Answering the Existential Startup Question

I've been following the tech startup scene for years. I read so many funding and product launch announcements that I had been completely desensitized to the effort and energy that went into each one. I saw ridiculous valuations and hyper growth stories every day.

I had been contemplating my own startup since October of 2012. As I talked to people about getting started, I heard a central theme interwoven through everyone's comments: the hardest part of running a startup is getting people to give a shit. That means finding a cofounder, bringing aboard investors, hiring employees, and acquiring customers. No one wants to work with a loser. By definition as a startup you're a loser until proven otherwise.

Although Pristine faced the same problem, the time we spent in that phase of life was remarkably brief. I can't pinpoint exactly how long it was, but it was a length of time measured in days, not weeks or months. After refining the Pristine story over the course of telling it a few dozen times, my vision took shape. I thought the vision was crystal clear from day one, but the more I told the story, the more previously unconsidered variables I found. Each new variable contaminated the purity of the Pristine story. Luckily, with my background in healthcare IT, the water wasn't too toxic, and I was able to purify it pretty quickly.

The reactions to my last dozen orations of the Pristine story can be described in one word: superb. I've refined the pitch to a tee, the concept is beautiful, Glass is sexy and new, the concept of "Glass for surgery" (or healthcare) is potent, and most importantly, we have a broad range of pilot sites, doctors, advisors, investors, and employees substantiating a coherent dream. It's pretty difficult to coerce employee #3 when there're only two crazy idiots making outlandish proclamations about something buggy and weird. But when 20 people believe in unified vision, many of whom are smart, sophisticated, and talented in their own right, it's much easier to persuade person #21 to jump aboard.

Out of my own arrogance and naivety, I was never prepared to deal with the challenge of getting people to care that Pristine existed. Over the past few months, I've gone to dozens of developer meetings, co founder meetings, investor meetings, and hung around Capital Factory and TechRanch for hours on end. It was only after seeing hundreds of startups struggle to answer the question "Why should I give a shit that you exist?" did I realize that it's actually an extremely difficult question to answer.

I'm extremely blessed. I was lucky enough that I didn't have to do much to answer that question. Google did the vast majority of the work for me. "Glass for surgery" sells itself. I just happened to know a little bit about software engineering, the healthcare IT industry, had enough craziness in me, and I always had an infectious smile on my face.

For any startup folks reading this, please let me know what I can do to help you answer the existential startup question. I'd love to help in any way that I can.