How Low Are the Low Points in a Startup?

If so many startups get demoralized and fail when merely by hanging on they could get rich, you have to assume that running a startup can be demoralizing. That is certainly true. I’ve been there, and that’s why I’ve never done another startup. The low points in a startup are just unbelievably low. I bet even Google had moments where things seemed hopeless.

Knowing that should help. If you know it’s going to feel terrible sometimes, then when it feels terrible you won’t think “ouch, this feels terrible, I give up.” It feels that way for everyone. And if you just hang on, things will probably get better. The metaphor people use to describe the way a startup feels is at least a roller coaster and not drowning. You don’t just sink and sink; there are ups after the downs.”

Paul Graham


I’ll keep coming back to this.

Just knowing this sentiment exists, that there’s a smart person who’s been there and who continues to live in the startup world that has this perspective, that’s enough to feel like you’re not alone in the toughness.

Because the problem for me with the toughness of startups has been the uncertainty.

Am I doing this right? I’m not. I must not be. I’m lost. Who do I think I am? I should have never been a part of this. These things never work out.

The splinter of doubt wedges itself in, getting deeper and deeper, all the while making the excuses heavier and heavier.

The only true armor we have is knowing it will come. Thanks, Paul.

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