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Launching and running a startup is a lot like fighting in a war:

  • You have imperfect information and inadequate resources
  • You operate in the middle of mass confusion and chaos
  • You will definitely take casualties and the life expectancy of the Lieutenants (your management team) is short, but if too many Lieutenants get killed, sooner or later, the Company Commander (you, the founder/CEO) gets replaced
  • You have an all-volunteer force that buys into what they are doing because they believe in the cause, they like the excitement, and they willingly take on the known risks
  • You forge fast and deep relationships with those who join you in the fight because of shared hardship and you mourn them when they become a casualty
  • You have no idea going in if you will survive or not and the potential outcome can vary dramatically from battle to battle
  • You stand a good chance that one day, trembling from stress and anxiety, you call in for more bullets and fresh replacements (from your investors), but the answer you get is that you are on your own, and potentially you bleed to death alone on the battlefield
  • You stand a slim chance that the battles will begin to turn in your favor and eventually you will win the war and enjoy all the prestige and additional resources that come with a hero’s successful mission

And all the while, you cling to your faith, because while life as an entrepreneur is uncertain, God is not. After all, there is no such thing as an Atheist in a foxhole.

War, of course, has more dire consequences and heroism under fire is much more significant, but having experienced both war and numerous startups, it strikes that there are many similarities.

 

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About Wade Myers

Wade has founded or co-founded, invested in, and been a director of over 25 companies and has completed 55 financing and M&A transactions. His previous work experience includes the Boston Consulting Group and Mobil Corporation. Wade also served as an Airborne Ranger in the US Army where he was a decorated veteran of the Gulf War. He is a Baker Scholar graduate of Harvard’s MBA program and is married with five children.

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