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Friday, October 10, 2008

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If you can't beat it, wield it. - QNeedleman, responding to McClure, advises the right mix of optimism and fear for entrepreneurs given the predicted economic malaise.I agree with Needleman that pragmatism is called for, and it is precisely in... [Read More]

Comments

Successful Entrepreneur

Well said. I can certainly see why you're riled up about the whole thing... it seems that, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, there are still loads of folks who think that entrepreneurship is the fast track to an easy life. As you've stated (and I've found out myself), nothing could be farther from the truth.

Having left the corporate world to run my own show, I'm convinced some days that entrepreneurship requires at least a moderate mental imbalance. But that's our lot in life... so be it.

wissam

thanks,this is just what I needed to read this morning, you are spot on.

social application development

Very nice post... kudos to you....

doug

fear is a powerful emotion, and reveals the will of men at their weakest moments. it is this smell which excites the aggressive, and then the vultures and other carrion crows. resolve in the face of fear - that's what it takes.

purchlive

Fuckin' right on.......

David Cain

"Risk is our business!" Captain James T. Kirk, USS Enterprise

Glenn Kelman

I am the last to see this but my God this is good: heart-felt without being schlocky, idiosyncratic and totally real.

The writing style alone has had a seismic effect on me & Redfin's now effete-seeming blog. Have you ever read Junot Diaz? You both combine profanity, profundity and science-fiction in a way that grabs me by the adolescent gonads.

So, you now have a new subscriber... and you should check out Junot Diaz. Thanks! Glenn at Redfin.

Edward Daciuk

Great post. Very motivating. It's really helpful to hammer home the right reasons to be in a startup and erase misconceptions of what it takes to win. No such thing as problems, just things to do.

MG Howard

Dave,

Loved your Muad'Dib reference as Dune is one of those films like Blazing Saddles where the dialog is known verbatim.

I recall a seminar by Ram Dass that said the pendulum needs to complete swinging in one direction before it can swing back in the other.

Here's hoping we are at that point where momentum changes course.

Best to you,
MG Howard

Lightglove, CEO

Song Huang

As a founder of a start up the mist of all this FUD, I want offer this observation. When you are out pitching your deal, the investors always ask you, "Who is the competition?". If there are none, then maybe there's not a market. If there are too many, they freak out thinking they are late to the game.

Here's where the crap economic climate comes in. Several months from now, most of the competition in your market will fade into noise. This is survival of the fittest. If you have a business model and you are gaining traction in this climate, investors will fund you or your revenues will fund you. All those companies on "low burn" will be left behind as you strengthen your position.

The ripe marketplace with too many competitors will still be there, but the number of competitors will be greatly reduced. Not spending time addressing all the other people who say they are doing what you are doing is a cost savings. Somewhere in the overall scheme of things, you just got more money to build your business because of this phenomenon.

Ralf Lippold

Hi Dave,

Great post - even though a bit disturbing in the beginning (What the s... should the cursing mean?).

Entrepreneurs are not the safety-like people who like it warm and cozy. If they stumble and fall they always stand up again (like everybody of us did as a child - or did you ever stay on the bottom after you had fallen on it?).

Looking forward to team entrepreneurship as the second step to entrepreneurship;-)

Best regards from Leipzig (being redirected to the post via a good friend of mine from Australia, Marigo:-))

Ralf

Tim Ferriss

Dave,

You are the f*ing man. I love the Dune reference, not to mention the uncommon common sense that people seem to lose while running around like Chicken Little.

Rock on,

Tim F.

Ted Murphy

Those guys up top (http://www.slideshare.net/eldon/sequoia-capital-on-startups-and-the-economic-downturn-presentation?type=powerpoint) are encountering a kind of perfect storm. But its calm and still down here under the waves. Glug.

Seriously, I think this market malfunction will hurt the VC types a lot more than practitioners in online social media.

Thomas

Phenom post. Sequoia pursuing FAIL strategy. Change = opportunity. BIG Change = BIG Opportunity.

Kevin Dwinnell

My solution for getting up in the morning - I care for my daughter in the mornings. The start up work begins at 1PM and then goes until I sleep. The reason I get up is clear.

Murphy

Frankly, I'm starting a web app. I thought it would be easy (I'm determined, intelligent, and have a business model that follows my passions). Knowing that it's actually a bit of a challenge kicks my ass in gear harder. Thanks. I need an enemy.

Lisa

Beautiful post.

