STARTUP LIFE: 'Worse Than Prison'


Photo: AP

Great comment from a reader on what life is really like when you do your own startup:I’ll tell you what it’s really like to do a startup. It is like self-inflicted solitary confinement plus hard labour plus torture — worse than any prison.

Girls who say they’ll marry you abandon you when things turn south and their mum or dad starts complaining about why don’t you have you have more money already, and breaks your heart to the level people kill themselves over.

Your social state is frozen at like age 20 since you hardly interact with people like a normal human being. You work so hard, you look up at yourself after a few months of pushing yourself to realise that you’ve gained like 40 pounds. Get dumped again.

You try to save time like everywhere so you can work harder on your startup. Listen to interviews while driving. Read programming books and business strategy books while walking. Read SAI in the elevator. You clean your room or car once a twice a *year* to save time in batch mode. You lived in a ghetto apartment for similar reasons.

Sometimes you forget to brush your teeth, and then start thinking, “Do I really need teeth? Brushing them takes up a lot of time and no girl wants me anyways — maybe I should let them fall out so I can work more”. Showering is similar.

You start to smell like a dead animal sometimes but who cares, because you’re on deadline to launch that dang feature and you might end up having just forfeited your twenties if you don’t make it. You launch, and nobody comes to your launch party.

Get dumped again. Heart breaks.

Get a cease and desist letter because somebody didn’t like your outdoor marketing effort like where you were standing outside passing out flyers in melting heat, sweating so much your pants are soaked and some snobby kid asks if you peed your pants and nearly passing out of heat stroke.

Your Aunt kind of condescendingly starts asking you where your money is, and says at each Christmas that girls won’t like you unless you have more money. You realise you’re risking never being able to get married as a result of your startup effort.

You launch again a year or two later and again nobody shows up to your launch party — again. Start wondering what you’re doing with your life.

You’ve gained 40 pounds again and your skin rips with stretch marks but you don’t notice it or care much because you’re on deadline again. Start to get headaches and figure you better focus some more on losing weight or you might stroke out and die.

And then finally…finally…after many years and at like the eleventh hour…you maybe get scalable traction…but you’re still not done.

The above is like a true story — not sure if I got all the ordering right, though.

I’m saying this like The Little Red Hen so people and tax policy makers like Obama will hopefully have some better appreciation for the actual sacrifices involved in building a startup, and not act like it’s just some dumb-luck windfall that they’re entitled to.

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