AppFog founder provides sage advice: How do I cope with startup envy?

If you’re even remotely associated with the startup scene, you know it’s competitive. Even in a community as collaborative as the Portland startup scene. And even if it’s not outward pressure, founders can put a lot of pressure on themselves. And compare their progress to that of their peers—or their perceived peers.

AppFog founder Lucas Carlson—now the Chief Innovation Officer at CenturyLink—knows this all to well. And so he recently took the opportunity to pen an insightful post. With its own modernized Taoist parable:

An entrepreneur starts a company and gets millions in venture capital. Everyone congratulates him and says “What great news about starting a company!” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.” The company’s growth stalls. Everyone says: “What bad news about your growth!” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.” A bunch of companies in the same space are acquired. Everyone says: “What good news about the acquisitions!” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.” The company lays everyone off to extend runway. Everyone says: “What bad news about layoffs.” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.” The company pivots and raises a mega-round of funding. Everyone says: “What good news about the funding!” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.” The company runs out of money and shuts down. Everyone says: “What bad news about starting that company!” The entrepreneur responds: “Maybe.”

It’s well worth the time to read the post. (NOTE: Be forewarned, the image accompanying the post may be a little graphic. But I also admit, I’m a little hypersensitive to this sort of thing. I’ve done my best to provide a link that jumps to the content. But it may still appear on the screen briefly.) For more, read Lucas’ thoughts on coping with startup envy.

(Image courtesy Michael Remnant. Used under Creative Commons.)

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