Despite the prevailing startup mythology, the actual truth is that being a founder can be draining, depressing, debilitating, and lonely. Not exactly the “be your own boss” halcyon existence perpetuated in the media. To exacerbate things, many early stage founders choose to go it alone. Rather than seeking out the help they need. But when they do realize they need help? One of the folks many people seek out is Jerry Colonna. And as luck would have it, he’ll be in Portland on May 13, 2019.
While admittedly there are any number of resources that share the stories of entrepreneurs, the voice of those stories is decidedly homogenous. So when I get the chance to share a story that’s not part of the homogeneity — or when I get the chance to use the word “homogeneity” in a post — I’m going to do it. Like the story of Sylvia Salazar, the Latina founder of TonoLatino.
Startups are grueling. Even as an employee. For founders? They’re exponentially more of a grind. With the pressure. And the people relying on you. And the investors. As such, founders go through any number of ups and downs. Which often result in burnout. And depression. And those feelings can lead to substance abuse. Or ignoring the problem. Yeah. It’s tough. Really tough.
You can’t swing a dead term sheet without hitting thousands of posts on “how to be a better founder.” Most of which contain largely unusable advice or set unattainable expectations for anyone to adopt. Founder or otherwise.
Throughout the multiple decades I’m spent in the startup world, the idea of starting your own company has moved from obscurity to a cornerstone of popular culture — and modern day entertainment. But there is one thing — for those in the thick of it — that hasn’t changed: starting a company is incredibly difficult. And emotionally draining. But that’s not something that’s often part of the pop culture conversation.
I know I can be a bit of a broken record, what with my rosy outlook on the Portland startup community and all. So I always like to reference others who recognize the awesome people we have in our midst. Like when the folks behind the Zebra movement are recognized among the 30 women engaged in world changing efforts.
Portland Web Innovators was founded because we don’t just like the technology or the design. Yes, those are a big part of our craft. We also want to work on fulfilling projects, for companies that do good stuff. For many of us, we want to start our own companies. In fact, many Web Innovators already have.