When I look at the responses, the common theme is thatstarting a startup was like I said, but way more so. People justdon’t seem to get how different it is till they do it. Why? Thekey to that mystery is to ask, how different from what? Once youphrase it that way, the answer is obvious: from a job. Everyone’smodel of work is a job. It’s completely pervasive. Even if you’venever had a job, your parents probably did, along with practicallyevery other adult you’ve met.

Unconsciously, everyone expects a startup to be like a job, andthat explains most of the surprises. It explains why people aresurprised how carefully you have to choose cofounders and how hardyou have to work to maintain your relationship. You don’t have todo that with coworkers. It explains why the ups and downs aresurprisingly extreme. In a job there is much more damping. Butit also explains why the good times are surprisingly good: mostpeople can’t imagine such freedom. As you go down the list, almostall the surprises are surprising in how much a startup differs froma job.

If you work for a startup, are a founder of a startup, are married to someone in a startup (hi, Mandy!), or are thinking about starting a startup, this is must reading.

A startup is NOT a job. If you’re looking for a job, a startup is a very bad lifestyle choice for you.

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