IN A SITUATION so obviously built for so many involved to experience some form of depression or anxiety, be it mild or severe, one could reasonably assume the venture capitalists handing over money to these bright young things would have trained themselves to see it coming in their founders, and actively intervene. Some, Mr. Tisch argued, do: “The best investors out there get to know the entrepreneurs to the point where they’re there as a friend. It’s a very honest relationship that gets built. The best VCs pay attention to these things,” but, he qualified, “like in every industry, not everyone’s the best.”
“I don’t think [these issues] are getting brushed under the rug, but,” he concluded, “It’s probably something we can all do better in exposing.”
Of course, the first and most rudimentary answers to these problems are as obvious as they are readily available:
“Stay focused on that self that exists outside of work,” Mr. Colonna explained. “Make sure you are dissipating the anxiety through physical exercise, eating right, all the things our mothers taught us.”
Mr. Tisch’s advice was more philosophical: “Understand where you are in the process. Consciously understand that you are rebelling against the easy path,” he suggested.
Chris noted: “Be comfortable having others know about it.” He nodded at Mr. Weinstein: “You have to identify people you can talk with about it.”
Mr. Weinstein agreed that so much of dealing with the emotional rigors of startup life was simply a matter of battling the character traits that helped those like him get there in the first place.
“Depression is so common, especially with people who are Type A,” Mr. Weinstein shook his head. “When you’re wired to execute and accomplish, it’s a challenge that you need to overcome. If you don’t recognize it yourself, or talk to people about it, it’s not going to be fun.”
Earlier that evening, when we first found out it was Mr. Weinstein’s 25th birthday, we couldn’t help but ask him:
It’s Friday night. It’s your birthday. You really going to stay here coding all night, or are you doing anything for it?
“Yeah,” he smirked, “we’ll be fratting our brains out at happy hour.”
As it turns out, Josh spent the rest of the night working.
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