The Dark Side Of The Startup World John Roa Modern Wisdom Podcast 242

Author:

Video Creator’s Channel Chris Williamson

author link

At Some Point Its Just Insane Whats Going On

and what we don’t talk about is the downside of all that of how the entrepreneurs who are taking these bets and running these companies are struggling and the the statistics around this are haunting the entrepreneurs of today. In kind of this high growth world have 60 more mental health issues in the average public. This is in America eight times rated bipolar six times depression, four times suicide, four times substance abuse. We are melting down as the kind of racehorses behind these companies yet we don’t ever hear that story until until it’s a horrific headline like the air and shorts of the world and other folks who’ve even taken their own lives when they can’t handle the pressure for the people who are listening that don’t know who you are what’s your background How did you. End up speaking to me here Yeah, so I’m a I’m a pretty life for entrepreneur I’ve been in the tech world since I was technically 11 years old when I learned to program you know code hack game build computers and then my first company.

I Started When I Was 14.

so I’m now 36 so you know two-thirds of my life Almost I’ve been running tech companies and it’s just been you know it goes without saying a passion of mine um forever and you know kind of before it was in vogue like it is today . I really just had a knack for computers an interest in being a self–starter and being an entrepreneur. Even though I really didn’t know that’s what I was for a lot of that time and um you know that journey led to a number of tough lessons you know. Early failures all the stuff that you generally hear about people go through a lifetime of entrepreneurship and then when I was 26.

So 10 Years Ago.

I was in Chicago and was kind of down on my on my luck. It was not a great time personally and professionally. . It was in the midst of the recession.

  • entrepreneurs
  • bipolar
  • entrepreneurship
  • entrepreneur
  • depression

You Know Globally, But Obviously You

know a lot of that was happening here in the us I was out of work. My parents were out of work. the family wasn’t doing great and I was not really you know present with a lot of options on what to do to kind of get my life back in order and in the way I saw it. I could either continue to persist trying to make something work that I could self–generate or go get a job and probably work. role for a number of years and try to you know get out of debt and those kind of things so of course, I did the entrepreneurial thing and I created a company called Octa and um you know for those of the listeners that might know a company called ideo that’s the best way to describe Octa is that we were an innovation and design consultancy and and companies like Id have been around for decades and they’ve been helping everybody in the world design and innovate on amazing stuff and I kind of figured.

Theres A Room In The Market

for a pure play digital version of that because the ideos of the world were all kind of old industrial designers and print designers who had kind of moved to digital somewhat begrudgingly, and I figured if we had a team of kind of thrifty digital only innovation. folks that we could succeed in that market and that’s what we did created the company in 2010 bootstrapped no investors, no partners, no investors, no anything. I mean no board, no mentors like truly a one-man band and just kind of right place right time, a lot of luck perseverance. You know good fortune grinding and two years later it was the single fastest growing innovation in Ux agency in America, one of the fastest growing companies of any kind in America. .

Two Years After That We Had Acquired

companies. We were growing nationally and internationally We were doing work for incredible companies. You know our clients were BMW and United Airlines and others and ultimately It was the epitome of that entrepreneurial success story kind of that just like grind it out till it works kind of thing and then you know we’re. money I’m, I’m doing ted talks and being photographed for magazine covers. It was kind of this very glamorous success story on one side and the other side is is what no one knew what was going on, which is also a classic story that I was really struggling personally.

I Didnt Know How To Handle The

risk and stress and pressure that I was enduring. I didn’t have a lot of healthy mechanisms for any kind of support and and I started to struggle I mean at a at a worse and worse level throughout those those years, really deep kind of mental illness and mental episodes of depression, anxiety those kind of things as I was dealing with the company. . It then turned into a life of kind of excess and partying and substance abuse and all the things that kind of come along with trying. to balance out this incredibly kind of ferocious lifestyle and so in our fourth year .

It All It All Collided With Itself And

that took the form of a pretty severe mental breakdown. I ended up in the hospital suffered disassociative Amnesia didn’t know who or who I was where I was had no recollection of any part of my life couldn’t tell you my own name and was in a hospital in that state for a number of days . They weren’t sure if I would come back if what state I’d be in if my brain would ever fully recover it was a very scary time in my life. And this is all still when the company is you know quote unquote crushing it in the public world and and no one knew except one person at the company. My parents didn’t know my siblings didn’t.

