Natural Flavour. This was not generated by artificial intelligence.
Once upon a time, there was a founder.
Their vision was grand, but their bank account was empty.
Their background was solid, so much so that they could design amazing slides.
Their ambition was stellar and reflected beautifully in their pitch.
Their fundraising was extraordinary, so it was time to build.
Their obsession with building an A-team was on par with the best practices.
Their product was as slick as superfluid helium.
Their tech looks like a new form of architecture flying in the air, magically.
Their attention to customers matched what Delivering Happiness is preaching.
Their first principles were inspiring to all of those who remembered them.
Their mission was embedded in their vision, fueled by values, in a one-pager.
Their burn rate matched their expectations, and they were incredibly high.
Their board was proud because their peers were jealous.
Their coverage in the media was making their family proud, like investors.
Their humility in public was smashing, like their optimism.
Their growth plan looked really amazing, on paper.
Their targets were not reached. So they changed. The targets.
Their budget looked like a movie, written by Stephen King.
Their sales were growing triple digits, depending on how one counts.
Then reality knocked at the door of clarity to ask how things were doing.
Clarity was high and dancing with optimism, but reality turned off the music.
Look at you.
Your product is stellar, as much as your sales are subpar.
Your tech is a remake of The Wizard of Oz.
Your culture is so amazing that people stop working.
Your numbers look like a state budget without any context.
The search for equilibrium looks like a weak pattern because it’s neither singular nor radical. But in reality, equilibrium is where clarity meets reality. It’s when you manage to invest time, money, and energy in sales as much as in tech and product. It’s when you don’t tolerate too much free space for creativity because it must be earned with achievements first. It’s when you can make sense of your numbers without the need to tell prospective stories backed by very few facts. It’s when you listen to detractors with open-mindedness and find yourself altering certain things even slightly over time. It’s when you realize that the performance of every investment, in time, resource, and money, is measured by its yield.
It’s when you manage to cross the chasm between your narrative and reality, between expectations and realizations. It’s when chaos finds its space. I meet with many founders who struggle to find that equilibrium because it’s so challenging to gain and keep clarity in the insane world of startups.
People ask me how some companies are doing, and it’s often the same answer: it’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time because things can change faster and differently than expected.
Entrepreneurs as much as investors should push themselves to become more accountable toward common sense and sanity :)