Friday, February 27, 2009

Jason Calacanis - What to do if your startup is about fail (or “Don’t Stop Believing”)

The Jason Calacanis Weblog

What to do if your startup is about fail (or “Don’t Stop Believing”)

Location: Mahalo HQ, Santa Monica
Date/Time: February 26th 2009 6:25pm
Subscribers: 12,483
Rock out To This While Reading: Don’t Stop Believing
Forward To: Startups that are hitting the wall

A lot of CEOs with less than 12 months of capital left have been
asking me for advice about what to do, given the massive economic
turmoil we’re facing. I thought I would take the time put these
various conversations into one email to help those who are “up against
it,” as we say in Brooklyn.

Now, sprinting to the startup precipice is one of the most horrible
and exhilarating experiences you can have as an entrepreneur.

The exhaustion sinks in as you slam on the brakes. You dig in your
heels and watch the dirt and pebbles fly off the cliff as your left
foot dangles down in the ravine, with your right foot desperately
trying to save you. Your momentum could–if the wind kicks in–send
you straight down to your death. Heck, even the two inches of earth
under your right foot could give way and send you to your death.  Or,
you could slip and fall on a magic carpet that will take you to the
Promised Land.

OK, that last part is made up. You’re probably screwed and you know it.

This email is intended for startup companies with less than 12 months
of cash in the bank, who know in their hearts that their VCs have lost
faith, and that Google, Yahoo or Microsoft aren’t going to pick them
up on a magic M&A carpet ride.

This is the email I’d like you to forward to your friends who are
running startups that could go under in 2009.

Some background
I’ve been to the precipice and faced the fall a couple of times. I’ve
learned a couple of things from the experience. I can tell you that
the first time it happens, you’re terrified, because everything you’ve
done–all the effort and dreams–will probably be lost (like tears in
the rain).