Graham: Being Too Good For Your Own Good
More wisdom from Paul Graham. Beware too much glamour now:
Fundraising is a chore for most founders, but some find it more interesting than working on their startup. The work at an early stage startup often consists of unglamorous schleps. Whereas fundraising, when it’s going well, can be quite the opposite. Instead of sitting in your grubby apartment listening to users complain about bugs in your software, you’re being offered millions of dollars by famous investors over lunch at a nice restaurant.
The danger of fundraising is particularly acute for people who are good at it. It’s always fun to work on something you’re good at. If you’re one of these people, beware. Fundraising is not what will make your company successful. Listening to users complain about bugs in your software is what will make you successful. And the big danger of getting addicted to fundraising is not merely that you’ll spend too long on it or raise too much money. It’s that you’ll start to think of yourself as being already successful, and lose your taste for the schleps you need to undertake to actually be successful. Startups can be destroyed by this.
When I see a startup with young founders that is fabulously successful at fundraising, I mentally decrease my estimate of the probability that they’ll succeed. The press may be writing about them as if they’d been anointed as the next Google, but I’m thinking “this is going to end badly.”