February 1, 2010

Health, bonuses and NYC

Both Sides of The Table: The Yo-Yo Life of a Tech Entrepreneur - A Cautionary Tale. "I somehow never really felt stressed during all of this. At least not externally. Immediately following the closing of the round I flew out to a big real estate conference in France to meet with prospective customers. On the trip I nearly collapsed. I felt dizzy and had an aching in my chest. I started feeling panic attacks. I had never had any symptoms like this in my life.


The doctor told me that while I didn't ever show my anxiety to my friends and colleagues or even acknowledge it myself, my body still went through the stress internally. How had I let myself get to this point? If you're still young I'm sure you think it would never happen to you - you're fit, right? Age and life catches up with you. I was you, too."

Being an entrepreneur is not the rosy story politicians too often tell.

Steve Blank: Incentives and Legends. "Everyone at our startup was working on startup starvation salaries, and Bob had taken a large pay cut to join us. When the Japanese partner deal was done, Bob said, "Steve, I deserve at least a $10,000 bonus. I haven't been home in weeks, and I pulled off a financing even you admit was unbelievable."

I patiently explained that this type of miraculous event was the norm for startups. The engineers were pulling off miracles on a daily basis, we were all taking fumes for salaries, but our payoff will be when our stock is worth something. Until then, tell your wife you'll get $10,000 when hell freezes over. No bonuses in a startup. To his credit Bob said while he understood, he was going to hear about it at home for not being appreciated.


I said, "Extraordinary work in a startup is the norm, but you performed even beyond my expectations. In my startups that's worth recognizing.

Rewards for extraordinary effort became part of the company's legend.


In three or so years these cash incentives added up to no more than $50K. While everyone understood the theory that we were working to make the stock valuable (and we did,) the cash reminded them that we cared and noticed."

Good points.

Chris Dixon: The NYC tech scene is exploding. "The one thing we really need to complete the ecosystem is a couple of runaway succesesses. As California has seen with Paypal, Google, Facebook etc, the big successes spawn all sorts of interesting new startups when employees leave and start new companies. They also set an example for younger entrepreneurs who, say, start a social networking site at Harvard and then decide to move."

Stockholm is developing quite nicely too, but more angel investors and some decent exits would benefit the Stockholm web scene.

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