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I have tried for a while now, and I thought I could do both. But... (1) It is difficult on a personal level--for example last month SageMathCloud got hit by a major DDOS attack 15 minutes before I had to teach a class. I have family and though I love to work, there are only so many hours in a day. (2) There I am at a big old state university, and there are many complicated byzantine conflict of interest and IP rules, which have been a pain to navigate, and our university commercialization office isn't the best. (3) Investors greatly prefer that the person/company they are investing in is not just a side project for the person running it. All that said, the mathematics department at University of Washington is full of supportive faculty; I'm doing what I'm doing more for the people I want to hire than just for myself.



Why not take a leave of absence to at least get the company started and acquire some funding? After that, you could just have a consulting role with the company.


I did during my 2014-2015 sabbatical. Building a successful company is vastly more difficult and demanding of attention than I could have imagined. Maybe I'm just not as good at doing multiple difficult things at once as other people.




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