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We're killing it, bro (mystartuphas30daystolive.tumblr.com)
69 points by rnl 1492 days ago | hide | past | web | 50 comments | favorite

Call me skeptical, but this whole blog smells of a giant PR campaign.

Miraculously, in 30 days, the author will reveal that he has saved the dying company, thanks to the Internet.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a giant "subscribe to my newsletter" button very soon.

Man, talk about Jaded!

Well, I want to be a believer, but unfortunately I had the exact same thought when I saw it.

I agree. HN is being taken for a ride. Come on guys, we're smarter than this.

So true, I was thinking the same thing...but it is great writing...I might just follow it for the drama -a web opera if you will. Oh gosh, that sounded dumb, but it's true. Maybe he'll get a new job as a writer and drop the startup altogether. What a "shock" that'd be.

You're probably right. If so, please don't think any less of the 'hidden' company - they would simply be the one that got caught (a lot of successful companies have pulled of similar stunts).


We'll take your word for it, because that has worked out in the past.

You're a good writer, your posts on this topic have been compelling, and I believe you are quite sincere in your desire to do right by what remains of your startup and your team.

That's why I feel compelled to ask: have you consulted your team before embarking on this blogging adventure? There's more than a hint of the macabre in the posts (hashtags such as "delusion" being a good example). Do your team members share your assessment? Do they know you're blogging about this stuff? You are inadvertently speaking for them when you speak about these things. I would just urge you to make sure this is not a vanity exercise. Your team members might be very disheartened to learn that their founder is blogging, in dark and occasionally bitter tone, about their impending doom.

In my history of reading these sorts of post mortems, I've noticed that the best of them attempt to draw lessons from failure. At the very least, mine your experience for wisdom and insight. I realize you're doing this in real time, so to speak, and that's part of the exercise. Even still, I would humbly suggest deeper introspection and less melancholy. I know it's ridiculously hard to do that -- but your team (and your readers) will be experientially richer for it. (The first installment in this series, for example, though controversial, was a lot more incisive).

You are off to a very compelling start here, and I don't want to deemphasize that. I feel for you (and your team) in a very real way, and I wish you the best in drawing meaning from what is to come in the next 30 days.

Doesn't matter, it isn't real. Just PR/fiction to get HN upvotes.

Even if it is fiction it is good one. I'd buy the book.

Who has presence of mind to craft a well-written blog while your life's work is crashing down? Smells a little too scripted, the drama a little too perfect.

I enjoy reading.

But I don't think it's real.

"[name/pronoun] is killing it"

Everytime I hear that on a podcast or read it online, my douchometer pegs the needle. For an industry based in science and facts, there's far too many buzzphrases and abstractions thrown around by so called leaders.

Seriously, when I listen to a podcast and hear "killing it" or "Yeah buddy!" in one of those 2am infomercial voices, I assume they have a fresh coat of spray tan, a fauxhawk, and are wearing sunglasses inside while recording.

I assume the writer's trying to sell the company on the strength of the team, getting them (and him) jobs and hopefully returning his investors' money.

This is a good goal to have when your original plans don't pan out, but the writer needs to internalize that if it doesn't work out, the members of his team will find other jobs and be fine. His investors will be fine, too - they knew the risks going in. And finally, he will also be fine. He should try to sell his company, but if he doesn't manage to do it, he does not need to beat himself up, or feel for a second that he's failed again - which, based on the tone of his post, I'm a bit concerned he's going to do.

Some advice. It's not going to be easy to hear, and you won't believe me until after you've gone through the rest of the process.

You're taking all of this way too seriously.

It's just a company. Sure, it was one that you poured everything you had into, and I'm sure you associate a great deal of your self-identity with it, but it's still just a company.

Some context: I sold my first startup, which I co-founded with my wife, to a company about 3 years ago. We worked there for two years, and then they fired me. I had poured so much of myself into trying to make the product survive post-acquisition that when they showed me the door, I just sort of walked around in a daze, not realizing what I was supposed to do next. Then, gradually, I started to realize that there was a life for me after the startup, and one in which I could do better things than I could ever have working for the company that fired me.

Over time I came to realize that the product wasn't really that important. It was just something I was working on for awhile. If I wanted, I could go build a new version of the same product, or I could work on one of a hundred ideas that I have brewing. Once you realize that pretty much everything is ephemeral, you worry less about each individual step in your life and are able to focus more on the big picture. When it gets dark around you, it can seem like the world is much smaller than it actually is.

I think there's something appealing about having an "arc" of some sort to your life story. In reality, life isn't a play in three acts, and you get lots of chances to define and redefine yourself.

Just be honest, clear, and concise with the people around you. Take your share of the responsibility. Take some time to understand what happened, how you feel about it, and what you learned. Use that information to become better in the future.

I feel it's really unfair for you to compare a sale of a company to crashing and burning in one.

An acquihire and even -fire would seem to be a pretty desirable outcome to our writer.

You're missing my point. I'm saying that while some things seem like they're the end of the world, they're usually not. It's important to remember that when faced with those circumstances, because it keeps you grounded in reality and looking toward the future.

I'm not missing the point - I think your point is inconsiderate.

I think he's saying that a failed startup is like the end of your first serious high school relationship. It was your whole world for a while and when it comes crashing down it feels like nothing will ever be right again. But life goes on and if you're lucky you eventually look back and realized that you learned a lot and grew as a person and you've moved forward to other things that are now important to you.

