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Colin Kroll’s rise and untimely death (wsj.com)
102 points by mudil 37 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

It sounds like his family had a history of addiction, so to suggest that his career as a tech founder caused him to overdose is a stretch. I believe though that cofounding startups and dealing with the spotlight and drama are stressors that could trigger someone to seek drugs if they are preconditioned to abuse based on family history, but even stressful situations in a more “normal” career path could easily do the same.

Thank you. Still not sure why posting paywalls is allowed here.

Why the downvotes? Do the rest of you like paywalls, or?

The HN guidelines explicitly statethat complaining about paywalls is off topic.


The irony of the drug war is that all the resources spent, FBI corruption in closing down silk road is what makes the drug cartles richer and overall drug procurmeent more dangerous. If there is anything crypto currency was good for it was that.

Don't worry, from the ashes of Silk Road sprung a hundred more darknet markets. Some of them aren't even scams!

Won't cartels get richer regardless of how one purchases drugs since they are supplying them?

Anyone can supply drugs. It's getting it's distribution that's hard. Silk road used USPS for distribution.

To be honest, it sucks for the guy, but I do love everything about this title. We hear so much about "changing the world," in the startuplandia, but rarely does anyone talk about living the life, and actually having years and ability to enjoy it.

We need more x-founders and investors, the rare ones with heart and soul, to not only talk about health, but actively promote a healthy lifestyle. You might miss a unicorn or two, but you'd end up with less dead and utterly messed up founders, I think.

{edit} of course when I said that I loved everything about the title, it referred to the original title posted on HN. now the title says something completely different.

After Kroll's girlfriend received no response when she called him, she asked NYPD to visit his New York City apartment.[8] Kroll was found dead at the age of 34[1] of a drug overdose.[9] Drugs found in his system include fentanyl, fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, the examiner said.[10]


He passed away from his battles with addiction, not really from "working too hard".

Sure, but how many founders out there are addicted to various kinds of self-harm, be that drugs, working for 20h/day, lack of healthy eating, not leaving the office for weeks at a time...etc.

Point is, it's incredibly easy to engage in destructive behavior, especially if you've got the mindset of taking things to extremes.

All the things you mention are incerdibly damaging, but not necessarily the same thing. not leaving the office, not exercising, poor diet are all symptoms of things like working 20 hour days. In my mind that's the alternative to drugs, which is an escape from not being able to disengage from your startup.

I think the parent comment is referring to more than just the ‘standard’ recreational drugs — I know lots of founders who abuse amphetamines to maintain the habits you describe.

His addiction could have been a symptom and/or a way to cope with working too hard.

That sounds like an excuse for it. There are countless examples of accomplished people who typically work too much, and who don't engage in recreational drug use.

Adderall abuse is rampant in the 100 hour week set. So is provigil abuse.

DHH the founder of Basecamp, and creator of Rails talks about this constantly on Twitter. He talks about the importance of living a balanced life. Also written many books about work / life balance.

Yup, DHH is pretty good about. He'd been on my podcast to talk about it among other things (https://www.raddadshow.com/episode/david-heinemeier-hansson) and it sounds like he actually took a bit of time and effort to reflect on his own journey to figure out what is important to him, why, and how to make space for those things. He talks a lot about stoic philosophy too, if you want to hear more from DHH. Great guy.

You know what would be a great YCombinator call for service: develop a very low cost drug-testing device to test for fentanyl / heroin / cocaine /whatever... and light red or some way to warn from use

Test strips for fentanyl are about $1-2 per strip, and many other test kits for other common compounds are also pretty cheap. I think the issue is the availability and knowledge (how to test properly etc.).

Fentanyl test strips already exist. See eg https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095539591... which studied use of them

Rather than solving this issue with technology, I think policy is the way to go here. If drug use was less stigmatized and not criminally punished, people who feel they are using too much drugs don't feel afraid of seeking help, allow us to reach them quicker and earlier.

I would just note that there are very few deaths related to drugs in Japan. It's possible to control. Though I suppose that doesn't include the issue with alcoholism. Still, I feel like it makes sense to stigmatized something that is dangerous and quite unhealthy.

In Japan, you go to prison, years, for having cannabis traces in your piss. Then you get deported for good. And say goodbye to your Japanese family cause you will not get a visa anymore.

Technology is probably an easier solution than changing an entire society.

The technology already exists: as other people have pointed out you can get test kits for fentanyl pretty cheap. And that applies to almost every drug too, you can buy Marquis reagent which covers most commonly used recreational drugs. But people really are not used to the idea of testing their drugs: when was the last time you bought a shot at a bar and tested it to see if it contains methanol, or checked if aspirin from your pharmacy is actually aspirin?

We don't really need to change an entire society, all we need to do is legalise and regulate recreational drugs. That immediately solved the problem of missold drugs. The societal stigma which prevents people seeking help for addiction might not vanish overnight but it's impossible to do anything about it while drugs like opioids are illegal.

Dealing with all the stress, it really helps when you have co-founders you can rely on and trust to have your best interests above all. It was really disappointing to read about how it seemed his co-founder was undermining him to secure the CEO role. I am not sure if it's Kroll being paranoid, but it's clear their working relationship was terrible. Long term success can rarely be achieved with such a dynamic.

I would not feel comfortable as an employee working there now after reading this article...

Wow, he's the guy who said "We can't date now" or whatever to that woman and he was the guy who talked about his weekend with the other chick. Damn.

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