when all hell breaks loose…

i love startups.  sometimes it’s in hindsight, cause they can be a real pain in the ass, but if you’re a real junky you wind up looking back on a lot of the painful times fondly. like when you get together with your college friends and talk about the really bad hangovers.

one of my favorite stages of a startup is the part I like to think of as “when all hell breaks loose” around you.

it goes like this.  you make a plan.  you get organized, and put the team together.  make some more plans.  probably do a little too much planning, and then you do something.  you launch a product, or get some customers, you have just a little bit of success…and the shit just hits the fan.  sometimes is in a good way, and sometimes not such a good way (i’ve experienced both and both are stressful).

you usually realize around this point you are totally unprepared.  the plan, for all the effort you put into it, largely goes out the window.  its still important, but rigid plans don’t hold up in this kind of environment.  because the reality is you’re reacting to so many different things at once, and your team is undermanned and overworked, and probably only half believed you were going to get to this part in the first place.  

and you realize that the plan you made so painstakingly really doesn’t fit the situation anymore, so you do the best you can and struggle through it.  because more than your plans, and your carefully crafted pro-formas, and release schedules, and go-to-market plans, what you do by instinct and common sense when all hell breaks loose will determine your success or failure.  these are some of the best and worst moments of being involved with startups.  but the thrill of watching something you dreamed up come to life - even if that life is shaky, and fragile, and sometimes doesn’t last too long - is hard to describe, and once you feel that its hard not to want to do it over and over again.

  1. mwalrath posted this