Founders arrive on the scene with a hot new product. Raise crazy amounts of money. See enormous traction and get tons of hype from the press and their peers.
Then, out of the blue (it seems), there’s division and strife. One founder leaves, or is ousted. Lawsuits, hard feelings, drama.
It would be easy to chalk this up to the youth culture of startup land, and Silicon Valley in general. It would be easy to say that if founders were more mature when they were handed millions of dollars of venture capital this wouldn’t be such a common story.
Maybe there’s truth there, but according to Marc Andreesen’s latest tweetstorm, dysfunction in the highest levels of any business is normal. We like to think of building businesses as dispassionate, analytical endeavors: figure out what makes money and do that.
But what if there are fundamental differences in how the founders see themselves making money? Suddenly, even the smartest, most analytical people are at a stalemate. Throw in the passion for their companies that most founders have, and it’s no wonder there are hard feelings.
According to Andreesen, that’s okay.
Moral? Business is stressful.There’s constant conflict, emotion, even anger. Building a company is an intense experience, period. Harnessed properly, this is the crucible out of which high performance and great results emerge. Satisfaction of overcoming challenges.
To quote Jim Barksdale, “This isn’t a family, and I ain’t your daddy.” But together we can build great things & make our grandkids proud.
Are you building great things? Then it’s time to take a deep breath and expect some drama.