(I too could have done without the swearing but even with the vulgar words, it is a beautiful post)

Tom

I see the truth of it... great blog, I just found it and I think I'll keep reading

Marc Barros

one of the best posts i've ever read!

some nigga

Holy fuck shit. Right on, you fucking cocksucker. What an inspirational fucking rant. I'm abso-fucking-lutely certain that those fearful pieces of fucking shit tightened their fucking belts after reading this fucking masterpiece, motherfucker. Fucking A. And you can bet your sweet ass that the hardcore, badass optimists such as myself, who were already manning up and getting their fucking heads out of your mom's ass, appreciate your too-cool-for-school brutally honest fucking commentary.

Fucksicles.

Cliff notes: I agree wholeheartedly with your message, but is the delivery compensating for something? ;)

Patrick

Great post Dave,
Even the NY Times is telling people to just cill out. The following is an interesting read about the real scope of the financial "crisis".
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/opinion/10mulligan.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Cheers

onetake

Bi-la kaifa!

Ali

Well said! - Trade fear for courage, passion for profit, and forge ahead at full speed.

All the best,

Ali R. Rodriguez
Business Coach
www.VisionForSuccess.biz

Patrick Hopf

Living this now. Walked into a great start-up a couple of months back. A buddy is one of the founders, and I jumped at the shot of working with him and the rest of his team. Great people, great track records all.

Timing is everything: I hope I don't see the demise of what I think is a great product, and a great business model - and I would know the difference having been in the space since 1999.

Josiah

Amen, brother - reading this was a great way to start off a new week. Thanks for the perspective.

Ron

kick ass man
every word in stone
rock on

rodel

just the read food for thought i need.. keep it comm'n dave!..

Paul OFlaherty

Great post Dave. Glad I'm not in the valley at the moment although the herd mentality that is driving this is pretty much everywhere now.

dominic

Excellent,

"That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger"


Art Reisman

Dave,


If you doing the right thing and being honest with the people that work for you then fear should never occur.

You sound like a sheep. You don't need to take VC money if you have a good idea their should be plenty of market window to grow organic, but perhaps that does not get your adrenaline running I understand that. Here in Boulder the VC's ignore us or back stupid ideas looking for the next google behind every corner. Find something off the radar , the next thing that works is not where the sheep are.

Jeff

what you say is so true. sometimes, i just lay awake at night, not being able to fall asleep. fear is something every entrepreneur HAS TO learn how to deal with.

becca

I like you just for the fact that you referenced Dune. :D

Jeff McNeill

The Spice Must Flow, Motherfucker!

Thanks Dave :D

Max

Thanks. I needed that.

Jeff Widman

I love the extra work you put into your posts--rarely do I see text/links used so effectively!

Scott

err hear hear! :)

Scott

here here! doom and gloom is the exact wrong message. the time for worrying about that was 6 months ago. now is about opportunity!

matt

very well said! thanks for posting this piece.

Josh

Dave,

Couldn't agree more. The pansies that pack up and run away now shouldn't have been starting companies in the first place. Sure it's hard, but in a way, this is going to be easier to be an entrepreneur because you don't see everyone right and left getting money, competing for talent on truly crap ideas and I'll get rich of my simple Facebook app in 3 easy steps.

Chris Yeh

I've always been more of a Harkonnen man myself, at least when it comes to the Dune video game.

Eric Nakagawa

Hell yes... This is the kind of shit I like seeing.

Things will get tougher. What happens if/when people war it up in the streets... when shit stops being civil... where you gonna be? Cash flow positive? If not now, when? What's the hold up? Consumer's in a ditch. Innovate suckas!

Everyone GET YOUR SHIT SORTED!

Dave, always love the posts. It's as if you conjure them up using notepad and old school html codes. The style is unique and focused on the message.

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Be Yoda, not Luke Skywalker. Guy's a friggin' wimp.

dick costolo

ok, tell the truth, how long did it take you to put that Montage2 jpg together? Come on, be honest.

Anon
Dave what's with all the cussing? I prefer this place when it was family friendly...
What, reading the site aloud to the little tyke on your knee, are you? Scared to expose your little angel to the big bad world of adults?

Grow the fuck up, you little pussy.

Sophia

awesome posting. If it were easy, everyone would be an entrepreneur.

David Sandusky

this post must be geared to wannabes

Michael Sitarzewski

First time reading your blog... I've added it to my RSS feeds and will read from now on. Very inspiring and direct.

My two favorite comment quotes: "nothing is more powerful in killing the entrepreneurial spirit than constant bad news!" and "Time to suck it up and double-down, because there's work to be done..."

And this was awesome: "on average, YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. MULTIPLE TIMES, in NEW & INTERESTING ways."

Thanks to Brad Feld for sending us over on Twitter: http://snurl.com/49acr

Jeff Clavier

Gloom, which gloom?

Mike

Request - can Eye of the Tiger please play in the background on this page? Thanks. And great post.

