Well, we have to apply first. Naively, I thought the application would be like anything else I've ever applied for. I'd fill out my name, answer a few questions about myself and my idea. I was incredibly mistaken. Writing up answers took up four days of writing, editing, and thinking. It forced us to finally look into how we'd split up equity, made us think through our entire pitch (four times), and had one really, really hard question.
No, it wasn't the money one (though I'm still not sure how to answer). Nor was it "What is your company going to make?" (though that was the second hardest). Surprisingly, the most difficult question for me was:
If we fund you, which of the founders will commit to working exclusively (no school, no other jobs) on this project for the next year?Founding a startup is a big risk. I could find myself penniless in two years with no property and fewer prospects. I owe it to my parents to finish my degree, and to my fiancee to have a secure job after we get married. The startup life can't promise either of those.
Every startup founder has an incredibly tempting out: the day job. As Dilbert-esqe as they are, a day job is a siren call to the guy who has been subsiding on Ramen singing the promise of a salary and a solid night's sleep. I know at any time, I could drop the whole pretentious startup thing, finish my degree, and get a nice comfy job somewhere where someone else will make all the decisions.
Answering yes means that I'm giving up on finishing my degree in a timely manner, if at all. It means I'm accepting one of the most stressful jobs I could have. I spent a lot of time staring at the screen, wondering if I could be daring enough to put down an emphatic YES. I almost didn't do it. I almost said "I'd like to work on a startup, but..."
You may not be an entrepreneur. In fact, you don't even need a job to hit a decision like this. Our culture (and parents) emphasize a conservative lifestyle, playing it safe at every turn. Today, take a risk. Do something different. Don't let yourself worm out of it. You'll be surprised at the results.
If you've read this far, you probably should join the discussion on Hacker News.