Is this crap normal?
August 4, 2010
I read a really good post by Paul Graham tonight when I should have been working on Mashtun. Essentially, I realized that in the past two weeks, I have been rushing through my morning showers really quickly instead of taking a minute to wake-up and let my mind wander. So to remedy this, I decided to take an 8:30 pm shower and see what happened. What would be top of mind? Would it be the current stresses of my day job? Would it be the crazy amount of work left to make my start-up resemble something other than a joke? The answer surprised me.
The thing that turned out to be top of mind for me was an intense self-doubt. I am a pretty confident dude, but I don’t let ego get in the way of honest self-assessment. I knew starting a business would be a tough task. Hell, the failure rate should be enough to scare sane people away. But I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of utter inequity. I was prepared for what would easily be the most difficult thing I had purposefully chosen to put myself through, but not the inescapable feeling that I was wasting my own time, and even worse, wasting that of my business partner, my friends, and my family. What followed was a simultaneously welcome and dreaded stream of conscience.
Is there even a reasonable scenario where this can work? Is this not the dumbest thing I have ever tried? It is definitely the most likely to fail. Is following the customer development principles a good idea for us? God, having a mentor would help with this feeling so much right now, wouldn’t it? Maybe. I should call my old mentor from UPS, Al Espinosa, and ask him why he saw fit to spend all that time giving me timely advice that made me successful in my pursuits there. I wonder if KC will be able to help me find someone that can answer questions for me in this new chapter of my life. At least I am not scared. But it seems silly to keep going if I am so sure this is never going to work. I mean, what is stopping someone else from doing what we are doing? Honestly, we don’t have any “specifiable differences” as I like to call them. If we make good progress, we will eventually develop some, but we don’t have direct domain expertise. We don’t have money. We don’t have much to make me feel better.
That is what is top of mind. I still believe in what we are doing with Mashtun, and I think that we have as good a chance of success as any other first time entrepreneur. We don’t have any MBA’s or MIT graduates. We don’t have any former Paypal employees or rockstar developers, and thankfully, we don’t need any at this point. We are going to have to be a bread and butter internet company in order to be successful, but it doesn’t make me feel any better knowing that. The only thing I can think to do is to remember this feeling, keep working on my problem presentation, get ready for customer contacts, and move forward. Feeling like crap definitely isn’t going to accomplish anything. Still, I can’t help but wonder, is this crap normal?