So much was right about my last startup, Baby.com.br. They say so much in business is luck and after Baby I’m inclined to believe them. We had the right business at the right time with a team that knew how to roll with the punches. We ended up hiring 200 people within our first 12 months. But that isn’t the whole story.
What is discussed far less frequently, both in regards to Baby and any startup success story of any size, are the details that were a part of that growth. The fear, the emotions, the broken relationships. Mostly ignored with statements like “Startups are hard,” or “It was a challenging period for us.”
However, what no one really talks about is the screaming matches that happen between founders. The back-stabbing. The secret meetings that end up getting someone kicked out of the company. The facial ticks that develop, the weight that is gained by the tens, and the achey jaw from being overly clinched. When someone says “Startups are hard,” this is what is being referred to. The physical and emotional abuse founders and early followers put themselves through in the name of money, power, pressure and prestige.
After I left Baby.com.br and moved back from São Paulo to San Francisco (Go Niners!), I had some things to sort out. I had to get my life back to normal. This is no easy stroll. Again, when we use euphemisms like “sort some things out,” what we really mean is that there is bitterness to ease, facial ticks to relax, weight to lose, and memories that need to be left alone.
My therapy of choice is entrepreneurship. Within 24 hours of leaving Baby I had already begun laying the footwork for my next business, First Opinion. The process for building my team has been much more deliberate than in previous businesses. Everyone had to be easy going. Everyone had to be the best at what they did. Everyone had to be a true member of a collective team. Sounds easy enough, but I assure you it isn’t and the consequences of hiring the wrong person couldn’t be more dramatic or damaging.
The reason this all comes up today is I just weighed myself in this morning at 197.6. That’s still much higher than it should be, but it’s also where I was before I started Baby.com.br. My Baby weight. So much about Baby was right, and that is sticking with me. But those things that were wrong are slowly falling off. It feels good. Startups are hard, but there is a way through it.