list. Try experimenting with things like creating a fully remote team from all around the world. How awesome is that?! I love working with people and making them grow - doing this with people from Asia or Africa makes it so much more fun and rewarding (and of course don't forget the economic value). I learn about cultures FIRST HAND, the struggles, the awesome things (the good, the bad and the ugly one might say), and I already plan on visiting some interesting countries simply due to having this connection.
The cool thing is, this keeps motivation up. So yes, I am deluding myself in a way. In the end what matters is getting something off the ground and not learning something new. My main focus in the end is delivering something of value, to be clear.
I come from engineering which is close to natural sciences (due to math), so I've read my fair share of papers and published some myself. I am always venturing in empirical and experimental papers when i work academically, so recently I have come to love this comparison of academic research to startups - you have a certain hypothesis and you test it out by doing interviews, building an MVP and validating it. It's like I am not studying phenomena in Machine Learning or Quantum Computing anymore, but I am now studying people and economics. Mostly people and their desires if I think about it.
As a knowledge worker in computer science I have the privilege to choose my adventure. Due to all these experiments I am starting to be extremely sure on what I'd choose if I had to, again. Where else can you experiment in such a way and create your own path of success?
Ok that was cheesy. The gist of this is - one can build something significant with consulting, in big corp, by doing startups.. for me, it's startups.