entrepreneurship, Failure, Lessons Learned, Little Known Fact

Where do we go from here? A message in a bottle.

This is a message to my future self. I’ve set this post to automatically publish one year from now in the hope it will find us both in better times.

Hello world,

I’m not doing so well.

Today is June 19th 2013 and I’m sitting poolside in a fancy neighborhood in Atherton, Silicon Valley. It’s 7am and I’m about to pedal down to Stanford University for another day of lectures with Steve Blank and Jerry Engel.

I should be happy. And in some ways I am.


This is where I’m staying: The Blackbox Mansion in Atherton, Silicon Valley. I’m writing this from the table center left.

In most ways I am not.

To wit:

    • I’m still around EUR 35k (USD 48k) in the hole from bootstrapping my last startup failure
      In credit cards, personal bank credit line remnant of my salary-man days, personal loans and outstanding bills.
    • Until very recently, there was a warrant for my arrest
      Not kidding. I almost made the “no-flight” list. Turns out German authorities get antsy if you can’t pay mandatory health insurance.
    • Unsurprisingly, all my credit cards have been canceled
      I flew over to the Bay Area from Europe with zero dollars in my pocket. Thank Musk and Thiel for PayPal. This is probably the only place on earth you can trade PayPal app transfers for cash with random strangers at the airport at midnight – as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
    • And all my sources of private personal bridging loans have been depleted.
      They were all FFF (friends, fools & family) funders of my previous startup failure – so I’m out of luck.
    • To fill the whole I dug, I have been consulting for a F100 for 5 months but with still no payment not even a contract in sight
      And no formal contract means no advance or credit from the banks – yes, I tried.
    • The surprise knife in the gut came out of nowhere yesterday was learning that a person most near and dear to me has checked into a mental institution
      And I’m lightyears away.
    • And I am myself struggling to recover from startup failure depression
      Still fighting to establish a foothold in stage 5.
    • I’ve also recently learned the landlord is selling my perfect apartment and office space
      And not to me, because the bank didn’t like the “startup entrepreneur with no fixed income” bit – hey, I tried – so I can expect to become homeless in the near future.
    • And Self-medicating on and off with alcohol to ease the load and silence the worries hasn’t helped
      I know it isn’t working and it can’t go on like this.

And I wish there wasn’t even more that I can’t talk about right now.

Just the other day before I left for the bay area, someone asked me if I was really out of my comfort zone.

I didn’t know what to answer.

I just hope to hang around long enough to find a worthwhile answer to why I do this.

I’ll keep trying.


Here’s a status report from the present