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My startup failed, and this is what it feels like, by Nikki Durkin of 99Dresses and YCombinator, published on Medium

nikki durkin

Here's Nikki Durkin's excellent post about what startup failure feels like:

Stashed in: Founders, 106 Miles, Women, FAIL, YCombinator, Emotion, @bhorowitz, Awesome, Stories, startup, Australia!, The Feels, XX, Startup, Medium, Extraordinary People, Cognitive Bias

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Nikki Durkin writes:

The startup press glorifies hardship. They glorify the Airbnbs who sold breakfast cereal to survive, and then turned their idea into a multi-billion dollar business. You rarely hear the raw stories of startups that persevered but ultimately failed — the emotional roller coaster of the founders, and why their startups didn’t work out.

As things were looking bleak at 99dresses I started seeking out these stories, desperately hoping for someone — anyone — to relate to. Failing is lonely and isolating. Every time I’d scroll through my Facebook feed all my startup friends were launching new products on Techcrunch, announcing their new fundraising rounds or acquisition, and posting photos of their happy teams. Ask any founder how they’re doing, and you’ll hear something positive. Whether that’s the truth or not, that’s what we’re trained to say.

I found postmortems of startups outlining what didn’t work and why the company went under, but I was hard pressed to find anything that talked about the emotional side of failure — how it actually feels to invest many years of your life and your blood, sweat and tears, only for your startup to fall head first off a cliff. Maybe its because most founders are men, and men generally don’t like talking about their feelings. Maybe its because failure is embarrassing.

I don’t know why this is the case, but here is my contribution to the cause: my story. This is what failure feels like. I hope it helps.

This article is a long read (~20 minutes) but Nikki puts it all out there, and it truly resonates:

Thank you Nikki for writing this.

That sounds about right with less profanity, violence...ya know, when you want to see someone's blood spill, watch the world burn, etc, etc.  I mean that's what I've heard I wouldn't really know first hand or anything. ;)

She's surprisingly not angry about it, now that you mention it.

Yes, the Dalai Lama is on my vision board. I'm working on it. 

Also I believe you go through the same stages of grief so possibly she hasn't hit that one yet, or has already moved past it.

Anger comes second, Acceptance fifth. She seems to be in acceptance.

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