47 thoughts on “12+1 Signs That You Have Founderitis”

  1. Om, #5 applies to WAY too many of us (founder or otherwise). A scene from “The Matrix” sums it up:

    Hey, Mikey, he likes it! Ready for more?

    Hell yes!

    All too true…

  2. Om – can you separate the parts where you are motivated by joy from those where you are motivated by fear? If so, how many of those parts can you throw from the second bucket into the first?

    Yeah, it sounds like pop psych babble, but it helps set perspective every so often.

    1. I am not sure people can make that distinction. I have made decisions in the past where anxietywas the overriding missed. These days I have rationality and quality as main drivers. I have had to learn this the hard way.

  3. all too tue. but as long as your startup doesnt monetize where you can finally leave it in the hands of trusted aides, I guess the founderitis wont go away

  4. Very cool. No 4) is a constant trap for first time founders and even for repeat founders.

    To add to the list: You start treating company like your baby – no one can call it ugly but me (true or not), Can’t leave it even if you have reached a point of no return and so on.

    1. I think the #4 is the worst symptom of all as it causes massive problems for the company. I think we all have been there at some point or the other — though overcoming it is not easy.

      On your suggestion — well that indeed is true. I think the line between self critical and self delusional is pretty invisible.

      1. agree completely. soon enough if you are not very careful you will be surrounded by people who will be more than happy to serve you your bathwater.

        ========you should encourage the people around you who have the courage/conviction to point out areas for improvement=======================

  5. This post made my day, and it’s only just begun. The ADD thing I can see as bad, but it doesn’t cut into real development time. When I’m not mentally 100% it’s safer for the software if I take care of other responsibilities.

    Still can’t decide if you are praising or damning founderitis, some of those signs sound like competitive advantages πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Om, superb post.

    1. I think we confuse what we think are advantages with reality. I think the point is to know when to kind shake your head and get a little reality check.

  6. What a great post and many of these things will ring true with fellow entrepreneurs. I do not agree with “9. The last time you cried was last night.” and “12. You have more gray hair than equity.”

    1. The last time you cried was last night.
      While entrepreneurship is a roller coaster and will always have ups and downs I do not find a lot of entrepreneurs crying about this. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones that push through this to the upside of the roller coaster.

    2. You have more gray hair than equity.
      This is either a West Coast or VC thing. There are more founders and entrepreneurs that do not have VC funding than do so the equity question is not as big and there are tons of young founders so not sure about the gray hair part. Maybe it would be better to say, more stress than wealth.

  7. Funny, thanks, we needed a breather about now… nice to put life and your business all in perspective. What if you don’t immediately take over the world with your “virtual office” for primary care doctors? Well, I supppose you could go home and have lunch with your husband for an hour, right? and that’s what I’m going to do now…

    Best to all,
    Natalie Hodge MD FAAP
    Personal Medicine
    “Your Doctor Comes to You”

  8. This is hilarious. Specially the insomnia point. I remember my days when 2-3 hour sleeps were the norm. I would add another point to it – constantly looking to network and promote the brand when one should be working.

  9. You’re tough Om! I wouldn’t admit half of this to my closest friend. And you have the courage to tell the world. Wow, hat’s off sir! I don’t drink anymore, but somehow I felt sudden urge to tell you that I’d love to have a beer with you, if we ever met.

    P.S. Speaking of farms, a friend of mine actually bought me a voucher to try to be a shepherd for one day πŸ™‚

  10. Om, I am Howard Lerman’s wife and I’m very sorry to embarrass him in front of his friends, but he’s suffering from chronic founderitis. Please DM me @shoppingdiary with suggested remedy.

  11. This is a great post. One question: is the amount of weakness in the moment that you wish you sold virtual goods by cell phone inversely proportional to the level of founderitis?

  12. Wonderful, i felt it was my condition you were describing, Om! One more to add…you constantly find yourself thinking of one more better way of doing what a product/service currently does. Well, it does overlap with “You obsess over features/details over which you have no control. “. Good to read!

  13. Very cool. No 4) is a constant trap for first time founders and even for repeat founders.

    To add to the list: You start treating company like your baby – no one can call it ugly but me (true or not), Can’t leave it even if you have reached a point of no return and so on.

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