What does success look like?

This post is by Phin Barnes from sneakerheadVC - Medium

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I would love to say, “look in the mirror” but for most of us, we look to someone else. This is doubly true in these amazing times in The Silicon Valley with a series of very public success unfolding all around us.

Watching other people achieve amazing things is very motivating and a healthy reminder of why we all “play this game.” At the same time there is real danger in measuring the value of your work as a founder relative to the outcomes of others.

It is easy to forget the years, the struggles, the dark days and mistakes that forged the results we read about. You forget that every startup that grows up was once 5 people in a room trying to figure it out and then 50 people in a room trying to figure it out and then 500 people in a room…and that along the way, the

important decision that they made was to believe that if they did their best, they could figure it out.

It’s also easy to forget that outcomes are driven by many things — some you can control and most you can’t. In times like this, doubling down on the craft, on the day to day execution of what you can control is the most important thing you can do. Your job is not to be them, it is to protect the perspective and balance that you need to do your best work in each moment you dedicate to your company.

Great leadership and excellence as a founder can read like the recent headlines about startup success — but it also can read like this:

Sept 1st: Notify team of decision to shut down and describe timeline, severance plan, health care options and recruiting resources available

Oct 1st: Servers turned off, AWS costs reduced

Oct 1st: Get office re-painted to recover security deposit

Oct 3rd: Founder’s last day as employees of the company

Oct 5th: Final payroll and all outstanding debts paid

Oct 8th: Send out stockholder, SAFE holder & release agreements to SAFE holders & stockholders after final liabilities calculated

Oct 12th: Receive signature pages from all SAFE and stock holders

Nov 12th: Company has been dissolved

Nov 15th: Distribution of funds to SAFE and stock holders

Nov 30th: Final tax return (as per financial year)

What does success look like? was originally published in sneakerheadVC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.