from the Need-help?-In-the-U.S.,-call-1-800-273-8255 dept.
Nellie Bowles writes in Recode that three of the most prominent high tech entrepreneurs involved with Tony Hsieh’s project to build a startup city in Downtown Las Vegas have recently committed suicide, sending the tight-knit community into a tailspin. In January 2013, Jody Sherman, the 48-year-old founder of Ecomom, one of the most prominent Vegas tech-funded startups, shot himself while in his car. His company had been going south. In January 2014, 24-year-old Ovik Banerjee, who was part of the first Venture for America group in Vegas and an integral member of the Downtown Project team, leapt from his Town Terrace apartment in downtown. In May 2014, Matt Berman, the 50-year-old founder of Bolt Barber, the flagship shop at the center of the Container Park, was found in his home in an apparent suicide by hanging. Whether or not the suicides are statistically significant, the deaths have clearly shaken the entrepreneurs.
According to Alyson Shontell, in a social media age where word of success and failure travels fast, entrepreneurs say it's harder than ever to run a company — and it's harder than ever to fail. "It was a hell of a lot of work for not a hell of a lot of return," says Dave McClure, an investor in Ecomom and the entrepreneur behind investment firm 500Startups. "And then there are days when you sit in a corner and cry. You can't really do anything else. You don't have a social life. You don't really want to interact with family and friends because there's just not much context for them. Your world revolves around your startup and it's all about trying to survive and not look like an idiot in front of employees." "In the past, failure was very contained," another entrepreneur says. "When you failed, you felt bad around your family, the people you raised money from, but it wasn't as public. Failure in an era of social media and social video and global events is a very public thing. Jody [Sherman] put himself out there this time and became very respected for what he was doing. That possibility of very public shame is something that didn't exist before." Brad Feld writes that if you are ever considering committing suicide, reach out to someone and ask for help. "It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to lose. It’s ok to be depressed. If you are contemplating suicide, get help. If you have an entrepreneurial friend contemplating suicide, do your best to get them help."