What’s it like to be a failing startup?

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Depending on its role in a startup, failure is difficult to accept or accept some compared to others. One of the startups I worked for, one of them, in particular, had three separate groups, of which I would classify as optimistic, pessimistic, and in-the-middle. (Defined below)

What I learned is that a drowning vessel may leak, which is indispensable to patch up, but for a significant time, it is small enough to keep the ship drowning. Although the failure is inevitable, the vessel is a long journey before going underwater ultimately.

Optimists – CEO, founder, an officer who has a high investment of time, money, or sentiment. They refused to spend long and hard hours in construction. They deny failure and express it clearly. Happy Hours are still on schedule; company meetings remain optimistic.

Pessimists – Employees who are scared- whether they are on board from the first day, or their tenure is very short. “we’re doomed.” Employees go to read and write negative articles or blog posts about the financial health of the organization. They are scared and do so for meditation or as a defense mechanism.

In between: They are confused and are usually uncertain about the ship being submerged or leading the port. They are not sure what to believe, or whose morale to be confused. They are generally ready for failure and plan, but are surprised and talk most about the health of the organization.

The most challenging part for me was listening to the optimists’ denial- my senior leader, who knows me as the most ingenious, talented, and strong-willed people.
I got closer to some of them, and when they get nervous about the opportunities that save us, I have to learn to understand that the only way of failure is to stay optimistic till that day.

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