February 25, 2012

On Love, Death and Startups: A Valentine's Day Retrospective

Even the king of the jungle is not immune.

A startup is fragile.  
It can die in an instant.
Many relentless and growing forces are against it.

What could possibly overcome such entropy?

Love is the answer.
Love for a product or service that solves a problem.
Love for a solution in the service of others.
Love for a puzzle solved.

True love.
Sustaining love.
Life's-work love.

Not the love of quick money, or fame, or revenge.
These arrows do not carry.

The love of which we speak 
must resonate at the core of the founder, 
the original thinker 
whose idea has found its time.

The founder must radiate this love to all,
and in doing so, attract others to the cause.

Love is the growth hormone of a startup.

But love is also death to a startup.

Love is a madness, by definition.
Love is irrational, undefinable, and erratic.
History is filled with stories of death and destruction caused by love.

Love consumes a massive percentage of personal bandwidth.
Unless the all-consuming love is for the startup,
the chances of success are greatly limited.

An investor's worst nightmare is a founder who falls in love.
Microsoft began to slide into mediocrity when Gates fell in love.
Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark schools because of his girlfriend.
Imagine the greatness lost with such diversions...

Give us love, for the startup.
Protect us from love for any other.

Love is the primordial soup of creation of a startup.
Love is poison to a startup.
Love is the antidote.

Love is the small boy wanting to pet the big dog,
but frozen by fear of being eaten by it.

Love is a madness.

Love lives past the edge of reason.
Beyond reason live monsters.