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Share the struggle.

“A place to share progress - not perfection”. This was one of the main taglines of Lumastic. It was born out of identifying how creators are scared to share our ideas while they’re still marinating in our minds. We’re afraid of being judged or rejected while we’re still building confidence in a new project.

However, although this fear might protect us from that pain - it also prevents us from getting valuable feedback and support in the critical early stages of the creative process. So, by creating a platform that allowed you to workshop these ideas with trusted collaborators, we felt Lumastic could be a place that made it easier for creators to shed that fear and iterate ideas faster.

What’s so ironic, is that even while spouting this wisdom and building that space to “share progress and not perfection” - I still never took the advice.

One of the habits every entrepreneurship program tries to instill in founders is a simple, monthly, stakeholder newsletter. A quick email - usually less than 500 words - that keeps everyone who cares about your company (advisors, potential investors, customers, etc.) up-to-date on what’s going well and - more importantly - what you need help with. They’re designed to rally your community around the problems you’re experiencing so you can make progress faster (sound familiar).

But here’s the kicker: I literally sent one of these emails in 4 years of running Lumastic. I know now thanks to therapy that this prideful, arrogant behavior was brought on by my inability at the time of admitting when I need help (something I will talk about in another post). However, it doesn’t change the fact that this was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made as a founder.

By not opening up to others, I failed our team, our creators, and myself. It’s painful to look back and think about how things could have been different if I had sent emails to the 400 people cheering us on when we were struggling to find customers, mock out a business model, or write copy for our landing page.

“This game is too hard to do alone” - that is literally a line I would say in my pitch. And yet, after I’d walk off stage, I chose to never open up, ask for help, and share the struggle with others.

Please do as I say and not as I do. Be honest with others and yourself. Ask for help at every stage. Share progress and not perfection.

Note: This is part of a larger blog series on 10 Things I Learned From My First Failed Startup. Checkout the rest of the series and tweet your thoughts at me.

Drew Lyton
Drew Lyton
Friday, February 4, 2022

I'm a software engineer, ex-founder and writer who cares deeply about creating a better relationship between technology and society. I'm currently writing a book about early stage entrepreneurship.


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