Startups aren’t easy. In fact, running a startup is one of the hardest things in the world.
Sean Parker said it best:
Running a start-up is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.
Startup founders are constantly mired in uncertainty and doubt.
We struggle to maintain balance in our lives. We obsess about product features so our users and customers won’t have to. We work late and often neglect our loved ones.
One day we are convinced our company will take over the world, and the next day so many things go wrong we don’t know if we’ll survive past next Tuesday.
Just this morning, we had a bizarre hardware failure causing this website to go down for a few hours for the first time in a few years.
Yep, on Thanksgiving morning.
It’s an unhealthy emotional roller coaster that nobody in their right mind would subject themselves to.
Mark Suster calls it Entrepreneurshit.
It’s really, really hard. And only the truly resilient survive.
Go watch Pacino’s all-time great halftime speech in Any Given Sunday – it’s all about the willingness to fight for that inch.
No. Seriously, go watch it. It’s really all about those inches.
That’s why startups have this compulsion to celebrate an accomplishment, no matter how small and insignificant it seems.
Some press, a beta launch, a financing round, a new hire, a new customer, some new t-shirts – whatever – because these small celebrations are essential to maintain some semblance of positivity and sanity.
I’ve witnessed more ‘mature’ business people insult and trivialize startup founders for celebrating the small accomplishments.
I say go ahead and celebrate.
Amidst all the things that can and inevitably do go wrong, startup founders need something to maintain the sunny, positive attitude.
So this Thanksgiving morning, I’m thinking about and celebrating all the amazing people that I’m thankful for at FullContact. Here they are, in no particular order:
- My wife Sarah. She is simply amazing, and this post sums up why.
- Our dog, Parker. I can’t help but smile when I’m around him. And yes, I do consider him a person (so does he).
- My Co-Founder Travis – His relentless work ethic, true grit and persistence are inspirational. He keeps the engine grinding at FullContact and has no quit in him.
- My Co-Founder Dan – His technical brilliance and ability to communicate complex concepts in a simple manner always astounds me. No matter how crazy the idea, Dan manages to find some way to pull it off.
- Ben Deda – the unsung hero and driving force behind the Denver Startup Bash, Denver Startup Week and a leader in the burgeoning Denver Startup Scene. Ben makes my job easier and like a true Marine, always just “takes that hill” no matter how steep or difficult to climb.
- Kyle Hansen – he’s been with FullContact since the beginning, and seen us grow and change. He’s been instrumental in our success thus far and truly loves FullContact as much as I do.
- Chris Elliott – he makes our products world class with his creative talents. Chris never ceases to amaze me with his work ethic and his design gifts. We’re lucky to have him.
- Matt Elliott – One of the hardest working and pragmatic developers I’ve ever worked with, he’s truly a joy to build a company with. Matt has a “can do” attitude that makes him fun to be around.
- Kurt Harriger – He always makes us laugh with his goofy hats and his silly sense of humor. Kurt is the brilliant mind behind our bad-ass de-duplication engine.
- Brandon Vargo – One of the smartest, most detail oriented people I’ve ever encountered in my life. We’re lucky to have him aboard and I consider it an honor to work with him every day.
- Michael Rose – There’s never a technology he hasn’t tried. Michael tirelessly puts in late nights keeping our infrastructure up and obsesses about the reliability and scalability of our offering. He never ceases to amaze me with his persistence and passion.
- Ken Michie – New to the FullContact team, I’m super excited he decided to join our platform team. Ken has an easy going attitude and willingness to work hard on challenging problems.
- Matt Hubbard – he handles front line customer support for FullContact. And Matt does it with perfect class and patience.
- Adam Griffin – he is relentlessly persistent in evangelizing FullContact to prospects and customers. He never complains, never wavers and simply goes about his business ever day.
- Rachael Wright – she brings an upbeat, positive attitude to everything she does. Rachael also knows her football, which fits perfectly with the gang at FullContact.
- Kipp Chambers – he jumps out of planes on the weekends. That’s just cool. Puts things in perspective for me when I think about life and death decisions.
- Skylar Lowery – He brings lots of fun energy to FullContact and keeps the office a playful place.
- Minh Pham – His crazy hair and his enthusiasm for our company’s mission is infectious. Truly a joy to be around.
- Duane Schleen – He’s Canadian, but I don’t hold that against him. Duane absolutely loves what he does, and I find his positive attitude enthralling. He’s got some great coding war stories, and he fits perfectly into the culture of FullContact.
- Colin Pilloud – He’s super fun to be around and has some really rad tattoos. He brings it every single day.
- Steven Ruppert – He’s a super smart coding machine that obsesses over every detail.
- Jason Lingle – He’s so brilliant, he can code in German and English simultaneously. It makes for some interesting class names. Plus, he has a permanent “Movember” all year round.
- Tom Kelly – other than the jabs he takes at CU’s football team – I forgive him, he’s a bitter Vikings fan – he is super fun to work with and makes sure the financial house of FullContact is always in order.
- Jeanette Russell – since she joined FullContact my life has changed for the better. She manages every detail, handles the constant demands on my time and more importantly, handles all the stuff around the office with grace and aplomb. Plus, she makes sure we still have money in the bank and makes sure everyone gets paid.
- Wim De Pril – Wim hasn’t started yet, but I’m already thankful for all he’s going to do on the engineering side of the house.
- Brad Feld – for his patience, wisdom and forethought. Brad works unbelievably hard and inspires his portfolio CEOs to work even harder than they already do.
- Chris Marks – for his never ending support, patience, and easygoing attitude. Chris is incredibly thoughtful and was the first VC to take a chance on us.
- Every single one of our investors. You know who you are. You believed in our dream, and that means the world to us.
- The thousands of applicants for positions at FullContact since Paid, Paid Vacation. We can’t hire all of them, but we’re honored and flattered that so many people want to join us.
- All of our customers and beta users. Our growth has been phenomenal and I get up every morning thinking about how to satisfy them.
- Every person that has ever worn a FullContact T-Shirt. We see them all the time around Downtown Denver, which always makes me smile.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Now I’m going to go watch some NFL Football, help Sarah make some mashed potatoes, and stuff myself with Turkey.