A Startup isn’t a Startup with out Starting Up, Multiple Times
It’s been 150 days since I started putting an idea into action and a 146 since I penned the first blog post… wow, does time really fly! I’ve come a long way and I’ve been through all of the ups, the downs, and the side-to-sides of putting a new venture together; and I’m still standing.
I’ve walked through a bunch of different concepts, prototypes, and ideas. I’ve seen a cofounder come and go and have worked with a bunch of different folks in-between. I started down the road to raise venture capital and even got a few term sheets to boot, which I feel really great about.
(Another post entirely, but, attempting to raise VC in this particular financial climate and still get term sheet offers has lead to a ton of unique and important lessons-learned. Perhaps I’ll write about it soon.)
And as I consider my options for (re)building the team, for the product, and for my options regarding financing, I had a brief moment of clarity in the past few weeks that has allowed me to take a serious step back to consider everything with a fresh perspective.
This is not unlike what most new companies and startups go through, but I somehow naively believed (despite my history and experience) that this time would be different and that I would “land” on the product and problem immediately (and at first pass) but that’s not how it happened — it rarely does.
Reading Julie’s amazing post on building product reminded me of not only the core objectives but also how to see these things rightly — you should take a moment to review it:
This quote in particular grabbed me:
Teams that fall in love with a problem have more successful outcomes than teams that fall in love with particular solutions.
I feel good about where I started and the multiple prototypes that I’ve put together — the original vision of “building healthier companies” was never in jeopardy and one of the most positive encouragements from many of the VCs that I’ve interfaced with is that I have been consistent in my position from the very beginning.
But that didn’t mean that I didn’t struggle with anxieties around the product or the direction or the team (and in particular, not having a cofounder). This recent post by Charlie O’Donnell is also helpful too:
We don’t really even have a consistent definition of what a co-founder is — so it seems preposterous that there could be such universal agreement that everyone needs one.
Charlie’s point is important to consider: You do not necessarily need a “co-founder” but you do need a team.
And since I’m now back to a team of 1 (at least the only full-time guy) it means that I have the unique opportunity and responsibility to reconsider everything (and I mean everything).
Consequently, I’m taking an important and explicit moment to refactor my thoughts, reform my thinking, and reset even the fundamental reasons of why I started writing code in the first place for this venture.
I’m going to have an important time of introspection, of retrospection, and see where those thoughts and ideas land. I want to go back, all the way back, to first-principles, the things that ultimately drive me to do what I do and to and to ask the really hard questions.
Strategically (and for important mental health reasons), I owe it to myself and future of my company — if I can’t stop for a moment and reflect then I can’t ever expect my staff and team to do so either.
I’ll see you in a little bit.