Know No One Knew I Hid It

from everybody got back to work whenever I was released from the hospital and it changed my perspective on what was important because I kind of realized that I was literally trading my life and safety insanity for this business, which is a ridiculous thing to do and so. I said we we have to end of this before it ends and um. I went and hired investment bank. We ran a managed auction and very fortunately sold that business outright to salesforce. I was the biggest company in San Francisco about about a a little under a year after that whole episode and obviously a very fortuitous exit.

It Was The Best Case.

You know best result. I could have ever asked for given how bad the journey had gone for me personally, but how good it had gone for the company and it really just changed my perspective on everything It changed how I think about success of what is success. It changes how I think about um what you know what risk is is worth risking and what parts of our lives we should be betting on and trading for that chance at success. it’s changed my perception on what matters in life going forward.

It Was A Pretty Wild Journey That

all happened five years ago and so in the last five years. I I’ve actually been on your side of the world. Chris I lived in London for half the year each year and then in Greece The other half of the year so I was doing very little except enjoying life. And just trying to reset after what I had endured and ultimately, you know trying to reframe what it all meant and um. The way I found to do that was to write a book about it and so the book that you previously referenced it.

S Called A Practical Way To Get Rich And

die trying is my memoir and it’s everything. I just shared in excruciating detail. Maybe maybe too much detail in some parts, but I wanted to get across the real story that we we don’t often talk about people are are rightfully afraid to talk about and I’m in a position now where I can do it and I can facilitate more of that and so that was the point of the book and it came out a little over a month ago now and it’s been going great so it’s it’s exciting yeah what a journey man congratulations it really it really sounds like you’re in a significantly better more awakened more aligned position than you were to say the least yes it’s you know it’s um. It’s difficult to describe how different because you know I think that there’s this this this ill-conceived notion that we change as people. I don’t believe that’s true at all and most most people smarter.

Me Dont Believe It Either Is

that but we can what what can change is our mindset our priorities those kind of things. I was always the same person. I just had totally lost the sense of what matters and what’s worth it and what risk is and how to manage myself and so I’ve done a excruciating amount of work in the last five years to recover from all of that you know mostly mentally but also physically um but yes it is a very different place and mindset today thankfully yeah very thankfully. I don’t know how much longer you would have been able to keep going like that why do you think so obviously you’re talking about this incredible success that you had with your company very very fast growing in you know. I mean 2010 the early 2010s that period was I would imagine incredibly competitive.

  • don talk downside entrepreneurs
  • speaking yeah pretty life entrepreneur
  • bipolar times depression times suicide
  • growth world 60 mental health
  • companies struggling statistics haunting entrepreneurs

For Tech Companies Perhaps Even More

so than now in that a lot of the low hanging fruit and a lot of that first mover advantage has probably gone from back then so why do you think that you had any success in business? You mentioned about work rate and timing and stuff. Can you dig into that a little bit definitely so the one thing that we did that was most intelligent that we did not realize we were doing was being a support structure to that tailwind that you’re talking about you know the this is the era when all of these now billion dollar tech companies were coming out the uber is the world everybody else and we were designed to be an agency for those companies so we were here to help them design beautiful products to understand their customers better to innovate. etc. And so our entire set of clients At the beginning of Octa were other startups and so they were normally pretty well funded. They normally needed a lot of help.

They Couldnt Hire Fast Enough They Could Have

the disciplines that we did so. We were a support structure to that movement and so we supplemented it instead of getting caught in the competitive wave which was for two. It is I I I will not pretend to say that with some man you know some grand plan that we had concocted that’s just the way it worked and but the second thing is is that I mean it’s funny. I actually have the apple presentation on in my other monitor here because they’re they’re they just debuted the 5g iphone um, but Apple had done us a tremendous.

Summary

In this high growth world have 60 more mental health issues in the average public. At some point it’s just insane what’s going on and what we don’t talk about is the downside of all that of how the entrepreneurs who are taking these bets and running these companies are struggling and the the statistics around this are haunting the entrepreneurs of today. We are melting down as the kind of racehorses behind these companies yet we don’t ever hear that story until until it’s a horrific headline like the air and shorts of the world and other folks who’ve even taken their own lives when they can’t handle the pressure for the people who are listening that don’t know who you are what’s your background How did you end up speaking to me here? I really just had a knack for computers an interest in being a self–starter and being an entrepreneur.& I really had a lot of tough lessons you know that journey led to a number of tough challenges you know.&…. Click here to read more and watch the full video