Startup Founder Blogs His Company's Collapse
In his first post on Tuesday, the anonymous blogger claims that he spent the past two years building something that he thought truly mattered. But he was suckered into "the startup game," he says, misguided by investors, stretched too thin, and now has no choice but to fire his team and admit defeat. His account is both an indictment of the startup bubble culture and a wrenching real-time obituary of his baby.
"I found myself sitting at my desk, afraid, alone and overwhelmed," he writes.
Tumblr made a big splash in the tech press Tuesday about the blog, hitting a chord in a crash-and-burn world of big dreams and easy cash, and prompting a wild detective hunt for the identity of its mysterious author. But that's what's so compelling about it. If it's true, he could be so many people: According to Mashable, 90 percent of technology startups fail. For venture-backed companies in general, that number is 3 out of every 4, according to Shikhar Josh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. We just don't hear about them. As Josh put it in the The Wall Street Journal, venture capitalists "bury their dead very quietly."
For the enigmatic entrepreneur, it seems that trumpeting his failure is purely therapeutic. "The 20 minutes I've spent doing this each day have been the most calming moments I've had in some time, moments where I can detach and write something that isn't tied to business or content-marketing ploy," he wrote Thursday morning. "This is clarity, or as close to clarity as I've been in recent memory."
You may not follow Silicon Valley, but you probably slow down when you pass a car wreck. And this guy's offering a slow-motion play-by-play of complete annihilation, written like an epilogue to a dream.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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