“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
~ Dr. Seuss
I guess this is as formal an “announcement” as I’m going to give on this, but after a lengthy period of soul searching, I have made the very difficult decision to largely step away from StartupLounge.com.
Five years ago or so, when Mike Blake and I came up with the concept of StartupLounge, neither one of us had any idea of what we were getting ourselves into. Truth be told, I think if we had known how much work we’d need to put into something like this, we may very well not have started it at all. Some folks have called StartupLounge “influential” or “important”, and I suppose to some extent it is. But really, at the core, it is/was really about helping people help themselves, then to help others – and about 2 guys having fun yapping on a mic every now and then. And I will tell you – I most certainly learned more about our collective craft than others probably learned from me.
My reasons for stepping back from heavy involvement in StartupLounge is complex, and somewhat difficult to explain. A big part of it is the time commitment required to record and produce podcasts (40 hours a pop), organizing events, PitchCamp, evangelizing, etc. I simply do not have the time anymore to contribute at a high level in order to continue making a difference. And when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something for as long as we have with StartupLounge, it makes the decision a very emotional one, to say the least.
Another huge factor in my decision is simply the level of energy required to perform my duties at my day job (StarPound). Although we have a great deal of work ahead of us, the team is really doing some great things there. We’ve recently raised another round of capital, and are heads down on a ton of different things right now.
Finally, and perhaps the most important reason, is my family. As it stands now, I am rarely home in time for dinner (thanks in part to Atlanta traffic). I have a wife and two young daughters at home that I hardly ever see these days. And this needs to change. So, something has to give.
I should also add that there has been some speculation that my health is suspect, and that this somehow is contributing to my decision. This is patently not true. Sure, I’m battling a kidney stone right now (ouch!), but this too shall pass (literally and figuratively). Trust me. I’m as fit as a horse. Then again, they shoot horses when they actually do get ill, so maybe that’s a bad analogy to go with.
Through StartupLounge, I have met some incredibly wonderful people over the past several years. Entrepreneurs, most of which want to do something great. Investors who actually want to engage with them. And a wealth of community leaders and stakeholders who want to make a difference. I place an extremely high value on these relationships, and hope to continue nurturing them for years to come.
One person in particular, though, has meant the world to me throughout this journey. Mike Blake. I have come to rely on his wisdom and sensibilities for so, so many things. Not just professionally, but personally as well. I can only hope to one day even begin to repay him for the friendship, comaraderie, and contributions he has made to my life. Mike and I remain the best of friends, and I appreciate his understanding and patience throughout my rather circuitous decision making process.
With all of that being said, I should add that StartupLounge will continue on. The inimitable Josh Watts has agreed to replace me as the co-host of our podcast. If you don’t know Josh, you should. I can’t think of a better person to step into that role. He has a solid understanding of early-stage entrepreneurship, technology, and carries with him a wicked sense of humor that will help keep the StartupLounge podcast as entertaining as ever. So for you die-hard listeners of our podcasts, rest assured, it will continue to be worth tuning into. Who knows? I might even make a cameo appearance every now and then :)
All of the free StartupLounge events will continue, including PitchCamp, Startup Seminars, and of course, the thrice yearly StartupLounge gathering in Atlanta. Expansions are already underway to carry the philosophy and beliefs behind StartupLounge to other areas, including Savannah and Raleigh/Durham. Mike is 100% committed to doing this, and his continued leadership will turn this into a reality.
As for me, well, it isn’t like I’m completely falling off the face of the earth. I’ll still be around, helping as many people as I can, where I can. I just may not be as visible. I will continue to attend StartupLounge events when I can, as well as others. I continue to take enormous satisfaction in helping others achieve success, be it through mentoring, speaking, coaching, etc. Oh, and continuing to learn new things myself. I can’t imagine my life without those things, quite frankly.
Enough rambling from me. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Peace out.