The most disappointing thing for me was when my co-founder walked out the door with no notice after 8 months. And never came back.
I was not equipped to run the company on my own. I’d bet on him as much as the idea and the entire rest of the team. I did not have sufficient skills to run things on my own. In fact, I’d never have started the company without him.
We were running low on money — and I had no idea what to do. I cut my salary to $0, I hunkered down. I learned quickly how to do the things he was in charge of — and quite poorly at first. It took months just to find a way to survive.
That alone took time. We weren’t growing fast enough to make it, and only had 6 months of cash left. Just figuring out how to survive took time.
Another 6 months later, though, I learned how to do better than survive.
And another 12 months later, I’d rebuilt the team, and only then was ready to really go for it again.
In the end, across 3 startups, it’s the long term relationships that I take away. The products, even the lives saved, fade in personal impact. Those products are someone else’s now. It’s the team I went into battle with every day than endures. Those are the relationships that you have forever, the great ones. Even 5-10–15 years down the road now.