Beyond the Confetti: The Dark Side of Startup Success

Confetti rained down at the Nasdaq as Etsy Inc. ’s stock popped 94% in early trading. But all its CEO Chad Dickerson felt was dread.

His toddler had vomited and was throwing a tantrum. Mr. Dickerson, too, felt sick to his stomach as he worried about how the online crafts marketplace would live up to the hype. Back in the office, employees celebrated by dousing him with a bucket of ice water. He recalls the chill he felt the rest of the day in a cold, wet suit.

It was “this moment of success and this feverish insanity,” says the now-47-year-old Mr. Dickerson, who left as Etsy’s chief executive in 2017, two years after the initial public offering. Amid the confetti, he thought: “If we don’t maintain this price…it’s just going to be brutal.”

This year is set to be a huge one for startup IPOs. Going public is a cinematic moment for founders, CEOs and early employees, one that can turn years of hard work into immense wealth. But off-camera, the startup world has a dark side. Under the veneer of fancy parties and multibillion-dollar valuations, many founders and early-startup executives are striving to build pioneering businesses while wrestling with issues like anxiety, drug addiction, insomnia, depression and binge eating.

Stress, of course, is a part of any leadership role, and startup leaders often have more resources than most to cope with mental-health woes. But it is also becoming clear that the swashbuckling creativity that pushes many startup founders to take bold leaps often comes with inner demons.

Entrepreneurs were 50% more likely to report having a lifetime mental-health condition and reported significantly higher rates of depression, attention-deficit disorder, substance abuse and bipolar disorder than a control group, according to a 2016 paper by researchers at the University of California San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University, who surveyed more than 200 founders.

Some entrepreneurs have “a high degree of energy, a low need for sleep, a drive that seems far beyond ordinary driven people and a vivid imagination,” says Kerry Sulkowicz, a New York psychoanalyst who advises CEOs. These traits allow them to “keep going when everybody tells you what you’re doing is crazy” but also makes them vulnerable to mental-health issues, he says.

A massive workload doesn’t help—nor that young entrepreneurs are bombarded by what some call “hustle porn,” the notion that working nonstop is a badge of honor.

Serial entrepreneur Kwiri Yang, 31, says she found herself in a “stress cage” as head of strategy at Fuhu, a children’s tablet maker. After Fuhu was sold to Mattel Inc. in a bankruptcy auction in 2016, she says she fell physically ill and grew severely depressed, cycling through seven therapists and three executive coaches before finding support from other founders.

Richard Rohr Meditation: The Source of Action

The effectiveness of action depends on the source from which it springs. If it is coming out of the false self with its shadow side, it is severely limited. If it is coming out of a person who is immersed in God, it is extremely effective. The contemplative state, like the vocation of Our Lady, brings Christ into the world. —Thomas Keating [1]

.. I founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in 1987 because I saw a deep need for the integration of both action and contemplation. Over the years, I met many social activists who were doing excellent social analysis and advocating for crucial justice issues, but they were not working from an energy of love. They were still living out of their false self with the need to win, the need to look good—attached to a superior, politically correct self-image.

They might have the answer, but they are not themselves the answer. In fact, they are often part of the problem. That’s one reason that most revolutions fail and too many reformers self-destruct from within. For that very reason, I believe, Jesus and great spiritual teachers first emphasize transformation of consciousness and soul. Without inner transformation, there is no grounded or lasting reform or revolution. When subjugated people rise to power, they often become as dominating as their oppressors because the same demon of power hasn’t been exorcised in them.

We are easily allured by the next new thing, a new agenda that looks like enlightenment. And then we discover it’s run by unenlightened people who, in fact, love themselves first of all but do not love God or others. They do not really love the Big Truth, but they often love control. Too often, they do not love freedom for everybody but just freedom for their own ideas.

Untransformed liberals often lack the ability to sacrifice the self or create foundations that last. They can’t let go of their own need for change and cannot stand still in a patient, compassionate, and humble way. It is no surprise that Jesus prayed not just for fruit, but “fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Untransformed conservatives, on the other hand, tend to idolize anything that lasts, but then avoid the question, “Is it actually bearing any fruit?” This is the perennial battle between idealism and pragmatism, or romanticism and rationalism.

If we are going to have truly prophetic people who go beyond the categories of liberal and conservative, we have to teach them some way to integrate their needed activism with a truly contemplative mind and heart. I’m convinced that once you learn how to look out at life from the contemplative eyes of the True Self, your politics and economics are going to change on their own. I don’t need to teach you what your politics should or shouldn’t be. Once you see things contemplatively, you’ll begin to seek the bias from the bottom instead of the top, you’ll be free to embrace your shadow, and you can live at peace with those who are different. From a contemplative stance, you’ll know what action is yours to do—and what is not yours to do—almost naturally.

