Your well-funded startup is already dead
Paul Smith

Your child-led startup investment was a poor choice

The founders that Paul Smith discusses would appear to have instantly lost their hunger to succeed the moment the check cleared.

You know who that doesn’t tend to happen with? Grown ups. The top-tier tech blogs, pressured by powerful investors to run stories on funded startups, love to lead with a $xM or $xB and eye-grab with outlier cases of the very young, very successful:

“This 23-year-old just got $6M to disrupt illicit drug distribution”

(and we see nothing unethical about making potted plants of the rest of America)

There are still many who believe that this is their time. If we are not millionaires by the time we’re thirty, we have no place in technology.

I propose to you, Paul Smith, that you might want to factor in to your investment decisions just how many months that young founder has endured hunger. I submit to you that if you are seeing too many founders gifting themselves with Ferraris and burning runway on needless startup swag and parties, then you are looking at founders who have yet to internalize just how hard life can get. Us grown up founders may make for laughing stock when we fumble with our phones, but we have experienced the tribulations that make us appreciate the positions we’ve earned.

We’re the ones who will weather the no-warning departure of the CTO or a deluge of customers demanding refunds.

We’re the ones who will slow-burn investors’ money — if for no better reason than we know from experience that we probably wont get the time of day from those investors if they get the impression that we burned frivolously.

We’re probably the ones you should be looking at.

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