Startup Horror Story 8M but 1st documented by me…
Tonight I felt the cold company-killing fear of being delusional…my startup was passed up again for gum. I rarely drink, but had 2 cocktails tonight…loosening up this blather of weird honesty and pep-talk catharsis.
I can see the movie so clearly…the story of the underdog, radically innovative, hard-to-describe yet so easy to use & HELPFUL startup that has to scrounge up money while cash flows to formulaic co’s that take little risk, offer little reward for anyone except a fear ridden investor hoping for the next Dollarshave club. A world dry of innovation, rich with copycat scardy cats.
Our heroine (me goodfrickendaminic — a short, not-young woman, and if asked, a mom. If my skin were not so white i’d be ultimate underdog) goes to SaaS conference where she meets 3 different ridiculously well funded underwear subscription services. Because why? Dollar fucking shave club.
Her startup enables people to reconnect with their dreams and help them get there through practical small steps via video nudges and a novel form of CBT and MI and CFT. So, she’s NOT going to give up, set on doing the small steps, getting paid pilots, customers, proving metrics in a giant market. And, the company’s getting traction. Making fucking money in medicare (not easy) and having patients write that the software is saving them from going nuts (really this is the best reward ever.) But, still, with these numbers in hand, startup pitch event designed to help fund innovation, what wins? Not anything new in healthcare- too scary, especially when pitched by me. No, instead, things like really good-fucking people making gum. GUM. Flavored gum with caffeine in it. Patentless, IP-less, brand-building only GUM. No one gives a shit what I write so they’ll never know my diss — and the guys who founded it are horribly lovely, smart, handsome and one of them is in a wheelchair. But, I wish i could hate them because gum is gum and there is already caffine gum.
Tonight, gorgeous gum men were invited to a dinner at my office that I WAS NOT invited to. I went to the pre-dinner mixer and then had to not enter dinner. Very middle-school awkward. So I went back to work, doing shit I hope is not insane. Telling myself that must recall patients reactions. They feel less lonely. The have the motivation to keep going thanks to my insane work.
But, tonight hurt. I texted my co-founder that handsome gum men were invited to dinner that we weren’t…and that one day we will be the VIP and asked IN to the dinner.
Whine or wine. It was tonight. The dramatic pre-lude to our triumph i hope. OMG, thoughts of being delusional are quicksand. I stand too close. Instead must see this as one of the sparks for triumph. Without pain there is no glory. And, startup world, give fucking money and attention to innovation — be less afraid. Look in unexpected places like the petite middle-aged woman led startup called MotiSpark. Please. We need it.