It’s Now Donald Trump’s America. But George Bush’s Stamp Endures.

Arguably, that moment proved a precursor to this one as conservatives angry at his apostasy, led by a onetime backbench congressman from Georgia named Newt Gingrich, rose to power within the Republican Party and toppled the old establishment. The harder-edged Gingrich revolution in some ways foreshadowed Mr. Trump’s extraordinary takeover of the party.

Mr. Meacham said the current world of cable talk and relentless partisanship took shape during Mr. Bush’s era. “He saw it all coming, and he didn’t like it,” he said.

Mark K. Updegrove, the author of “The Last Republicans,” about the two Bush presidencies, said, “In so many ways, Bush was the antithesis of the Republican leadership we see today.” He embodied, Mr. Updegrove added, “the

  • humility,
  • civility and
  • self-sacrifice

of the best of the World War II generation. He played tough but fair, making friends on both sides of the aisle and rejecting the notion of politics as a zero-sum game.”

.. For all of the condolences and tributes pouring in to the Bush home in Houston from every corner of the world on Saturday, Mr. Trump’s very presidency stands as a rebuke to Mr. Bush. Never a proponent of “kinder and gentler” politics, Mr. Trump prefers a brawl, even with his own party. The “new world order” of free-trade, alliance-building internationalism that Mr. Bush championed has been replaced by Mr. Trump’s “America First” defiance of globalism.

.. Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he sees the go-along-to-get-along style that defined Mr. Bush’s presidency as inadequate to advance the nation in a hostile world. Gentility and dignity, hallmarks of Mr. Bush, are signs of weakness to Mr. Trump. In his view, Mr. Bush’s version of leadership left the United States exploited by allies and adversaries, whether on economics or security.

.. Mr. Bush was, in effect, president of the presidents’ club, the father of one other commander in chief and the father figure to another, Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter always appreciated that Mr. Bush’s administration treated him better than Ronald Reagan’s or Mr. Clinton’s, while Barack Obama expressed admiration for the elder Mr. Bush when he ran for the White House.

.. Mr. Obama was among the last people to see Mr. Bush alive.

.. “What the hell was that, by the way, thousand points of light?” Mr. Trump asked scornfully at a campaign rally in Great Falls, Mont., in July. “What did that mean? Does anyone know? I know one thing: Make America great again, we understand. Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one.”

.. “It’s so easy to be presidential,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign rally in Wheeling, W.Va. “But instead of having 10,000 people outside trying to get into this packed arena, we’d have about 200 people standing right there. O.K.? It’s so easy to be presidential. All I have to do is ‘Thank you very much for being here, ladies and gentlemen. It’s great to see you off — you’re great Americans. Thousand points of light.’ Which nobody has really figured out.”

.. In 1988, when Mr. Bush was seeking the presidency, Mr. Trump offered himself as a running mate. Mr. Bush never took the idea seriously, deeming it “strange and unbelievable,”

.. “I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.” Rather than being motivated by public service, Mr. Bush said, Mr. Trump seemed to be driven by “a certain ego.”

The Jordan Peterson Moment

My friend Tyler Cowen argues that Jordan Peterson is the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now, and he has a point. Peterson, a University of Toronto psychologist, has found his real home on YouTube, where his videos have attracted something like 40 million views.

In his videos, he analyzes classic and biblical texts, he eviscerates identity politics and political correctness and, most important, he delivers stern fatherly lectures to young men on how to be honorable, upright and self-disciplined — how to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives.

.. His worldview begins with the belief that life is essentially a series of ruthless dominance competitions. The strong get the spoils and the weak become meek, defeated, unknown and unloved.

For much of Western history, he argues, Christianity restrained the human tendency toward barbarism. But God died in the 19th century, and Christian dogma and discipline died with him. That gave us the age of ideology, the age of fascism and communism — and with it, Auschwitz, Dachau and the gulag.

.. Since most conflict is over values, we’ve decided to not have any values. We’ll celebrate relativism and tolerance.

.. Chaos, the eternal feminine, is also the crushing force of sexual selection. Women are choosy maters. … Most men do not meet female human standards.”

.. Life is suffering, Peterson reiterates. Don’t be fooled by the naïve optimism of progressive ideology. Life is about remorseless struggle and pain. Your instinct is to whine, to play the victim, to seek vengeance.

.. “The individual must conduct his or her life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike.”

.. Instead, choose discipline, courage and self-sacrifice.

