A few weeks ago, my friend told me that I was lucky to be doing a startup because “everybody wants to be doing a startup right now.” It’s apparently the “in thing.”
Of course, everybody wants to be doing a startup because they don’t actually know what goes into doing a startup. Don’t get me wrong, I love running this company, but it’s not easy.
When people hear startup, they see glitzy IPOs and bajillion dollar valuations. They don’t consider the vast majority of startups fail (we’re not going to) or that you are now responsible for other people’s livelihoods. They don’t see that you get paid last and (often) least. It’s about hustling to get sales [Blatant plug: Buy a game now!] and schmoozing to get funding and stressing about all of it (while trying to play it cool).
In fact, if all goes according to plan — and in the startup world, it rarely does — the next seven days will mark the first time I’ve slept in my bed for a week straight since the 4th of July.
Without question, there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. (Actually that’s a little bit of a lie, because if I had a magic lamp with a genie, I would probably wish that all the startup hustle was over and that 7 Generation Games was a finely running machine that required nothing more than me calling to check in once a day and otherwise laying on the beach with umbrella drinks. But until that day…) Not just working for, but literally building, a company you believe in is rewarding. Being able to try to shape a better future is exciting.
There are a lot of superlatives that I could use to describe the last couple of years with a startup. (There are also a few expletives.)
But the one word I would never use is “easy.”
There’s never a break, and it’s never enough. At the end of the day, you often (almost always) feel like you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted with a hydra-esque to-do listm where you check one item off and nine more appear in its place. But, as I have found myself saying regularly, it’s better to have a growing startup where a million things are going on and need to be dealt with than a failing company where things are stalled or falling apart.
As my mom has always said about anything worth achieving, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”