Stress = |Expectation – Actuality|

Posted on March 10, 2010. Filed under: JumpPost, startups, venture capital | Tags: , , , |

It’s 1:14 AM on the morning of my company’s launch.  I am sitting at my desk, in a giant empty office…more or less waiting…everyone has gone home for the night, there is no panicking, no last minute hiccups…a couple loose ends to tie up with our lawyers, but oddly enough…we are ready.  This is what’s boring about working with Doug Petkanics… he is painfully reliable.  30 days ago we designed a product development roadmap that predicted we would launch our company today, and sure enough…we are launching our company…today.  Not 1 day late, not 1 hour late…right on freaking schedule.

I often write about the ups and downs, the unpredictability of startup execution, and stupid Doug Petkanics is screwing up my whole shtick.  Prior to bringing Doug on, an early member of JumpPost, Mike Weaver, defined stress to me as “the result of any disconnect between expectation and actuality.”  He said it is in these moments where an event occurs contrary to expectation, that stress is born.  Finally, Mike argued that in order to live a stress free life, we must shed all expectation, and simply live in the moment.  I thought about this for a minute, and then rejected his argument in favor of another that also seemed consistent with his definition of stress.  I said “in order to live a stress free life, you just need to be accurate when defining your expectations. ”

Doug seems to have mastered the alternate theory I put forth, and it is reflected in his consistently cool demeanor under pressure.  I’m not sure I’ve ever worked with someone with such a firm grasp of their own capabilities, but day in and day out, he perfectly calibrates our collective expectations.

Our value proposition is going to hit ~250,000 in boxes in the next 24 hours…should be an interesting first day live for 🙂

Update: well, not quite 250K…about a 1000 people clicked through to a shared listing we had in NYC’s Thrillist…it’s a start 🙂

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5 Responses to “Stress = |Expectation – Actuality|”

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I like your definition better.

A completely stress free life would be terribly unproductive. We need to build things that will live on, and fear is a powerful motivator.

Congratulations Jordan! Much of success is hard work and adequate preparation but also having the right people working with you…and it sounds like you do. How about an alternative formula for stress….Stress= Overestimation of Danger/Underestimation of ability to cope and deal with whatever comes your way. Prepare for the future but live in the present and enjoy the ride. On another note…GO TERPS!!!! (Don’t forget that it is March Madness in all the excitement of your new business.)

i like this part a lot: “Underestimation of ability to cope and deal with whatever comes your way.”

“Stress= Overestimation of Danger/Underestimation of ability to cope and deal with whatever comes your way” love it Aunt Jackie.

There is a big difference between stressful situations and challenges. In a pure technical sense, these are both stressful events, it is just that one helps an individual to grow and another either prevents or deters growth.

This doesn’t mean that all challenges are necessarily pleasant all the time or free from stress, rather that they provide an opportunity for growth on any number of levels (physical, psychological or spiritual).

Unfortunately, “living in the moment” has acquired the connotation of doing nothing, but encompasses a much different view. It is not so much a matter of “living or being in the moment”, but more accurately “being the present moment” in the sense of total concentration.

During these times, people are completely focused on what they are doing and are able to automatically adjust and react to unforeseen occurrences. This is often seen in sports, but translates over into almost any activity that tests one’s skills.

We all need challenges to help us grow and evolve to our full potential – a lack of challenge in life can be just as detrimental and stressful to our being as tasks we don’t have the skills or abilities to handle.

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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