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Oh the Startups That Go

We’re not sure how it’s already the holiday season, but while we catch our breaths and slow down, we also want to soak in a moment of gratitude and reflection. Without a doubt, it has been a tumultuous year.

Possibilities are open and with the right mindset, fortitude, guidance, and a community of support, the horizon is yours. As Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote, “oh the places you’ll go!”

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Future successes are built on the lessons and obstacles of the past, it’s time to gather ’round the fire for a story about startups.

Today is your day
You’re starting a startup
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head
You have new business shoes
You’ll be your own boss
You have nothing to lose
You’re on your own. And you know what you know
And YOU are the founder who decides how to grow..

You’ll talk to advisors. Meet investors out there.
About some you will say, “they don’t get it, that blank stare.”
With your head full of brains and your butt in your seat
You’re too smart to go down, you can’t fail on your feet.

And you may not want help
You’ll still fight going down
In that case, just know,
Most will give you a frown

There’s helpers out there
In the startup scene and on air.

Out there things will happen
And frequently do
To people who try
And start something like you

And when those things happen
Don’t worry, don’t stew
Just keep right on going
Knowing you must pivot to do.

The startups that go

You’ll get that site up!
You’ll be patenting rights!
You’ll join startup communities
And stay up through the nights.

You can’t lag behind, get live with most speed.
You must beat the gang or they’ll take the lead.
But if you just try, you can be the best
If you work together, you can top the rest.

Except when you don’t.
And most of you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true.
as sole founder
we’re certain
Will happen to you.

You will get hung up
On a funding pitch.
And as advice rambles on
You’ll feel stuck in a ditch

And to then dig from that ditch
With loads of advice
The chances are then,
That you’ll smack someone twice

When working a startup,
It’s different work fun.
Un-startuping yourself
Is not easily done.

You will come to ideas where outcomes aren’t known.
Some decisions are tougher. Some will help you be grown.
A time you could strain both your eyelids and brain!
Do you dare to give up? Do you dare to stay in?
How much can you lose? This is work where few win!

And if you stay in, should you do this or that….
Or turn right-and-three-quarters? This is your at bat
Or perhaps go around try again from behind.
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
For an entrepreneur-mind-maker to make up their mind.

You will get confused
And your ideas will race
Down all the wrong paths at a back-breaking pace
And grind on your startup in your industry space,
Headed in the wrong way, toward …
The Funding Place…

… there, investors are waiting
Waiting for a startup to go
Or a pitch to come, or a plan to go.
Or a sale to close, or your demo to show
Or traction to be there, and validation to know
You’re waiting around for their Yes or No
They’re waiting for results to show
Everyone is needing

Needing for customers to bite
Or needing for competitors to fight
Or needing to know you’ll work all Friday night
Or waiting, perhaps, for your Uncle Jake
To Family invest and give you a break
Or needing some metrics that prove your chance
Or evidence you’ve put on the big boy pants
Everyone is needing.

That’s wrong for you!

Somehow you’ll make it
All the ideas advising
You’ll find the right answers
From patience and trying

With your website now up
Attention will fly
Then you’re ready for anything
Ready to give it that try

Oh, the startups that go. There is work to be done.
There are investors to score. There are demos to get done.
And the magical things you can do with your startup
Will put people to work as your business gets go up
Relief. You’ll have a company to see
And the whole world is watching for you to succeed.

Except when you don’t.
Because mostly you won’t.

I’m afraid to inform you
You’ll be lonely there too
Since you usually can’t win
It seems all against you

Founding Alone!
Whether you like it or not
Alone will be something
You’ll experience a lot.

And when you’re founding alone, there’s a very good chance
You’ll meet things that pull you from your circumstance
Somewhere down the road between startup and company
there are some things that will discourage you, actually many.

But on you must go
Though trials push you to fail
On you must go
Though others seem sail
On you must go
Though detractors will wail
Onward with every
Repetitive startup pitch
Though your keyboard gets sore
And new ideas will itch.

On and on endeavor
And your startup will go far
You’ll tackle the problems
Whatever they are

You’ll fail every day
As you certainly should know
You’ll get misled
With strange customers that go
So be sure when you startup
Step with tests and pivots
That entrepreneurship’s
of noble intents.
Just never forget to be fluid and flow
And keep to your mission, as you startup and grow

And will you succeed?
Yes! You might, yes indeed
(1 to 5 percent near certain guaranteed)

Founders move mountains!

Though you are Lean, Agile, or Combatant
Or Product, Marketing, Dev with a Patent
You’re in to the races
Today’s a new day
Your paycheck is waiting
When startup goes your way

This holiday season, the entire MediaTech Ventures team wishes every single one of you peace, health, and strength. Make the most out of next year together. Join our community. Find your people and watch the places you can go increase in possibility.

Paul O'Brien

Silicon Valley technology and startup veteran, Paul O'Brien is affectionately known as SEO'Brien for an extensive past in the search industry. Today as CEO and Founder of MediaTech Ventures, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development. More, a regional Director of the Founder Institute incubator and mentor in DivInc, Galvanize, and various startup Accelerators.

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  1. Totally loving this. I was a regular guest on an innovation program on radio a few years ago. I would always end with a Dr Suess reading.

    1. I’m a huge fan of how stories and the arts drive our culture which, in turn, fuels innovation and entrepreneurship. Whether inspired by Star Trek or motivated by 1984, I think we all as a society give too *little* credit to how media drives the ideas of future generations.

  2. Hey Paul! I really enjoyed this! You may remember who I am, my husband Ben Faubion has collaborated with y’all at MediaTech a couple of times. Thanks for being bold and funny and creating this fun riff. Oh how I relate!

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