Scott Schnaars

Dave, one of your best posts ever. Awesome job! Deep breaths, keep your head, modify your plan, move on and kick ass.

Dave Donohue

Nothing like a few Dune references to totally turn my day around. Thanks, Dave!

scott broomfield

All of us should remember the scene in 'It's a Wonderful life' where Jimmy Stewart was explaining to everyone how the Baily Building and Loan worked and that Potter wasn't selling, Potter was buying.

Faith in each other. Don't let fear paralyze.

The doers, the innovators and the entrepreneur's will pull us out of this mess that the money changers got us into.

Paulo Traça

Dave,

I just have to say that this is a kickass post.You are spot on.
So many things resonated with me, I've been bootstrapping my startup for the last 2 years and feels great to know that there other people that think that, leaving a safe job, getting deep in personal debt and the pain and hardship that you go through when you're trying to build your dream isn't a fools quest. Some validation does wonders for the soul. You are my new hero. Adding your feed to my reader for sure.

Cheers

George Lee

Great post Dave, BUT negative points for using a picture from the new Dune series, not the David Lynch version.

BTW, I'm going to start lighting my hand on fire in pitch meetings. I just want to prove to people that I'm the kwisatz haderach...I mean, who wouldn't fund the kwisatz haderach???

Jason Kemp

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the passion and energy behind this post.

All markets are not the same- all businesses are not subject to the same linked risk.

Many of us face constant pressure on all fronts and the current crisis just needs to get in the queue.

particularly like your summary of the online market as positive and growing

>internet startups cost less lower costs, more people online, more e-commerce. >doesn’t that seem like a pretty good environment for building new online >businesses?”

Thanks again

Sean Fahey

LOVE IT! And if you need help staying positive pick up a book called Learned Optimism it has helped us get through some slumps in our start up!

Dan Martell

Awesome post! I'm glad someone finally spoke up ... I'm just really freakin' excited to know that during these times, is when the next Google will be born.

Everyone just needs to reflect on the good, and just push forward with more passion / intent then ever before!

Josh Viney

Hell yeah. Running a business is hard work, being responsible for your employees is hard work, and, interestingly enough, the best businesses actually try to make money.

This downturn could mean real opportunity for the right folks. I'm going down to Wall St. later to see if I can get some nice used office furniture for my team.

michael

Great post, lol, love the Dune ref's.

The last stanza is one of my favorites. I've used it when big things are straight in front of me.

mxt

THINK
think different
Think Open Source

Vijay Goel, M.D.

Amen on the sentiment.

But enough of the Silicon Valley elitist crap. People take risks all over the world. SV funding infrastructure has built an ecosystem resembling internal company politics over a meritocracy.

Focus on building real businesses with real revenues and you don't have to worry about survival if you don't get your D round. You need to spend time outside of the valley and see real customers with real problems in multiple situations to really understand this.

John Roberts

I haven't had someone cite The Litany Against Fear in a long time. Thank you... it was the core of my 8th grade graduation speech, which raised some eyebrows then. Fear IS the mind-killer.

Ted Rheingold

100% Agreed. We are not the VC's and their problems are not ours.

Now is literally the right time to make the next big thing

http://blog.dogster.com/2008/10/10/frozen-vcs-will-be-a-boon-for-internet-entrepeneurs/>I just wrote a blog post on why.

Alex

Yes.

I can't tell you how much I wanted somebody to come out and say this.

Ryan Junee

Nice one Dave! Way to rally the troops

Gary Gil

Dave, I wish you wouldn't hold back. Just tell us how you really feel ;)

jyamasaki

For me, in spite of the snide complaints from my colleagues, swearing is another form of showing your passion. It's clear, Dave, that passion (and sharing YOUR passion, as an example) is needed not only to survive, but to make it to the finish line. Thanks for opening up, and getting us to man up and walk the walk...

jyamasaki

For me, in spite of the snide complaints from my colleagues, swearing is another form of showing your passion. It's clear, Dave, that passion (and sharing YOUR passion, as an example) is needed not only to survive, but to make it to the finish line. Thanks for opening up, and getting us to man up and walk the walk...

John Vars

Love this post. Right on!

Michael Wolff

did you see this coming? do you know where it's going? do you know what the world will look like after the storm has passed? if you can't answer yes to all three questions, you might want to consider your options. if you want to see someone that predicted this back in 2002, see Prechter: Conquer the Crash http://is.gd/3QbK

Dave Hodson

Great post - I started my last company in 2002, against the advice of many. We were super cheap expense-wise (HQ = my house), stayed focused on the product and lived on crumbs until things turned around. Tough times can be a great time to find strong talent that wouldn't be available otherwise.

