You are my favorite people in the whole wide world. I hope you already know that, but I'm writing it down for you just in case.
I was asked a question on "ycombinator". I want to share both with you because - I want you to have truth. Truth is powerful stuff - like rocket fuel. It is the only way to reach the stars.
Here is the link, though I expect it to eventually die of age as many webpages do. This is the failure of the great cacophony that is the internet. In a few years nothing remains. There is not even paper for archaeologists to dig up. The link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9392780
Here is the question:
|Ask HN: When do you know your startup has failed?|
|135 points by superpi 3 hours ago | 72 comments|
|I'm currently going through a mini depression. We've gone without salary for the last 4 months, abandoned our business model to do pay for hire work in the hopes of trying to raise money to keep the lights on.Honestly I feel like I'm going to be evicted from the house. My rent is already up, and as of now I have < $1 :).|
My partner is fine actually, he has rich parents and doesn't really depend on the startup for income. Which actually gives my friends and family the illusion that we're both killing it.
We have almost 0 chance of raising more money, it's much harder to get money it seems if you're in a poor country.
So, if you've had a failed startup, how did you know? Did you run out of money and call it quits? If you succeeded, did you have a patch so rough that you were evicted?
I'm 25, I feel like I'm losing at life already. It was okay to be broke earlier, because it's expected. It's not anymore, when almost none of your peers are. Also, I'm not in a developed country, where being broke means living on ~$1k a month. I've been living on ~$200 a month.
Anyway, I just want any input from you guys. Like anything, I just wanted to get this off my chest. Not even sure I've really expressed what I wanted to express (English isn't my first language).
Here is my answer:
You are not a failure. You are not a success. Where you are is about the world around you, who you are is not. Who you are is about your character, your person, your choices, and your integrity. The only way the outer world changes your inner person is when you allow it. Its ability to change you stops the minute you decide to stop helping it to do so. Nobody is broken, some people quit.
It is good that you feel like a worthless failure. You are likely too young and ignorant to realize how valuable this is.
Great results come from great decisions and great work. Great decisions and great work come from the mind and will, and are learned by experience. Experience comes from making decisions and actions and learning from them. If you have nothing, then you have learned something. If you have learned something then you have nothing.
You can choose to think through where you are and what you are doing and learn the most, to understand the most, to get fuel for the engine of your willpower, or you can let it pass by like an invisible and silent locomotive an inch away from your face. What happens now is the consequences of your actions now. Your actions now are the consequence of your choices. You are not a product of your past. You are not the squeezings of your circumstances.
If you want to be successful in business, then understand what value is, and return it to the customer. If you always return more value to the customer than they lose through the sales price, then you will always have customers.
The world, though it looks like it is solid and complete, is like a sponge, like enormous swiss cheese - it is dense with holes. Each hole is a place where value can be returned. Find one. Fill it.
Money isn't the goal. It isn't the goal of capitalists or plutocrats. It is paper - it burns. It has no fundamental value. All the engines of industry and finance in the world are an expression of human failure to handle value healthily in the context of community. Unlike you they are not broken - so they can never learn and never change what they are doing. They are too poor to have that wisdom.
Never blindly walk down the road. Take good wisdom based on good vision, and walk down that road. If you are going to make a startup - 90% fail in the first year. Go into it knowing that it will fail. The second startup success rate is better than 50%. The third startup is upwards of 80%. Find the best value you can create and create it for people. Even if you fail once or twice, you fail doing something noble, something worth having done it. Even in "failure", in "defeat" in having done something great you get not only the learning, but the having done something worth doing. The defeat gives you two of the most meaningful measures of victory.
Read wisdom. Epictetus. Marcus Aurelius. How to live on 24 hours a day. Make a log of your time and be brutally honest. Know your budget of time - where it goes. Truth allows you to allocate it in improved ways. Watch Randy Pausch - the last lecture. Live life well. You only get a few days till it is done, and in death every victory that can be taken away is. The ones you keep in your heart and soul - those are not taken away because that part of the person is immortal.