You have a brilliant idea. But for a high tech company to make that idea real is an incredibly complex machine to launch. What you really want is someone who has done this before, someone who can tell you how the bankers really make their money, what dilution means, how to quit your current job ethically, and what you should expect at each stage of “capital development.” What you need is John Nesheim, the guru of high tech startups. He’s been involved with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs for decades and has seen everything. Despite being an engineer, he correctly places great emphasis on the emotional costs (to you) at every stage. This book is the best; it doesn’t hide the nasty side, and it is explicit in an engineer’s way about what you have to do. It’s worth its weight in stocks.
The entrepreneur must realize that the process of raising venture capital never ends. From the first to the last of the fourteen stages of the venture capital formation process.. the CEO is continuously occupied with problems of how to raise the needed capital. Experienced start-up staff members of both successful and unsuccessful companies said the same thing: “You never have enough money, things always take twice as long to do as you think, and there is never enough time to stop raising capital while you focus on running the company.”
Founder CEOs seldom last as employees for more than three years. This is universally lamented by all parties, including the VCs. We will discuss the reasons and cures later in this book. Silicon Valley psychologists report that few founders make it to the IPO without personal emotional trauma.
Get in touch with yourself. That was repeated by many of the people we spoke with. Decide what motivates you: joy of work, love of wealth, the satisfaction of getting further than anyone expected, and so on. And decide what failure means to you, as a person, as a company leader.