Curb, A Closed Chapter
The 12th of June 2014 marked my final day with Curb, the startup I joined in November of 2013 and took into the (awesome) Capital Factory Incubator. When I joined I wasn’t in a good place and neither was Curb. I cleaned up my issues with Curb as a feedback loop and in the process built great technology for the company and brought in the lean startup philosophy.
A promising fairy tale. Yet, it was not to be for reasons outside of my control that should never have skipped my own due diligence and Early Warning System.
This is also a meta-anecdote about the consistency of impermanence.
A bit of history
Splitting with my co-founder Erica and Market Vibe after Techstars, in the midst of stress and blame being thrown around like mud-pies, is rough. Rough because untangling the web of responsibilities (what were rightfully my mistakes) from the web of blame is a fine line to walk!
Seeing the forest for the trees, as they say it.
Of all the emotions I experienced during the split, the most unproductive one I harbored was the feeling that I had to keep the momentum up and not lose my status of being “a founder”. My self-esteem as a programmer and technologist was also somewhat battered, leading me on an intense and meandering journey to recover it at Curb.
The idea that my personal worthiness was at all tied to my status as a founder is now so obviously, insecure. I worked hard to prove (really, to whom but myself!?) that I am an effective leader, founder, and engineer by rebooting a troubled technology startup.
I already inhabited those attributes but by virtue of my insecurity I wasn’t allowing their fullest expression. The tangible validation of taking a startup that was in a bog, to a startup moving with a consistent gate was good reinforcement for me. I’ve learned though, you can walk even when shackles are on your feet — the parent company owns controlling interest and we (Erik and I) were told we would have ownership and control to spin it out. A mechanism for keeping the hamster wheel greased.
To be fair, Curb did have a novel product that I was excited about with promising opportunities in the market.
Reboot it I did. Some of the best software I’ve ever written I wrote for Curb. Flexing my leadership muscles was great fun too; my business partner, Erik, ebbed and flowed with me really well — absorbing new knowledge quickly and providing rational counterpoints — he was also infectiously, authentically optimistic.
Other than recovered self-esteem and wisdom, that relationship [with Erik] is a gem that I’m grateful to have extracted out of the experience. Even though the business structure with the parent company and style of conduct by people in the parent company are at odds with my own philosophy and goals, I have indeed profited, intangibly from it.
Embracing Unformed Opportunity
It’s now, with better understanding of myself and what I really want in life — to have fun! — that I can repose and allow the unknown to produce an exhilarating adventure :)