In the end, it resulted in divorce. Now my once 7 year old is in college with 2 others headed there very soon.
I missed most of their lives to be honest. When you get divorced things can be messy and you have to schedule visits and as the kids get older they may want to be with friends instead on the weekends.
I have regrets. I also enjoyed what I was doing. Now, I do wonder if I should have had a 9-5 and how my life would have played out differently.
I'm not saying this will happen to you, but there can be an ugly side to relationships when you are working so hard and your family just wants you to sit and watch a movie with some popcorn and you feel like you can't. There is always work to be done.
Personally I think it’s funny (no offense intended) to think that people are too old to start a company / startup beyond 35. I think the average age of founders is actually slightly above that and I would argue that the success rate of experienced founders should also be higher as those people usually have more experience and connections. So don’t get infected by the ageism that you’ll often see on HN, you can totally do it. Also please remember that there are many different ways to build a successful company, so don’t think the “crunch mode” model that most single founders in their 20s use is the only one.
If your family don’t support you going to SF after getting accepted into the best accelerator in the world, they won’t be supportive of your startup in general.
Of course being away from the family can be tough, but considering that the chance of succeeding once you get in is so high, it should not be too hard to convince them that it’s a good idea. It’s also so much easier to focus on work if you are far away. I sometimes go away for a week so I can really focus, without feeling streesed about staying late at the office.
That's tricky, since we're in biotech; we've had to do a lot of front-loaded grinding in order to bootstrap a molecular biology lab, but now we're getting close to presentable results. I suppose if it were easy, everyone would do it!
If we had been accepted, it would have been a rush, since co-founder was pregnant (baby is 2 yo old now!), but since we're married, it makes it easier to find synergy between work and family, heh. We have little man's grand parents right next door, and they've been a big help as we got rolling early on.
Could any YC alumni speak to the family issue? The program is pretty short, but there is space for YC teams and alumni to set up a babysitting ring/play group for people in this situation. How did you guys handle pulling up stakes with your kids for a season? There are some googlable good outcomes, but I'd also be interested in hearing about the challenges as well.
Most people under 30 are only a few years into their careers, a few are only just finishing their degrees. On top of that, a good deal of people are starting families in their early thirties.
Maybe there is just a huge difference of culture, but to me it seem, that the prime years career wise seem to be between 45 and 65. It's a little different for startups and founders, where a lot of people start below 25, but the second most common age group in startups is above 55, with an average age around 45-50.
Mr. Rocket Eletric Car Man Inventor has a few kids, wives whatever... but he doesn't take care of them, nor feel responsible, he is almost reaching his 50 but he lives like a 23 year old.
Age doesn't matter.
Now, if you feel responsible for your kids, your spouse, dog or whatever. I would go a step back and consider doing something as another HN member suggested "cash flow positive". Can be a business as well, consulting or this thing that some people seem to hate here, called "working for the boss". Don't buy the YC propaganda of success. Success can mean also taking care of your kids. Today is full of parents that think they are putting their kids ahead because they work a lot, but the only thing they are really doing is that they are putting their careers ahead. Well, not Today, this trend has been going on for a while and we've already seen how this affects children, or even adults...
Just fail fast and get back to your normal job, wiser and more experienced, and with a much improved CV.
If you don’t have a big safety net (college money for kids, many months of living expenses, emergency fund, etc.) then don’t try to become a founder. You are almost guaranteed to fail (as all startups are). If your appetite for risk is low, don’t do it.
There’s a lot of confirmation bias on HN (“I have small kids and started a company, so can you!”) but I’ve personally seen the other side of the coin, and it’s very ugly.
That said, without finding a way to raise money or bootstrap to profitability, you’re absolutely right.
1. You have enough to cover your costs while in SF 2. If you are good enough to get in, you will never have a hard time to get back into employment 3. Having been accepted to YC will in fact boost your prospects afterwards.
Unless your situation at work is very unusual, there is no downside to getting accepted, only upside.
1. YC's investment amount can cover your costs while in SF, but not much more than that. If you have family to support back home, it may not even be enough for that. If your startup didn't have other investments already, you're also on the hook to raise funds at the end of YC too, or else you're in another bad place.
2 & 3. Having been a YC founder on your resume does not make you a gold standard everywhere, you still pretty much go through the exact same hoops at interviews everywhere. I job-hunted after our YC startup shut down. It was not any easier than before YC. In fact, it seemed like it was harder (not because of YC experience but because the overall environment for software engineering interviews got a lot different than I last job-hunted 10+ years before that). In the end I landed at a place I'm very happy at now as a regular ol' senior engineer, but it was certainly not effortless.
Of course, YC is awesome and there is no downside for the company or yourself to getting accepted. But definitely not riskless if you have a family to support and you don't already have a lot of savings as safety net.
What about your costs back home? You need to earn enough to live in SF plus pay for your food and mortgage etc. at home for your family. You really need some savings.
In reality most people earn much less, and are willing to dial down their spending a bit for a few months, so I really don't think money is an issue for the vast majority of YC applicants.