I'm not sure if @Bubs will ever read this, but I found this was a deeply interesting article, that hits close to home. If you are reading this - thank you.
There is so much to say on this subject, from various perspectives. Me, I'm stuck in Europe (offers-a-plenty, no chance for a visa). I am a founder of a start-up here, and I cannot complain about how it currently runs - but the things I've been through to get here ...
A lot about the start-up culture is simply different here in Europe - so maybe I am a little out of place among you. But what I believe is largely the same is the pressure, the stress, and the pretending. There are but few people who really understand what you are going through. "Why don't you just quit and get a (real) job ?" - if I had to raise a finger for how often I've gotten this response in dark times, I would be several hands short.
I believe there may be a need for some sort of chatter group for this. Maybe a tad unconventional, perhaps with a respected gate-keeper (like @Bubs) to check on people before they are let in (prevent moles), but once inside, everybody is anonymous to everybody else, and all conversation is group-private. You could be Mr Brown, I could be Mr Black - as long as I'm not Mr Pink. Perhaps it could have prevented what happened to those two founders mentioned in the article. I would be interested to join it, both for giving as well as receiving support. The good just writing something that the people who read it would actually understand could do.
I started my company in 2003 with one partner thanks to Visa and AMEX.
In 2006 we got bigger and reached to about 40 people working in 4 different countries. The financial crisis of 2008 brought us down (by accelerating the damages of our mistakes) and by December we went down to just 10. It was the most depressing Summer and Winter I've had.
In 2009 I worked for bouts of 50 - 60 straight days trying clear up the unfinished commitments we had with our clients and almost burned me up in the process but we got through.
Things went upward trajectory until early 2011 where the country I am located went through a revolution. Our local customers suddenly couldn't pay on time and we have had majority of our pending new contracts cancelled. My girlfriend of 5 years broke up around the same time and suddenly I stared back at the abyss that I thought I have left behind 2008.
It's been two years since that time and things have gone incrementally worse. It's a drip by drip bloodletting.
These cycles of advances and failures are exhausting. I was supposed to get better at this "be responsible of other people's payroll and livelihood" thing after ten years but I am not.
I still try though - every single day - inch by single fucking inch. I don't know whether this is grit or just denials. It's a close call.
Yup. I read it. Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure how well a big group would work. If its bit an intimate close group of people, it wouldn't be easy to open up and share. This is why I think it's important to have a small group of founder friends to confide in.