Boulder Startup Week 2016 Panel on Mental Health and Wellbeing

During Boulder Startup Week 2016, Dave Mayer of Technical Integrity moderated a panel on Mental Health and Wellbeing that I was on with Sarah Jane Coffey and Tom Higley. It ended up going 90 minutes and I remember it being powerful for me and the audience. Dave recently put it up on Youtube and wrote a blog post about it. His leadoff in his post sets things up nicely.

“During my relatively short six-year journey through the startup landscape- I’ve been through ugly founder breakups, I’ve lost plenty of money, lost way too much time, and I ended up in the hospital from exhaustion from too many 100 hour weeks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reality of building new companies. I know of suicides, families being torn apart and of course several cases of debilitating depression.”

If this is a topic that is interesting, relevant, or important to you, I hope you enjoy our rambling session on it at Naropa during BSW 2016. Thanks Dave for organizing and hosting. And thanks to Sarah Jane and Tom for being vulnerable and brave enough to talk publicly about this stuff.


Also published on Medium.

  • “That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reality of building new companies.”

    Have you known many companies that haven’t had this reality, but built really successful companies? I ask since we kind of romanticize the 100 hour work week. Why don’t we romanticize the stories of people who killed it but with a normal work week? Do those stories rarely happen?

  • Jason Randell

    Lets keep the conversation going! Thanks for posting.

  • Bill Falloon

    Really enjoyed this conversation, and will probably watch it again. Three thoughts:

    1. Hellth! Mind Hacks When Work Isn’t Working. Sorry, I’m a book editor and kept staring at the missing letters in the background behind Brad’s head, and that’s what I came up with. Open invite for a proposal from anyone who dares, particularly the young man who made a cameo and spoke about the unspoken statistics. All of you made a lasting impression. Thank you.

    2. Humor. http://www.psmueller.com/batshit.htm
    P.S. Muller’s cartoon has stuck with me for 30 years of work, including 2 startups that went belly up. Post it on your wall or fridge. When a day goes bad, glimpse at Bat-Sh*t Man, a super hero of sorts to keep your chin up and not take anything too seriously. He’s still making things happen.

    3. Dogs. When the sh** sandwich is served up, strange how animals can help mediate or smooth over a bad day mentally, simply by walking, picking up their poop (reminding you of the shit sandwich you just walked away from, with a smile on your face),, tennis ball time, and an open field.

    As I said, enjoyed this, since startups are no walk in the park.

    • I’m all in on the third one!