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Obliterate Startup Depression (humbledmba.com)
119 points by jaf12duke on Nov 2, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

I'm always glad that this kind of topic comes up.

Last month I went to the HN Meetup in London that Harj spoke at. On the way there I was recounting to a workmate how low the lows can be and how at the record label we would have these bleak months wondering if we'd screwed up absolutely everything.

It's really hard to explain to someone without this experience what it feels like. How hard it can be to go into work, and how you struggle to remember that this is what you want when through your head part of you is demanding you quit and work in a kitchen somewhere anonymously and simply.

He didn't believe me, not really. He was just listening.

Then during the speech that Harj gave, after inspiring everyone to take the risk, he then mentioned the lows. The devastating lows.

And I think that's important.

The only truths I firmly hold from having done a startup and now doing one again:

  * Everyone is a mess and doesn't know what they're doing.

  * Everyone is going to go through their darkest days with their startup.
It's much harder to invest the time and energy over a prolonged period to deliver than anyone thinks. And there is no easy path or way around it.

The only thing that seems universal in coping with it, is exercise. Make exercise part of the startup. Being fit for the job is part of the job, and if that means coming in late post-exercise some day, that's way way better than working your butt off until midnight and doing it again at 6am.

In my experience, this tends to happen to different founders at different times so hopefully there's always one person who's "up".

The solution for us is to exercise competitively: "Did you go to the gym today? I went for a run this morning...".

I definitely agree, one cofounder & I recently discovered that doing intense exercise in the evening can really help decompress after a long day and clear the mind.

I'd like to add another suggestion, this probably goes double for the solo founders out there.

Join a co-working space. Working from home/coffee shop just doesn't give you enough social interaction and community to keep you going indefinitely. I learned the hard way, a couple times, I simply can't work from home for sustained periods of time. Co-working spaces gave me the flexibility to go somewhere that I got to know people, make friends and escape work every once in a while. Working on a startup is very isolating, simply being around other people makes it a lot easier. (Shameless plug if you're in DC - Affinity Lab is the place to be)

If you're looking to better understand and treat depression, this is a good resource: http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/understanding-depre...

It somehow helps when I know we are not alone.

Ok rant time.

I go to your website. It demands an email address before you tell me anything about your company or how it will "change commercial real estate forever". I don't want to you to spam me in the future so I enter a fake email address. Some ajax happens and it tells me to "invite at least 3 friends using the link" to get "priority access". I don't even know what your product does. I'm not going to spam my friends in order to get "priority access". Also there are links to follow you on twitter and "like" you on facebook. Again, I don't even know what your product does.

So I figure that the information must be in the email that you send to the address I give you. I give you my real address and lo and behold I get an email which says you're not going to tell me what your product does and that I should spam my friends with my referral link.

The only reason I would want to give you my email address or like your facebook page or follow you on twitter is because I'm interested in the product that you're creating.

Maybe I'm just weird, but this has been a negative experience with your company so far.


Nice blog post though.

I'm sorry you don't like the Launchrock strategy. I don't disagree the Launchrock implementation has its drawbacks, but it's also a very useful service. I certainly understand your frustration. The reality is we're not ready to say anything more yet. We iterate too quickly at this stage to put up a more informative page. We've had 20k+ visits to our sparse splash page, but it's not for everyone.

We're providing a way to stay up-to-date to those people that want it. The vast majority of them know me through my blog, because that's the only place I advertise it. The super early adopters, including many investors, want to make sure they know about it long before the rest of the people.

When we're ready for a more public launch, we'll provide a much different user experience. If you'd like to talk it about it further, please ping me directly.

   "I'm sorry you don't like the Launchrock strategy."
It's your strategy if you selected Launchrock. What's the point of asking people to tell their friends when there is nothing to say? Also, investors are not "super early adopers."

   "We iterate too quickly at this stage to put up a more informative page."
If you are changing every substantive aspect of your business such that there is no foundational premise you can communicate it sounds more like something else than iteration.

Or they're just busy building it and haven't had time to even spec out an informational web site yet. If you feel so strongly about this, then don't sign up for his list.

Cut the guy some slack.

Valid point, but I don't think his blog's primary (or even secondary) purpose is to advertise his company, so it might be nice that he gets some sign ups through his blog posts, but it's clearly not a priority. I don't think having an honest, frank discussion of one's struggle with depression is way to push product.

I would much rather read about his company when it's been fully (or at least mostly) baked. Too many pre-pre-seed stage ideas get posted to HN as real companies when they're really just ideas.

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