My work has never been better, but my personal life is in tatters – an eight-year relationship just ended. I probably shouldn't even be discussing this here, but writing it down helps as I try to make sense of what went wrong – what I did wrong.
There's no direct line I can draw between what happened and my startup life, but I have to wonder. Something people seldom talk about with entrepreneurship is how corrosive it can be to relationships. Founders are driven, and that doesn't make for a comfortable world for them or those around them. I always tried to make my home life the top priority, but my obsession is a part of me.
There's so many characteristics of entrepreneurs that make us hard to live with, from a constantly uncertain future to long working hours and a monomaniacal focus on our projects, but these tend to get lost in the classic Romantic mythology that is perpetuated by our willingness to lie about the reality of startup life. There's plenty of counter-examples that show it's possible to be a founder and a good spouse or parent, but the 'craziness' that drives us to build castles in the sky is not always a benign force.
Please, take a minute to think about the people you love, and be certain you're giving them everything they deserve, that you're truly there for them. I have lots of time to reflect on that, now it's too late.