Divorce isn’t a rare thing these days in broader society. One in two (give or take depending on the country and stats) marriages break down. Sadly one could argue that it is a fact of life.
For years I’ve seen people I’ve known in the broader internet/ web 2.0 space ending up getting divorced. Without naming names, some include people I’d regard as my friends, others include those I’ve gotten to know or worked beside.
That in the broader sense of statistics these happened may not be so remarkable, and statistically the breadth of people I know may not be representative. But likewise, I’d struggle to name people in startups I know today who remain happily married, at least over any length of time.
Yeah, I probably should add at this point that I’m now one of those statistics. You always believe that it can’t happen to you. That’s a fools position that I deluded myself with for a long time. I saw the pure statistical fact around me, but pretended that I was better than the rest. As some one who loves numbers (and believes that numbers are the root of everything) I ignored what I would on any other statistic would have believed.
This post isn’t meant to be about how I feel at the moment, but about what on (be it an unscientific basis) I’ve observed for years, but never really articulated. There is a curse in web 2.0 startups for relationships, one which is above the general population when it comes to divorce.
The reason is fairly simple to articulate and my conclusions come from talking to many people in the space.
Simply: those who start startups share mostly similar traits: an obsession to succeed, long hours (often at the behest of family,) sometimes difficult financial situations (where the startup isn’t making money) and a broader lack of understanding…or passion in the partner for what is trying to be achieved.
The often untold fact is that those running startups don’t often marry those who share the same entrepreneurship drive. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years (from The Blog Herald, through b5media, TechCrunch, and now The Inquisitr) is that it takes a special type of person to take a serious risk on a startup; and who understands that it always is a risk, and that more often than not those risks don’t convert.
But likewise, those same risk takers are the same people who have created some of the very same startups that are great today. Even if they aren’t “great,” there and thousands, if not more startups that might not be in popular culture that none the less turn a profit.
That marriage is sometimes the cost of a startup maybe isn’t great, but likewise web 2.0 would be far worse off without those who take the risk, and make it at the cost of their wife and sometimes family.
At this point I don’t know how you change the dynamic, and perhaps you can’t. But likewise recognizing it might be a stepping stone to better recognition, and support. Hell, I’ve just put out there that if you’re getting divorced, you’re not alone. I’d rather speak out and help support others in the same situation than it remain unspoken. Web 2.0 will be better off for recognizing the issue, than denying it.