.. Much of Peterson’s advice sounds to me like vague exhortatory banality. Like Hobbes and Nietzsche before him, he seems to imagine an overly brutalistic universe, nearly without benevolence, beauty, attachment and love. His recipe for self-improvement is solitary, nonrelational, unemotional. I’d say the lives of young men can be improved more through loving attachment than through Peterson’s joyless and graceless calls to self-sacrifice.

Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot

It’s not Trump’s motives that are scary; Wolff reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “increasingly panicked” and “frenzied” about what Comey would find if he looked into the family finances, which is incriminating but unsurprising. The terrifying part is how, in Wolff’s telling, Trump sneaked around his aides, some of whom thought they’d contained him.

.. “In presidential annals, the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey may be the most consequential move ever made by a modern president acting entirely on his own.” Now imagine Trump taking the same approach toward ordering the bombing of North Korea.

.. We learn that the administration holds special animus for what it calls “D.O.J. women,”

.. most of all, the book confirms what is already widely understood — not just that Trump is entirely unfit for the presidency, but that everyone around him knows it.

.. One thread running through “Fire and Fury” is the way relatives, opportunists and officials try to manipulate and manage the president, and how they often fail.

.. the people around Trump, “all — 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.”

.. According to Wolff, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, called Trump an “idiot.” (So did the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, though he used an obscenity first.)

.. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, compares his boss’s intelligence to excrement. The national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, thinks he’s a “dope.” It has already been reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron,” which he has pointedly refused to deny.

.. Wolff takes a few stabs at the motives of Trump insiders. Ivanka Trump apparently nurtured the ghastly dream of following her father into the presidency. Others, Wolff writes, told themselves that they could help protect America from the president they serve

.. Some of the military men trying to steady American foreign policy amid Trump’s whims and tantrums might be doing something quietly decent, sacrificing their reputations for the greater good.

.. But most members of Trump’s campaign and administration are simply traitors. They are willing, out of some complex mix of ambition, resentment, cynicism and rationalization, to endanger all of our lives — all of our children’s lives — by refusing to tell the country what they know about the senescent fool who boasts of the size of his “nuclear button” on Twitter.

.. Maybe, at the moment, people in the Trump orbit feel complacent because a year has passed without any epic disaster, unless you count an estimated 1,000 or so deaths in Puerto Rico

.. A guy falls from a 50-story building. As he flies by the 25th floor, someone asks how it’s going. “So far, so good!” he says.

Eventually, we’ll hit the ground, and assuming America survives, there should be a reckoning to dwarf the defenestration of Harvey Weinstein and his fellow ogres.

.. His enablers have no such excuse.

Trump’s Tangle of Rhetorical Inadequacy

A gifted leader might make the case for building more statues rather than tearing down the ones we have.

The political aspect of the president’s failures this week is to reveal him as increasingly isolated. He is not without supporters, but it’s down to roughly a third of the country and one senses soft around the edges. That is not a base, it’s a core. A core can have an impact, but a president cannot govern if that’s all he has.

..  Donald Trump is binding himself down with thick cords of rhetorical inadequacy. People felt let down, angry and in some cases frightened by his inability to make clear moral distinctions when he addressed the events in Charlottesville, Va. There were neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic chants, white supremacists; a woman was killed and many people injured. It’s not hard to figure out who and what needed to be castigated—clearly, unambiguously, immediately.

.. In times of stress and fracture, people want a president who’s calm in the storm, who speaks to the nation’s moral conscience, recalls first principles, evokes what unites us, honestly defines the contours of an event, and softly instructs. Mr. Trump did not do any of that.

If a leader is particularly gifted he could, in a moment of historical stress, succeed in speaking to the nation’s soul and moving its heart by addressing its brain. This kind of thing comes from love—of the country, our people, what we’ve been.

.. It struck me this week as he spoke that his speeches and statements are peculiarly loveless. The public Mr. Trump is not without sentiment and occasional sentimentality, but the deeper wells of a broader love seem not there to draw from. Seven months in, people know they can look to him for a reaction, a statement, an announcement, but not for comfort, inspiration, higher meaning.

.. After the church shootings in Charleston, S.C., two years ago, the great and immediate moral leaders were the victims’ families, whose words at the shooter’s bond hearing spread throughout the country within 24 hours. “I forgive you.” “We are praying for you.” It was the authentic voice of American Christianity, of Wednesday night Bible study, of mercy and self-sacrifice. It quieted the soul of a nation: We’ll be OK. This is who we really are.

.. When a nation tears down its statues, it’s toppling more than brass and marble. It is in a way toppling itself—tearing down all the things, good, bad and inadequate, that made it. Or, rather, everyone. Not all of what made America is good—does anyone even think this?—but why try to hide from that?

