Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Midwest Entrepreneurship Conference organized by UNO which took place at the Kaneko.
Great crowd, and great programming. A good mix of old and young, with a standup comic in the middle. (Major points to the committee for booking him, and major points to Austin Anderson for working a very tough room. After lunch, no drinks is a suboptimal booking for any comic. He had a great set, persevered and earned my respect.)
My presentation was not so much about how to do a startup as much as what the personal and psychological cost of entrepreneurship can be. It’s a great ride, but if you’re not prepared– personally, emotionally, even psychologically– a lot can go wrong. Mark Suster described this very well in his post about Entrepreneurshit. Startups are hard. The rewards can be high, but they take a lot out of the people in them. We’re finally starting to have an honest conversation about this subject, and like everything else around mental health AND startups, it’s hard for people to be candid. Everyone wants to say it’s going great all the time, but there’s always something going wrong. And if you lie to yourself about that, you will have a much harder time. As Viktor Frankl taught, we all have to be very clear why we are doing what we’re doing, be brutally honest with ourselves, and be able to improvise. For entrepreneurs, even more so. A lot of people depend on you keeping it together. Don’t neglect yourself.
The slides are below, but are pretty minimal. (I’m learning from the great Idea Transplant that less really is more.)
I also was lucky enough to be interviewed by Dr. Jeremy Harris Lipschultz for his Spreecast videoblog. The video is here, and I opine on the world of social media.
A great day, and I’m sorry I couldn’t stay for the second day– great speakers, including Blake Lawrence from Opendorse, who is doing some appealingly disruptive things to the athletic endorsement industry.
Entrepreneurship is seductive, transformative, and grueling. The more honest we are about it, the more likely we are to have healthier companies and happier people. Take care of your customers, your investors, and your team. But don’t neglect yourself.