Thoughts From the Dugout of Team Suffering

Posted on September 30, 2012. Filed under: Hyperpublic, startups, venture capital |

Last night I went to a party where I ran into Adam Rich.  Adam is co-founder of Thrillist and runs the editorial side of their business.  I went over to say hi to him, and after some friendly chatter, he mentioned that he’s been reading my tweets and that he’s been enjoying them…he said “they’re good…but they’ve been better.”  I realize how absurd this sounds to be discussing seriously…and it was a joke…but it was serious too.  “My tweets” in this conversation was a euphemism for public voice, and encompassed in his statement was an indication that my blog isn’t as interesting to him as it used to be.  I asked him, “what’s missing?” and his response was “you.”  He said anyone who reads my blog could and also probably does read Business Insider, etc…so he doesn’t need analysis on the market, or trends or how to xx …he said anyone can write that and there is a surplus of places to find it.  I thought for a moment, and frankly agreed.

It hasn’t always been this way, but it is now.  Startup content is a saturated market.  It used to be that Fred Wilson or Chris Dixon would write about term sheets or fundraising or distribution or whatever, and because this knowledge was previously inaccessible to young and first time founders, it was enough and extremely compelling to shine light on these subjects.  When I started writing this blog, I did the same…I’d find areas that Fred and Chris hadn’t covered and I’d write about them.

Mixed in with the inside baseball of startups and venture capital, I used to write a lot about my personal journey and feelings and experiences as I navigated life as an entrepreneur (I think this is the “you” that Adam was referencing)…I was not shy about sitting down to this computer, saying “how do you feel write now?” and then writing 3 paragraphs about the day’s stress and hopefully some solution I had hacked together to resolve or at least live through it.  This was easy content for me to write because it was me and every other kid hustling his ass off in the same boat, just trying to survive and snatch some small victories from the “other guys.”

So who were the “other guys?”  They were fancy VC’s, successful entrepreneurs, market incumbents, and generally anyone who was up high, looking down at all of us…doubting us…comfy and cozy in their fucking mansions and fancy cars…getting in our way and frankly not empathizing with our day to day struggles…they were the guys who forgot that they were once like us…they were the guys who would never let you know that they put their pants on one leg at a time…guys like this. my blog was in many ways a rebellion against anyone who was not on our team.  Our team was comprised of the unproven, the hungry, the uncomfortable, the underdogs…frankly our team was “team suffering.”

Wins on “team suffering” were also not hard to articulate or write about.  When you posted for a month about how you can’t sleep because of what this life is doing to you, and then you finally win a deal or get some funding or whatever, the market roots for you.  They champion you.  They have seen and read your pain, and know you are not an “other guy” and they want you to win…in both adversity and victory, as long as you are on “team suffering” the market supports you.  This support fueled me and also kept my spirits high.  Instead of looking for support from my family or friends, I really looked to “team suffering” to help me through startup life.  I felt a sense of belonging and deep community here, and the more I shared, the more people would emerge and express empathy, compassion, and frankly affection.  I deeply valued my position on “team suffering” and felt lucky that on occasion, through this blog, I could act as a megaphone for what my peers and friends were experiencing.

Which brings me back to Adam’s comment that what my blog is missing is “[me]”.  I hear that, and I agree.  The reality is that I’m not suffering right now.  My challenges, while real, will not resound with the community that I have long and continue to feel a part of.  They are not the daily struggles of “team suffering”…and I will not amplify the voice of “the other guys” because I fucking hate them.  So I’m kind of voiceless until I start making life hard again…which I’m working on…

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One Response to “Thoughts From the Dugout of Team Suffering”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

You’re not voiceless – there is always a stream of consciousness at your fingertips that you should continue sharing. 180 degrees from Business Insider link-bait headlines, don’t take a break just because life isn’t hard today or tomorrow, there is still creativity and insight that your readers will find worthwhile.

PS Shouldn’t that be a Mets [or Marlins] dugout?

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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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