Writer | Marketer | Creative

Kennetic Expression

A lively take on creativity, business, and life.

What You Don't Hear About Startup Life

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When you read stories and personal accounts of others in the (tech) startup world, it's always something exciting. It's not necessarily all good, but these stories always involve energy and passion.

Two twenty-somethings team up to change the world. One successful startup makes a wrong turn and plummets. A team struggles through all the usual barriers and eventually comes out on top. What you don't hear about is the monotony of it all, the endlessness.

People tend to focus on the positives when they do or say something public, and thank God for it! Because of it, there's a very polarized view that you work hard, sacrifice, struggle, learn, and eventually hit the jackpot. Well, what if you don't hit the jackpot? Far more people lose than win.

What if you go through all the sacrifice and turmoil, and end up right back at square one? Or worse, what if you're even farther back than when you started, only now you're several years older with more responsibilities? Sometimes the silver lining turns out to be aluminum.

I love being in the startup world, probably because everyone's trying to grow, and because everyone can relate to what the other is going through. It's paradoxical. It's a tight knit community full of people who haven't even met each other. But it burns, and it just keeps burning until you make it big or get out of the way. Think about it.

Being with a startup takes years out of your life. How impactful were your college years? How difficult was it to keep working, stay motivated, and show up for class day after day? That's what being in a startup is like, except all the stakes are astronomically higher.

You have to work longer, harder, and smarter (which isn't something you just doif you can do it at all). Money is no longer theoretical. You deal with burn out over and over without any semester breaks. It's a 12-round, knock down, drag out fight. Who's to say you'll still be standing at the end of it?

You've probably read other things I've written. You know I generally keep things positive or fight to find a bright spot. There isn't always a bright spot. Sometimes things just suck. Suffering is always temporary, but that doesn't make it any easier. It just gets confusing when you realize you're the one putting yourself through it.

I think giving a candid depiction gives you more insight into my own life, and hopefully helps to remove some of the glitter covering the face of startup culture. It's an adventure, but it more often feels like trekking through the Sahara without water, not the typical depiction of Mufasa surveying his kingdom.