We’ve all read great, heroic stories of the team that slaves away in a garage only to create the foundation of an iconic company.  But is it real?  Is it common?  A few days ago, I ran across a blog that had some extremely frank thoughts about entrepreneurship… and it inspired me to put together some thoughts of my own on the topic.  I am not a poet, but this seems best suited for poetic style.  Maybe slam poetry on a really bad day. :-)

Quick caveat:  while some of this rings true for us at present, certainly not all of it does.  I am speaking generally of the entrepreneurship experience from lessons learned over 4 of them now…

The Thrill of the Hunt
by Chris Treadaway

long days and nights,
working mostly by yourself or with a partner or two
on new, big ideas
that you are convinced will work
but nobody, not even your closest friends,
thinks you can actually pull off
because you are working with a small team
with limited funds and resources
and more sweat than money,
which you use to build products,
that you find are also being developed
by 10 other companies
with more funding and traction than you,
but yours has the “one feature”
that will be critical for adoption,
so you press on
with a buggy “Beta”
that doesn’t at all work as it should,
yet you sell to reluctant customers
who don’t ever return your calls
or e-mail messages quickly enough,
which brings you all too much quiet and solitude
all too often;
but when they finally do, they balk at your price
or your offering,
or the minor inconveniences required to work with you,
for reasons that are all too often trivial,
political, and artificial;
but the light at the end of the tunnel
is the first customer
who then won’t pay you promptly,
or can’t pay you at all,
or will argue with you over the deliverable,
the timeline, or new requirements,
or your presence on-site,
that requires you to hire attorneys
at $300-$400/hour
when you are eating ramen noodles and filling up on soup.

but you press on, fighting to bootstrap your business,
where you might ultimately earn the honor
of earning 75% of the paycheck you earned before
if you are lucky;
or you begin to pitch angels and venture capitalists,
who are naturally suspicious of you,
and who find every excuse in the world,
to crap on your idea and your capabilities,
while you pitch your company, your market, and your team,
and try like hell to sound like you don’t need them,
in a vain attempt,
to improve your negotiating position,
when it’s pretty certain
that you’ll give up a large % of your great idea anyway,
and perhaps control
to people who know finance and investing
a lot better than your business
which in the end has a 20% chance of survival,
and a <5% chance of doing something significant,
either of which you may not be around to see
or even profit from,
for reasons that may or may not be in your control.

But we keep coming back for more,
for it is the thrill of the hunt
that keeps us going,
that keeps us looking,
for the one idea
and the execution
to make us whole.