Wrestling With the Bear

Bootstrapping a Silicon Valley Startup

Thomas Schemkes
Apr 18 · 2 min read
Standing Grizzly in a wood.
Standing Grizzly in a wood.
The bear on the California flag is a Grizzly.

I’ve been doing this for a while now. I wake up excited, even when I’m depressed. I’m bootstrapping a Silicon Valley startup. I should have a partner, a new one, a dependable one, because there is a Grizzly bear on the California flag.

When my journey began I started going to Meetups, all I could find. I listened to the speakers. They were coaches, lawyers, consultants, investors, and other founders or cofounders. Those experienced with promoting startups, getting funded, and selling out. I thought they could help, but no one can beat the bear for anyone.

I got advice, usually bad advice. Help was costly and elusive. I heard a thousand terrible ideas being expertly pitched. But something else happened, I met other people like me. We met for coffee but had tea. My idea was always the best, or loudest, but I could skim something from everyone, every meeting, every call, but only when I was entirely honest and sincere, exposing my heart, my plan. It could have been ripped out; by the bear.

I pivoted once, then again. I started thinking about a working MVP. I talked to potential customers. I came up with a real problem begging a solution. It was hardly being done. What was being done was all wrong. I could do it better, faster, bigger. I promised the world to anyone that would show up to battle the bear with me.

Dead bodies all around. The bear swings its blows wild and free. Founders are made into refugees every minute. The system is corrupt. The rich get richer. It might be better in China, or India, or Italy. But the bear who loves its victims, is afraid of fire. My startup is the spark.

The Startup

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