If this is your first time reading, I recommend you start with my 6-month challenge and table of contents of weekly posts for the past 16 weeks.
tl;dr This is a more introspective post than usual and me trying to take a step back to look at the forest, rather than the trees of a tunnel-vision startup. I discuss having shipped Cusoy, fear of failure and fear of success, revenue concerns, importance of cities and ambition, developing relationships in your 20’s and fear of missing out.
The way I write these blog posts is somewhat haphazard and loosely fleshed out from a quick outline that I conjure in my mind minutes before I start writing. I wish I had a regular blogging schedule but a lot of this is stream-of-consciousness, as my emotions run the rollercoaster gamut almost every single day.
II. Fear of failure and fear of success
III. Revenue concerns
IV. Cities and ambition
V. Relationships and FOMO
Running a startup is like walking on your hands: it’s possible, but it requires extraordinary effort. If an ordinary employee were asked to do the things a startup founder has to, he’d be very indignant. Imagine if you were hired at some big company, and in addition to writing software ten times faster than you’d ever had to before, they expected you to answer support calls, administer the servers, design the web site, cold-call customers, find the company office space, and go out and get everyone lunch.
And to do all this not in the calm, womb-like atmosphere of a big company, but against a backdrop of constant disasters. That’s the part that really demands determination. In a startup, there’s always some disaster happening. So if you’re the least bit inclined to find an excuse to quit, there’s always one right there.
But if you lack commitment, chances are it will have been hurting you long before you actually quit. Everyone who deals with startups knows how important commitment is, so if they sense you’re ambivalent, they won’t give you much attention. If you lack commitment, you’ll just find that for some mysterious reason good things happen to your competitors but not to you. If you lack commitment, it will seem to you that you’re unlucky.
Whereas if you’re determined to stick around, people will pay attention to you, because odds are they’ll have to deal with you later. You’re a local, not just a tourist, so everyone has to come to terms with you.
– Paul Graham, The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn