June 4, 2012

What does it feel like to be the CEO of a startup?

What does it feel like to be CEO of a startup?

Paul recently wrote an answer on Quora to a question on “what does it feel like to be the CEO of a startup?”.

It was a very raw recollection of emotions and stories. I thought we’d share some excerpts on our blog. You can read the full answer here.

Very tough to sleep most nights of the week.  Weekends don’t mean anything to you anymore.  Closing a round of financing is not a relief.  It means more people are depending on you to turn their investment into 20 times what they gave you.

It’s very difficult to “turn it off”. But at the same time, television, movies and vacations become so boring to you when your company’s future might be sitting in your inbox or in the results of a new A/B test you decide to run.

You feel guilty when you’re doing something you like doing outside of the company.  Only through years of wrestling with this internal fight do you recognize how the word “balance” is an art that is just as important as any other skill set you could ever hope to have.  You begin to see how valuable creativity is and that you must think differently not only to win, but to see the biggest opportunity.  You recognize you get your best ideas when you’re not staring at a screen.  You see immediate returns on healthy distractions.

You start to respect the Duck.  Paddle like hell under the water and be smooth and calm on top where everyone can see you.  You learn the hard way that if you lose your cool you lose.

The reaction has been astounding…

Here’s an epilogue to what happened next.

EDIT: Thanks, Forbes.

2 Comments on “What does it feel like to be the CEO of a startup?

July 21, 2012 at 12:24 am

Paul, I came across your post on HackerNews. Suffice to say, it is a great post and your thoughts came from the bottom of your heart. Most entrepreneurs go through this journey, except a few lucky ones who get million dollars in angel / vc money within a couple of months – these are exceptions considering the size of the startup ecosystem. Good luck for you and your team!


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