It doesn't really help to comfort a broken hearted teenager by saying, "don't worry, you'll find love again! Just look at me and my beautiful wife!"

Except that, in your analogy, my wife is now married to someone else.

The point of the analogy is merely this: You are telling someone going through a potentially awful experience that you were in an entirely different situation where the outcome for you was far far better.

So if you really want to stick with the analogy, it's like an amicably-divorced-and-remarried man telling a widower to just cheer up.

The truth can often seem inconsiderate. That doesn't make it less true

Well, that's just, like, your opinion man.

You are right. Sometimes its hard to face a dying dream and other connected dots. Its OK as long as you know you there is much more to do in life.

Plot twist: there is no start up, and this tumblr is an allegory for HN readers who thrive on triumph and failure.

Edit: and then I read the other comments and realize I'm not the only one with this thought.

At the risk of making your very real journey seem trivial, I'll go ahead and say it: I'm hooked.

Just do me a favor-

don't A Million Little Pieces me, bro.

With this second installment, I'm pretty sure this is fiction. Kudos on the concept, though.

The posts are both very well written and have dramatic twists right on schedule. But s/he's using web marketing writing, with bolded thematic sentences alternating with short paragraphs.

We've seen posts from foundering founders on HN before, and it's usually more like a wall of text. This time, note how this author leaves us on a cliffhanger. Someone in their position should be trying to show they're still in control. So they'd explain more about their plan.

So I think we're dealing with someone who knows startups, who also is an experienced writer, and wants to subvert the business blogging form.

'I dreamt of building something that would shake things up and improve the web.'

A serious question from an outsider - is this something people really believe or is it a platitude?

I seem to see this statement often since I started reading HN. On the other hand success seems to be measured in selling companies for large sums of money and moving on to something else. Does this really improve the web?

There are a large number of individuals whose inflated self-image needs an objective reality check...

Thinking that one can do anything is good self-motivation, but one shouldn't deny the evidence that "anything" and "everything" are not the same concept, nor that one's particular "anything" may be neither simple nor valuable.

Probably this is fiction but still the content is good to be hooked up. Most likely it will be ended in something like 'I saved my friends and company, and I can still follow my dream....'

What are you, a teenage girl? Give up the "woe is me" act. I cringed when I read your first post, but this one is even worse.

This time and energy would be better spent either doing something about it or discussing it openly with the team/investors. If the situation is as dire as indicated, what the hell are you doing spending time griping dramatically about it on the internet? If people's livelihoods and your startup are on the line, DROP THE BLOG and go be a responsible founder.

If this is, as some have suggested, a PR campaign/stunt (which doesn't seem entirely over the top)... then it's in poor taste, in my opinion.

Please stop the drama.

Agreed. I'm cringing the same way I would cringe at my 10th grade journals.

    One of the first things you learn as an entrepreneur is
    that on some level, you’re only as good as your pitch.
    The accelerators reinforce this by teaching you the
    art of storytelling, a skill that helps an investor
    sign a term sheet as much as it helps the father of a
    young child decide to take a pay cut to be part of
    something that’s amazing.
Honestly, I reckon that's what this is all about. He's telling a story. It could be an exercise in storytelling! If so, anonymous failing founder - you're doing a good job. I'm hooked!

If not, listen to the advice in these comments.

I'll assume that's a real story (because why not?), and somewhat echo nkohari: This is not the end of the world. Companies rise and fall. People who work for startups do (and should) know the risk and life-to-death ratios involved. A startup has more chance of failing than making it, statistically. As long as you tried and did you best, you can only learn from the experience and move on to implement that learning in your next adventure.

"One of the first things you learn as an entrepreneur is that on some level, you’re only as good as your pitch."

On some level that may be true. I think the primary level though is that you're only as good as your product. Smart pitches alone get you nowhere. If you don't have a solid, functional product (and one that meets a true market need) the pitch is irrelevant. Nobody buys ideas. Good products sell themselves.

I'm so glad Google had a great pitch 14 years ago, otherwise I never would have switched from the superior Lycos search.

I'm dying to know what your startup does (or did)

PR and article placement

Doesn't matter, it isn't real.

I'm curious what accelerator they were a part of?

We did TechStars and this was not our experience at all. In fact, we explicitly decided to not raise and continue bootstrapping. They never pushed us to raise or to "lie."

Their advice on raising was we should pick one or the other and move on. The worst thing would be to have an internal turmoil about raising or not raising.

If you have a strong team and you are in the Bay Area, don't worry for them. They'll be unemployed for less than a week.

Love the ending. You are such a good writer.

"As I look out at the sunrise this morning, my dreams of building something that mattered have been replaced by a dream of doing right towards those who have trusted me through this journey and walked the road with me. A road I couldn’t have walked alone.

I’m going to save my team."

Growth is not always good, if you don't have the processes, the people and even if you as an entrepreneur are not prepared to growth, then don't do it.

There is no substance in this post and it shouldn't be here.

The first post was okay, this one is basically writing for the sake of writing something.

Whenever these things happen to me and my startup, I always get insane bursts of energy.

I think if you want to survive in this world, you need to have this ability of a super-sayan that when you very close to death and survive, you only emerge multipe times stronger than before.

corny and obviously fake

Blog spam. Go away.

Blog spam has a meaning. It's a copy and paste of another article. This is not blog spam.

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