My Support System

Photo Credit: Jaisen Mathai

My Support System

This post is part of a series chronicling my 3 year startup journey. Each post can be read individually but to get the full picture I suggest starting from the beginning.

It was over 3 years ago when this journey started. I thought if things went terribly that it would last as little as 6 months and if things went really well it could have gone on for a decade.

Curveballs.

It’s the part that makes startups hard: managing your own psychology when it looks like everything is falling apart.

So many times it felt like everything was falling in around us. I can recall the 3 times Patrick and I talked about how there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Twice on Castro St. in Mountain View where we worked when Patrick was in town we planned how we’d shut Trovebox down.

When they say your chances of success increase if you have a great co-founder this is what they must have been talking about. On my worst days it felt like Patrick was the only one who could pull me out of the depths. Those days were plentiful.

Family

Despite the consuming nature of doing a startup my first commitment was always to Rachel and our 2 kids. Rachel didn’t know what she was signing up for on that day when I asked her what she thought about me leaving my job and decent health insurance along with it. Life threw us many curveballs but I had her unflinching support at every turn.

Tavin at Gilroy Gardens Elodie at Gilroy Gardens Rachel and I in Carmel
Mi familia. Credit: Jaisen Mathai CC BY.

Then there’s my parents who think I’m crazy. That gets reinforced each time I chase a startup idea. This is the second time I left a job to start something. They want nothing more than for me to get a job at a big stable company and be a loyal employee until I retire. Nonetheless they supported me as they have in the past despite thinking I was being foolish.

The Shuttleworth Foundation

I wrote in more detail about my experience as a Shuttleworth fellow if you wanted to read it. But to make a long post short they’ve been the best partner I could ask for. Not only did they provide nearly $1M in funding but they provided a network of the brightest and most ambitious people I’ve met. All working on something that makes the world a better place. There’s nothing else quite like it.

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Shuttleworth Gathering at the MIT Media Lab. Credit: Jaisen Mathai CC BY.

Friends

There were countless friends who believed in me as well. They helped me keep my sanity when I questioned if I had made a terrible mistake.

It doesn’t take a village to build a startup but it helps to have people in your corner. You don’t need them every day but you will need them.