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Brutal reality of startup life (jwz.org)
39 points by abstractbill on Feb 28, 2007 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

Sick, but true.

I find I can't work at a reasonable pace. Either I'm slacking off, and for all intents look like an incompetent retard, or else, I'm in crisis mode and will do whatever it takes. Unfortunately, after crisis mode, I'm burnt out for a week.

There's an amazing feeling of monastic purity to working no-holds-barred on a problem, though. It's simplifying. No life -- no worries! That and the adrenaline rush of looking into the abyss and then finding some way around, or over.

Amazing. I want that sort of lifestyle for a few years.

No, really.

At the company I work, it's beginning to feel big-companyish. There's around 100 employees now, and the bureaucracy is starting to set in. Despite that, we still get features rolled out at a nice rate, but I really have no emotional connection to the product we make. That doesn't mean I don't do quality work. That just means I'm not as interested as I could be.

On the other hand, if my future depended on the success of my product, then I'd be kickin'. I personally think that even with the stress, the time, the lack of sleep, that it would be one of the most fun experiences of my life, because I'd get to see my product morph from nothing into everything. Totally worth it.

Unfortunately, I have to feed myself, so I can't just quit and run after my idea. But if I manage to scrape even $15k together, I'm doing it.

Unfortunately, I have to feed myself, so I can't just quit and run after my idea. But if I manage to scrape even $15k together, I'm doing it.

You should read this article: http://www.doingsuccess.com/article_514.shtml

I see what you're getting at. What I meant was, I work 50 hour weeks. During my spare time, I'm getting my business up and running. If I can ever be in a position which I can focus on my business full time without starving, then I'll do that. That'll happen right around when I save up $15k, or the business is successful. Just because there's no way out of my job doesn't make me not an entrepreneur :P

You probably have a better spirit than I do. I have [well over 15k], and really enough to live on for years without FTE, but I'm waiting until I actually have a revenue stream before quitting my job.

It's tempting to do that, but check this out. I sat down and created a spreadsheet, listing all my monthly debts (including food). I then said, "Okay, I will go out on foot and pitch 10 teachers per month to use my service, resulting in $100 / month increase in revenue." In the spreadsheet, you'll be able to predict your total cost per month, and the month that revenue exceeds debt, the total cost is how much money you need to start your startup. But one last thing: Whatever your debt is, double it per month. Whatever you predict your revenue will be, cut that in half. I came to a total of $15k, because I have small debts since I'm 19. But it really puts into perspective just how little it costs to start a startup.

By the way, what's your startup?


"By the way..."


As a sophomore at the University of Illinois, my classes make me get up at 7 or 8am every morning. I usually get an average of 4-5 hours of sleep per night.

I find myself getting sick after doing this for periods of time. But it's definitely a hard-to-break behavior. I still average 4-5 hours per night.

Can't say I'd take it back for anything. There's probably not a full-time job opportunity in the world that will replace the excitement of being an entrepreneur.

Ar the YC founders having this kind of experience? This sounds like a traumatic experience to me, but pg claims a 100% satisfaction rate.

This is the best thing I've read in a long time

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