Simon

at least obvious benefits of awful times are great, inpired & hilarious blog posts ;)

Rob

Thank you Dave. This is getting ridiculous. One person (or fund) screams panic and everyone freaks out. Let's pull ourselves together and continue doing what we believe in. Let the panicky wimps get back scream themselves to irrelevance.

robert

Awesome post...

With a few tweaks it could be reposted and targeted at the VCs with their heads stuck in the sand.

Boris M. Silver

One of the benefits of not being in the Valley is that I don't get hit with this herd mentality when it creeps in both times of boom and bust.

One of the benefits of being a 20 year old CEO is I'm an eternal optimist.

One of the benefits of reading this blog is I get to read awesome posts full of passion and flare.

Awesome post Dave!

rashmi

Needed this after seeing the doom and gloom all around. You are right. being an entrepreneur is tough. Sometims its tougher. Suck up and deal with it.

Faisal H

...you had me at "Ultimate Frisbee"...

Kingsley Joseph

please keep the swearing, the Dune references and the crack color schemes coming.

David Kendall

> try dealing with your servers being stolen
> on new year's day while you're in the
> middle of trying to close an acquisition

The memories come flooding back.

The phone rang at - maybe - 7:30am on the holiday weekend. It was a cop calling saying that there had been a break-in. I was a little bleary-eyed having been out to - ahem - a "social engagement" the night before. Apparently the cop had found a phone list on your office wall, he started dialing numbers from the top of the list. I was the first person to answer the phone.

The thieves had been super efficient. The cables to the computers looked like they had been cut with heavy duty shears. I bet they had been in and out in minutes.

I think one machine had contained the source code repository and the other was the development server with the working code on it. All the code for the project written since the last backup had been lost. Lesson learned: frequent off-site backups are important.

The true lesson, though, was how fast we can recover from crisis. When I arrived at the office to find the cop and the pile of broken glass I had visions of canceled contacts, lawsuits, and the prime resume fodder project we had been working on all going down the tubes. The reality was that we were able to rewrite the lost code in a day or two. The hard part of coding is the figuring things out. Typing the code is the easy part. In the end the delays at the client end slipped the launch much much more than the couple of days that were hit by that theft.

Crises come and go. We muddle our way through the difficult times and surf the waves of the good times. In the long run the good luck and the bad luck cancel each other out and what we are left with is fruit of our labor.

Those were the days....


bernard lunn

Yeeha, great post Dave. Still think FB suck as a business :-)

sprfrkr

Someone get me a worm!

daveschappell

Amen, Mr. McClure -- I was just telling some folks last night that "at least other people are starting to feel the same pressure that I've been feeling for the last year!". Time to suck it up and double-down, because there's work to be done, and opportunities to be taken advantage of!

antje wilsch

LOVE this post, although hard to believe you still love FB so much :)

thanks for kicking some arse; I am tired of the moaning too, esp coming from certain investors

Kris Colvin

Love "the spice must flow, mofo!" Love this whole post. A newbie startup, I've left the safety of only working for others and am building products myself. Perfect "wake up" advice for people who might fret, and never START, in or out of the valley. Thanks for the awesomeness.

Davide Di Cillo

very true.
the positive aspect of online businesses is that they can profit anywhere in the world and when things go bad here there is always another market with a positive cash flow to target.

Daniel James

Thanks Dave, this is just what I needed to read this morning, you are spot on. Rock n roll, mates!

p.s. I don't mind the swearing, so much.

Christine Lu

this totally rocks. i think i'll skip my coffee this morning. i'm wired after this post. :D

Ben Tremblay

As one VC CEO pointed out: growth sectors always recover faster than other (more "mature"?) sectors.

surya

this is the greatest post you have ever written.

Leila Boujnane

Hell Yes! Thanks for your blog post. Awesome start to the day in this gloom and doom world. As you said: enough already! Back to work folks.

Ryan Graves

Gotta say Dave, I'm never bored reading your shit.

Love the positive but realistic message your preaching. One last point... Entrepreneurs are committing suicide if they are constantly reading the news...nothing is more powerful in killing the entrepreneurial spirit than constant bad news! Turn of CNN and focus on making that $krill!

Wondering

You are my hero....great words and great inspiration for those who want to do something and not just 'finance' something.

WalKnDude

Well, 'dave'I am coming to the valley, and this sheeple is looking for NASA BLOOD.
feel me PSYOP?

WalKnDude
*nofear*

Pug Nagual

Common man sees destruction. Exceptional man sees new opportunity.

Mike Montano

great post dave.

"with data on how you fail" << I really like this point. Most people leave that out when they talk about failing fast and failing often.

maneck

Dave what's with all the cussing? I prefer this place when it was family friendly...

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