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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 04 2014, @06:05PM   Printer-friendly
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."

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Saturday October 04 2014, @10:20PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Saturday October 04 2014, @10:20PM (#101810)

    Even the niche is crowded. [] [] [] []

    my favorite: []

    ... and I gave up after that - there are pages and pages of the stuff. Who knew that organic mom products were so popular? Not me, obviously.

    I still don't see anywhere that the suicides were connected to these awful business ideas. There's got to be more to it than that. You'd expect this business to fail, and the guy behind it probably lived it up for a few years off of investors' money.

    Now I want to collect all five designer organic diaper bags.

    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday October 05 2014, @11:53AM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 05 2014, @11:53AM (#101981)

    the startup scene is waaaay too full of people who know their business idea is idiotic, but they are sure if they're just crazier more extreme jerks than the other 11 guys with the same idiotic idea, that they'll "win" by doing the best job of it, last to go out of business or whatever. It is a sports mentality. Lets make our business model, "carrying a ball across a line on the ground". And all that matters is our team does better than their team. Yeah I guess that is kinda a useless business model, but all that really matters is beating the other teams.

    Another aspect not often discussed is some (not all) are kids, and we've been training our kids to fail by participation trophies for all, no experience with failure, etc. No great surprise they first time they really screw up, instead of bouncing back like people should, they start doing flight tests and eatin bullets. They were set up to fail. Not WRT their idiotic business ideas, but set up WRT handling failure and bouncing back.