There’s Life After Failure

Why the failure chasm is never as deep as it seems

Four Cofounders (from left): Myles, Michael, Shelley, and me

Don’t Gloss Over the Emotional Toll

Yes, I did learn a lot and in the end I’m glad I had the experience. But I’m not about to write another diatribe of cutely composed “tips for closing your first startup” which you will inevitably skim through until you read the next such post-mortem blog post on Medium…probably in about 30 minutes. Because in startups, it’s become the epitome of chic and cliche to write a post-mortem blog post when(ever) your startup fails.

The 3AM Blog Post in the Dark

You wanna know where it gets you? Right here, sitting in the dark at 3AM, typing out your bitterness and frustration in a draft as quietly as you can because you girlfriend is sleeping in the next room and there’s no point in waking her up to share your misery. It’s not perpetual bitterness, but temporary bitterness bristles just the same. Failure leaves you temporarily raw, and if it doesn’t, you didn’t care enough in the first place.

Tech’s “Failure” Failure

In Silicon Valley — and in tech at large — failure is a great thing. It means that you took a shot, that it didn’t work, and that you supposedly learned something very valuable to draw on for your next venture.

To Feel Like an Abject Failure

I believe in my heart that most if not all of the people who write the positive tweets that we read mean well. Usually they’ve been in similar situations and figured out ways to surmount challenges and failures and move on to greater successes.

When People Are Your Strength

In the lull during which my startup started to fade — and during which I knew in my heart there seemed little recourse to keep it from doing so — I began to pull away from people. This was a mistake, especially for me. I’m a people person, and I gain so much of my energy from talking to people and helping people. When I started to pull away, I began to lose a part of myself. Actually, I began to lose another part of myself, because I was already losing a part of myself in losing my startup.

Coming Back from the Brink

And after all of this — all the nights spent in cold sweats with stomach pains worrying about money, looking yourself in the mirror wondering if you’re a failure (are you even that?), skating over the “so what do you do?” question at parties and family holidays — you find a way to crawl back. You’ve stood on the precipice of failure and looked into the depths — spat it in the face — and somehow stomped your way back onto solid ground.

Taking the Leap Again

There’s life after failure. That’s what I’m learning. Slowly but surely I’m learning it.

Thanks

I’m so grateful to my cofounders for taking this journey with me. I know we’ll have another one together some time. To all those in my support system who have listened and helped me through this dip, you know who you are, and I am more grateful than you know. You took so much time out of your busy schedules to support me, and that does not go unnoticed. You all are a huge part of the reason I can write this post with a determined smile on my face.

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Adam Marx

Master Relationship Builder @Zero2OneNetwork 🚀 | @ATLTechVillage Advisor 😎 | Speaker 🎙️ | Prev. CEO @glipple + published @crunchbase, @mattermark + more ✍️