Apparently a lot of founders of companies feel particularly lonely.? Om Malik added to this meme the other day in "Founders & importance of friends". He says no one tells you about the tough days, but actually I see a lot of blog posts about the low points and the stresses (often written years later).? Om writes:
There were over 125 founders in attendance ? talking to each other, teaching each other, and learning from each other.
For a fraction of a second I was a little jealous ? there was no such support group when I set out on my entrepreneurial journey. There were so few of us that you could count us on one hand, and still have a finger left to pick your nose with. The first year of being a founder was like climbing a glass wall with nothing but nails for hands.
That was over six years ago.
This has a bit of the "back in my day it was harder" flavor to it...? Oh sure, the funding environment was terrible in 06 and 07.? But lean startups were blooming like spring daisies - in Austin, we had bootstrap and other groups to support founder's efforts to get off the ground without outside funding. Maybe given my background in Austin tech I knew more people who had started or were starting their own businesses - including my own wife, who happens to run the best Event Management company in Texas.? I also started with a business partner and friend, so it never felt like a journey of one.
I also think it is healthy to have some friends who don't think your startup is all that important.? Doctors who can put your "life and death" struggles into perspective.? Friends with "normal" jobs who can help you find a little work-life balance and invite you to spend time with their families.
But boy, Om gets one thing right - you need good friends, where ever they come from.? Just don't think that they have to be running startups like you.? The most important criterion is that you care about each other. The other stuff is noise.