👋 Hey friend,
Two years ago, I posted a series of articles entitled 10 Things I Learned from My First Failed Startup. Since then, I've talked to dozens of founders that seem to find a lot of sollace in the ways that I express my lessons learned in those pieces. And in recent months, I thought that the themes and stories within them might be a good candidate to expand on in a book.
So this October, I took some time to outline what a book on this subject might look like. And after being convinced there might be a story worth telling, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November and spend 30 days fleshing out that outline with an additional 50,000 words.
And honestly, doing that was pretty easy 😅. I've been writing ~1,000 words a day every morning for two years. Upping my daily word count to 1,700 was a challenge, for sure. But the hard part for me was confronting the content.
Writing a memoir about my time as a startup founder, especially now that I've had some distance from identifying as one, is painful. Running a startup morphed me into the best and worst version of myself in so many ways. Telling stories I've never told about the morally questionable and sometimes downright harmful things I did to myself and others in the name of building a company is hard to look back on.
But in a way it was also cathartic. Because like I always say, my goal is to share the things I've learned the hard way so that hopefully you don't have to. And this book feels like I'm doing that for my past and future self as well as for others.
Now, that being said, the book is not just a memoir about my small town startup experience. I feel like that would be pretty boring. Instead, I use my own story as a way of grounding a larger thesis about the game of being a founder.
Essentially, it's a book about how the systems and incentives of early-stage startup entrepreneurship promote behaviors that often compromise the values of founders and lead to ocassionally catastrophic late stage consequences for society as a whole. It's a book about who you are compelled to become in the game of running a startup.
I draw comparisons between my own behavior as a founder and founders like Elizabeth Holmes, Sam Bankman-fried, and Adam Neumann to show what happens when these small behavioral habits that you're taught to perform as a founder are taken to the extreme.
But it's not all doom and gloom. The point of the book is not to say, "if you start a startup, you'll become a bad person". My goal is actually to help would-be-founders and community members build products, solve problems, and create community while avoiding the aspects that corrupt those valliant motivations.
In a sense, this is the book I wish I had 2018 when I started Lumastic.
If you're a founder, investor, or member of the startup community and you hate/love this concept, I'd love to hear why! So, please leave a comment on LinkedIn or send me a DM.
And if you'd like to stay up to date on my progress with the book and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process, subscribe to my newsletter 👇.
Until next time,