 .. When you tear down statues, you tear down avenues of communication between generations.
.. Condi Rice said it well, before the current controversy. She did not agree with the impulse to tear down. “Keep your history before you,” she said. Keep it in your line of sight.And once the tearing down starts, there’s no knowing where it will end. On this the president is right. Once the local statues are purged the Tear-Downers will look to Statuary Hall, and the names of military bases, and then on to the Founders, to the slave-holding Washington and Jefferson. Then, perhaps, to their words and ideas. In what way will that help us?

.. Leave what is, alone. Be a noble people who inspire—and build—more statues. I’d like one that honors the families of the victims in the Charleston shooting.More statues, not fewer; more honor, not more debris. More debris is the last thing we need.

The Knights Templar International

The Order desires to welcome into membership people who are natural leaders and who share an understanding of the threats we face today globally from radical Islam, liberalism, political corruption, cultural Marxism and anti-Christian bigotry. We welcome those who are prepared to make a stand to defend all they hold dear regardless of the cost. We also look for people who can provide mutual support to each other as members of the Order.

..

  • As a Templar you will be expected to participate in the Templar work of defence, charity, meetings and social events. However, we fully appreciate that not everyone can go off to War zones across the world. Indeed, only a very few can, but as a Knight or Dame you have a duty to support the overall work of the order and the brothers who volunteer overseas. As Templars we are all brothers and sisters and you enter into a lifelong commitment supporting the work of the Order as far as your personal circumstances allow.
  • Christian chivalric group of men and women who take their inspiration from the highest ideals of the medieval Order of the Knights Templar, founded circa 1118. The Order of Knights Templar International are deeply involved in projects all over the world and our reputation for swift ethical action rather than just talking has gained us international trust and respect.
  • Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Your Name give the glory.
  • all those who secretly despise their own will and desire with a pure heart to serve the Sovereign King as a knight and with studious care desire to wear, and wear permanently, the very noble armour of obedience.
  • Be mindful that you are on the crusade of the King of Kings. “Unless you take up your cross and follow me, you have no part with me”, said our Master. (St Matthew’s Gospel: chapter 16; verse 24) Do not be afraid to confess the King who is like no other King.
  • May the white cloak remind you that we fight a holy war in all truthfulness; and may the red cross remind you that sacrifices must be made; for “we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against potentates and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in the cosmos.” (St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: chapter 6; verse 12)
  • .. As a knight, stand up for the weak, above all for women and children, widows and orphans who need your help.
  • .. Each brother of the Temple should know that he is not committed to anything so much as to serve God, and each one should apply all his study and understanding to this.
  • .. “I do not know if it would be more appropriate to refer to them as monks or soldiers, unless it would be better to recognise them as being both. Indeed they lack neither monastic meekness nor military might. What can we say of this, except that “this has been done by the Lord and it is marvellous in our eyes.”
  • .. The principles of Chivalry and traditional values been largely forgotten in decadent and subverted modern society. They need to be restored.
  • .. The essence of Chivalry involved bravery, skilled training, and dedication in service to others.

The Ten Pillars of Modern Templar Chivalry:

  1. Believe in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and apply them in daily life
  2. Defend traditional Christianity, cleaving to your own confession but respecting that of others
  3. Respect and defend the weak against abuses by the strong
  4. Love the people and sovereignty of your country, for they are ordained by God
  5. Do not be a coward, face the enemy, and use direct force
  6. Fight the enemies of good relentlessly and without mercy
  7. Perform all secular duties under the higher Laws of God
  8. Never lie nor breach your word, be reliable for friend or foe
  9. Give generously and wholeheartedly, striving to make a difference for the better
  10. Always uphold right and good, against all evil and injustice

.. With the ‘modern’ West infected with various virulent strains of atomised and selfish individualism, cynical and ugly anti-idealism, and subverted by the worship of False Gods – from Allah to Money and on to Satan – there was never a time when a revival of the true Christian values of the original fighting Templars has been more urgently needed than today!

..

Taken this way, the phenomenon of chivalry represents a universal category, which is applicable in all circumstances, at all times and in all situations. Chivalry as a way of perceiving and affecting, both on the individual and social level, is more than necessary in the time we live in. In this sad time when all the civilization’s achievements are crumbling, in the time of great atomization of society and in the time of loss of meaning of any social or individual action.

