Bizdom Cleveland: Meet a Mentor: Ed Buchholz
“That’s bullsh*t.” is a phrase commonly heard when Ed is in the office. After 13 years of building and working with startups, Ed has no qualms about calling it how he sees it. Though he’s lived in the Midwest his entire life, Ed has built a resume that you might expect to see from a…
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Eat, Breathe, Sleep, Bleed
I will always bleed purple.
Chief Yahoo! and CEO in his “stepping down” email to staff
Over the decade I’ve been living in the technology startup world, I’ve had opportunity to meet many aspiring entrepreneurs, company runners, and self-professed “big-thinkers”, but I’m constantly struck by how many first-time founders believe they can live dual lives. Having a family and a personal life while starting a company can be tough enough, but having a day-job, whether it’s a consulting gig or an honest to god paycheck, is just not realistic in the long term.
In my view, the only way to build a truly great company is to be 200% committed to the product, service, brand, whatever that you provide. If you really want to see success, at some point you’ll have to jump off the cliff and commit.
Here’s some signs that let you know you’ve committed:
- You talk about your project incessantly. Your spouse is borderline annoyed about it. Your friends’ eyes glaze over and they nod absent-mindedly while you babble on and on. You find yourself talking to your dog about a UX challenge you’re thinking about.
- You can’t stop thinking about it. When you’re in bed falling asleep you’re thinking through the sign-up workflow. When you wake up you realize you dreamt about your pitch. In the shower you use the door for database diagrams.
- Your diet changes to 99% caffeine. You find yourself with 3-5 coffee dates a day and another pot during those late-night hack-a-thons. The brewed coffee starts losing effectiveness and you have to escalate to espresso.
- You start mixing up email addresses. Your startup email and calendar become your primaries. You find yourself accidentally emailing family with your company email.
- You begin to feel symbiosis with your company. When people critique your business model you feel personally insulted. When a TechCrunch article about your launch stretches your logo to an odd resolution you feel like you’ve just died a little inside. When competitors tweet about how they’re better than you, you want to give them Liam Neeson’s monologue from Taken.
- You bleed [insert company color here]. You believe in your company unconditionally. You will do what is best for the company at the cost of your personal gain, and sometimes at the cost of your health and sanity.
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