Startup End

An update from a previous post, “Startup Stuck”. A post mortem of sorts.

I pulled the plug on our venture, we unstuck ourselves by moving on. Writing a farewell letter was a mixed bag of emotions, on one hand I felt I had let down our small group of fans and on the other there was a sense of relief, all the challenges disappeared the moment I hit “Send”.

Failure sucks but I now see why many call it a “good” thing:

  • Failure makes you re-think your characteristics and motivations. I always considered myself to be resourceful, determined, and a problem solver, yet this decision goes against those qualities.
  • Failure humbles you. I have an MBA and yet could not put together a successful business. Ouch...
  • Failure makes you hungry. I need to prove to myself that I can grow from this and that I am more than a dreamer, I can execute a vision. I’m fired up!

Here are a few of the lessons learned from this journey most of them echoed by the millions who have gone through this before me:

  • Relationships matter and business is still personal. With a startup you tend to ask for a lot of favors.
  • Storytelling is powerful. A good narrative is sometimes all that is needed to acquire a customer or pique interest in an investor.
  • There is no such thing as a dumb idea, it is all about execution (eg. Gary Dahl’s pet rocks).
  • Building a business as a one-man army is not impossible but it is tough. A solid team that is not only the right talent mix but who can share the emotional burden matters.
  • Being your own boss requires incredible discipline and a healthy amount of maturity.

I got quite a few kind responses from our letter but this one in particular touched me:

It’s just what I needed to hear, fingers crossed.

Consumer Product Manager at HomeAdvisor. Former startup founder, management consultant, and int’l development fellow. Lived, worked and studied on 4 continents.

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