.. The circumstance that had largely dealt the final blow to chivalry is the creation and development of the new socio-economic conditions, that have gradually replaced the feudal social structure, which was one of the main pillars of the chivalry caste. In economic terms, it was the development of capitalist economic relations and the strengthening of the bearers of these relations – the class of merchants. The principle of quality, as a social paradigm, was replaced by the principle of quantity. The concept of truth was replaced by the concept of wealth. All the aspects of society have become just a decor for the flow of capital.

.. The most significant and basic element of chivalry is the willingness to self-sacrifice. It is this element that is the fundamental demarcation line between the bourgeois, mercantilist view of the world and the chivalrous view of the world. The merchant always has, in the first place, on his mind an interest, a profit or a comfort. The knight always has, in the first place, on his mind the willingness to sacrifice. For the faith, for the crown, for an idea, for the state, for the master, for the weak… Never for any vulgar, profane or earthly goal. But instead, for an ideal, that to those with a mercantilist view seems very abstract and incomprehensible.

.. The willingness to sacrifice, places a knight in the realm of pure spirituality, as someone who has transcended the secular sphere of materialistic, cause and effect relationships. In addition, the willingness to sacrifice shows a knight’s willingness to overcome pride, which represents the greatest obstacle on the spiritual path. Also, what is especially important in our world, where materialism and hedonism are prevailing, is to overcome the temptation of material goods, which tend to hinder him. A knight always looks upon interest and benefit, the two sad achievements of the modern society, with contempt and indifference.

.. He could have accepted the vassal status of Serbia and avoided the war and defeat. Together with his nobles, Prince Lazar did not do this, but instead he chose self-sacrifice.

.. Lazar had not only the political or ethical dilemma, but rather a spiritual and metaphysical one, embodied in the choice between approaching God or Devil (synonyms: freedom or slavery, honor or dishonor, one’s own perception of truth or accepting the imposed). He had a choice between preserving integrity of the earthly existence, that is his own life, or preserving the spiritual integrity. He faced a temptation. His choice was the Lord.

.. Lazar’s sacrifice, in a sense, was similar to the sacrifice of the Christ himself.

.. “Death in the feat is better than the life with shame. It is better to die by the sword in the battle, than to kneel to the enemy. We lived enough for the people, so let us bear the feat of sacrifice, so that we may live forever in the heavens.

.. Spirituality is one ennobling factor that rises the knight above the ordinary soldier.

.. The organic model of civilization indicates something that was being created for some considerable period of time and is based on certain precise archetypes, that are constantly repeated throughout the ages. This may be a nation, a group of nations under the umbrella of a particular empire, or a group of nations under the umbrella of a common spiritual and cultural identity.

.. Traditionalism, as an ideological form, is contrary to the myth of progress that is typical of the society formed after the first bourgeois revolution in 1789. The myth of progress implies that things are constantly changing and improving from a less perfect state to a more perfect one.

.. From the Vedas to the Holy Scriptures, there is always a similar epilogue at the end of time – a gradual regression from a perfect to a less perfect form, until the final “endkampf” and the end of time.

.. The cult of ancestors, or respecting those who were here before us, is an element of traditionalism. The cult of ancestor veneration is an expression of our confrontation with our own egoism and pride, which are suggesting that everything before or after us does not matter.

.. Collectivism is a category opposite to the prevailing individualism of today. Individualism, as the legacy of bourgeois society, is nothing more than a hypertrophied egotism, which stems from pride.

.. Individualistic emphasis on ego and self-sufficiency has led to the fact that the individual in the contemporary social context is alienated – from others and from himself. Individualism, in addition to one’s alienation from the modern society, has led to a complete atomization of the society, in which it has lost all its meaning. All the paradigms of traditional society are reduced to the level of simulacrum, that is, to the level of a pale image of its original meaning.

.. An individual within the collective ceases to be proud, self-sufficient and exclusively occupied with his own gain and pleasure, but approaches the collective, with a desire to give something and not just take. He no longer takes himself first and foremost, but wants to sacrifice his own interests for the collective to which he belongs. He wants to obey the authority within the hierarchy as a natural state.

.. The starting point is that every individual is imperfect at the beginning, in the spiritual, intellectual and physical sense. The process of working on oneself, or self-discipline to which one willingly subjects oneself, leads to a better state of being.

.. Historically, it may be in the concept of chivalry, as an integral system of life and action, in which for the first time in European civilization, that we meet the synergy of simultaneous development of one’s own spirit, body and intellect.

.. Especially for those who need assistance or are under a threat.

A knight does not treat them with contempt, so typical for the relationship with the weak in the modern mercantilist society, but with love. The main expression of that love is compassion. The practical articulation of compassion is to protect and to serve. A knight always protects the one who is in danger, in distress or weak, and in this way, he serves them.