I loved this piece in Wired I read over the weekend. Based on the book No Exit by Gideon Lewis-Kraus it highlights the harsh, harsh reality of startup life.
This is not me having a pessimistic view of the startup world. Nor is it some sort of schadenfreude. Completely the opposite. I’m delighting in some real context of the startup experience filtering through to the masses. Particularly the growing masses of startup founders in Australia.
Startup life is not easy. It’s hard. Like any path in life it’s particularly hard for those who neither have the aptitude nor the passion to do whatever it takes to be better. To do better.
I’m unsure whether it matters that new founders get into the game with a full appreciation of the difficulties of the path ahead. I think all startup founders are somewhat irrational when it comes to their chances of success, and necessarily so. After all, what if those changing the world as we know it honestly thought about their chances of doing it at the outset. So, eyes wide open or not, it would probably make little difference whether all startup founders knew what was before them.
What I am certain of, however, is that it matters that there is openness about how hard that path is. So that as those who struggle get to that stage they don’t feel lost. Or alone. Or that they can’t just stop because no-one else is stopping.
It’s a dog of a line-of-business where people get eaten up and spat out all the time having been drawn to the promise of “more”. Some get there. Most don’t.
We laugh mockingly at the actor/waiters in LA, desperate for their 5 minutes of fame in Hollywood. Desperate to change the world through their art and craft. Certain that they’ll be the next Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. It’s just a matter of time. The next audition. The next party. The next chance – they’ll nail it.
That we can’t see our industry in that description is perhaps the greatest tragedy. Stories like the one in Wired, will hopefully change that.