The Virtuous Cycle of Sacrifice in Startups

I ask people to sacrifice dozens of times a day. I ask candidates and my team to sacrifice employment at bigger companies that pay more and expect less. I ask our investors to put the capital they went to such great lengths to raise behind us. I ask prospects to believe that our insanity can solve pressing business problems. I ask partners to expend their precious resources on us.

I ask literally everyone around me to give up something substantial. I am always asking. Thus I am always taking.

Except that I'm not.

I ask our stakeholders to our stakeholders. Everyone is sacrificing for everyone:

Our employees sacrifice for our investors, customers, and partners. They bust their asses day in and day out. Our engineers are working into the evenings regularly to deliver for our customers. Our marketing team is rapidly accelerating our public profile and our lead generation machine so that our engineers' code can make a dent in the world. Our sales team is creating value for customers. Our client success team is moving mountains to fulfill our promises. Everyone at Pristine is doing everything they can for our customers, investors and partners.

Our investors have gone out on a limb for our employees, and in turn, our customers and partners. And we put them to work: we work with them nearly daily to find and close candidates, customers, and partners. They know how hard it is to create a new market, and they are betting their time and precious capital on our ability to succeed. They are all in for everyone else.

Our customers are placing bets on us. They're betting that we aren't full of it. They're betting that we aren't a security liability. They're betting that we won't disrupt their mission critical business operations. They're betting that we don't piss away their capital into the massive abyss of failed startups. Executive sponsors within our customer organizations are risking their political capital with us to build our mutual vision. Our customers are sacrificing for our employees, investors, and in turn partners.

Our partners are betting on us too. They shouldn't waste their time on losers. We have to prove to them that we deliver value: relationships, revenue, growth, marketing, and more. They're offering their time and effort for our customers, investors, and employees. They expect that we reciprocate.

Many people love the energy and vibe of a startup. Although it's easy to attribute the startup mentality of boundless optimism to naivety about the challenges ahead, there is a deeper source of connection. We all know that we are sacrificing for one another. It fosters a deeper bond between all of us. We aren't here because we just need to feed ourselves; we're here because we believe in a shared mission.

We are all sacrificing for one another. That is the virtuous cycle of sacrifice in startups.