False Bravado and Platitudes
The entrepreneurial journey is an exhilarating, terrifying, empowering, destructive and addictive experience. So often, what is written about these journeys falls into one of two categories… Platitudes and False Bravado.
The False Bravado is that annoying “we’re killing it” thing that many entrepreneurs feel trapped into saying anytime they are asked “how’s it going?” If 90% of startups fail, everyone is decidedly not “killing it.” The Platitudes are those distilled bits of wisdom that we all write to make it look like “we are killing it” or have already “killed it” and which tend to leave out situational variables, larger context, and dumb luck. I’m hoping to avoid these traps.
The Green Pants Chronicles
My hope in writing this series about my own entrepreneurial journey with Windsor Circle, which I’m dubbing “The Green Pants Chronicles” (after our team’s penchant for wearing said kelly green knickers) is to capture the experience in rough chronological order, and to do so with the Openness and Transparency that we valued so highly in our team. Some of the journey was amazing, and made us look like heroes. Some of it sucked, and at best showed that the stars don’t always align, and at worst, highlighted very human moments of not landing on the right strategy or execution soon enough to realize the rare air that Unicorns breathe. Above all things, I hope that these entries are real in their rendering of the 8 year journey.
My friend Christopher Gergen wisely counseled that I should capture the play in a series of acts (versus the time-based journal series I’d originally conceived). After some deep thought, I decided to frame it as such:
- Inception – How did the formation process happen?
- Launch – What did we do to actually get going?
- Validation + Early Growth – How did we set and pass through early milestones?
- High Growth – What did we do to pour fuel on the fire?
- Decision to Pivot – When did we start seeing issues and what did we do?
- Pivot – Once the decision was made, how did we push through this hard phase?
- Exit – As buyers looked at Windsor Circle, what did we do to exit?
I’m giving the decision and act of pivoting their own “chapters” because getting to the decision, and then making that decision and living with it, are very different things.
Two Caveats and An Admission
I’m going to write as openly as possible, with two caveats and an admission… First, I care about the people that were involved on the journey, and I’ll craft my entries in a way that respects everyone that was involved to the best of my ability. Secondly, there are things that require my continued confidentiality, and where those obligations exist, I’ll observe them.
As for an admission: Humans remember things based on perception, and those perceptions are obscured by time. I’m all too human. I’ll actively and openly incorporate feedback from the many people involved in the journey. In some places, that might be to modify my writing if I’ve just gotten something plain wrong. In others, it might be to capture and offer a differing perspective directly in the post so that numerous views and vantage points can be considered by the reader. Either way, I’m open to feedback and will incorporate it to the best of my ability.
I’m looking forward to capturing the journey on “paper” and reliving the wildest professional experience of my life… See you out there.