Reading List: Joe Kraus Nails the Startup Angst

September 11th, 2007

30foundersatwork.PNGI am reading a great book called Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days– it is a compilation of interviews with tech company founders, prepared by one of the Y Combinator founders. The whole book makes for terrific reading, very much like Startup Review on a larger scale.

Excite co-founder Joe Kraus makes some phenomenal observations that go straight to the heart of the startup experience. When asked “Did it seem like you were onto something huge?” he responded by saying:

The hardest part in a startup is that you wake up one morning, and you feel great about the day and you think “We’re kicking ass.” And then you wake up the next morning and you think “we’re dead.” And literally nothing’s changed.

I’ve certainly ridden that rollercoaster many times since starting my own business, and I’ve learned that it is part of the process. Everyone wishes there was a linear path to success, but there isn’t. You just keep plugging along, trying everything you can think of, and when success happens you still can’t point to a single thing that caused it- it just happened.

Good book. It should be required reading at “startup school”- wherever that is.

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