This is what entrepreneurship is. This is what it’s like to have 300 tabs open in Firefox, nearly all of which you need. Being a solo founder amplifies this. We have no one to keep our memories in check, to offload the big questions and tasks to. Technical, marketing, administration, all the extra bullshit. Every detail matters and each direction is a tree that grows quickly and expands exponentially ever outwards like a giant cone. You switch directions and focus on a new cone, it’s like flicking a switch into becoming a new person with new priorities. Each context switch costs you time, forces you to forget details of the last cone, and makes you play catch up. It is doable, but it can really suck as things pick up fast, especially when dealing with things you know little about.
I’ve learned this the hard way when launching my Indiegogo campaign. I didn’t know much about marketing, advertising, PR, and the amount of clawing required just to get people involved. Well I knew a little, but I wasn’t expecting to be so busy. I also didn’t expect the bridge to be constantly collapsing, made of mud and twigs on top of a crashing river’s path.
Of the things I’ve learned, it’s that consumer sucks. If you don’t already have a good user base before you launch, you ain’t got nothin’, fool! People drive people, you can buy clicks, but you can’t buy engagement, you can’t buy shares, you can’t buy what matters, it can only be accessed tertiarily. There’s an exception for every rule (read: millions in the bank makes some problems easier), but like networking, it’s a connection of dots, touches, and warm progressions that get you forward. Cold is dead, warm is win, hot is hot.
Creating something of value is useless if you can’t reach those people for whom the value is key. If these people are disparate, then you are screwed. You can only ignore the problem of distribution for so long and as much as I hated to admit it, it’s the most important problem of all [thanks Peter Thiel for rubbing it in after the fact]. A solution’s speed to success is based solely on it’s throughput of the distribution channel. Need to manually sell it? Get ready to carry that weight.
As I self-recognize that I’ve again fallen a bit into the trap of the Morass, I am context switching back to the topic at hand after erasing paragraphs that shot off into different directions. Most people will never understand what you feel, in fact they never can, their life just isn’t setup for it unless tragedy occurs. Most won’t willingly put themselves so deep that they can’t eat, sleep, or remember where they were 2 days ago because they have no sane reason to. That’s the definition of regular folks. We are not regular folks, we are those who feel through the darkness, following a map we literally just made up, hoping it will actually turn out to be real after all.
To fight through the swirling dark morass of our mind while pushing into the unknown, we have to be strong, committed, passionate, foolhardy, and optimistic about a better future ahead. We can’t stand to fuck around in the realm of mere mortals, we need to be gods in our own rights, twisting fate to suit our whims and pleasures and making it so through sheer willpower alone. We can constantly call upon that light ahead to pull us through the darkness, to refocus us, even when it seems we are in our darkest.
Entrepreneurs: We don’t accept.
The mass swirls around us, but as it turns, contorting, confusing, shifting our gaze and attention, we reach out to those people who can pierce the veil and yank us in the right direction once more. Having advisors, mentors, peers and friends is incredibly important to keeping the light alive, to jolting us back into reality. If you don’t have any, find some, and if you have some, thank them and keep in touch. When you’ve learned enough, turn around and help those who need it.