Founder or Parent?

About 5 months after we closed our initial funding for Torch, my second daughter was born. It couldn’t have gone better. My wife was a champion and delivered a perfect miniature human being; our 2 year old welcomed her new sister into our family with love and hugs; the dog remained oblivious to the “little people” in his house; and my Torch co-founders were amazing, offering me all the time I wanted to be with my growing family.

Problem is, Torch, the company our amazing team is so desperately trying to bring to life, couldn’t have cared less about my family’s needs. You see, a startup has a will unto itself. A consciousness. A soul. And when you’re trying to build a startup, the rest of the world fades just a little bit into the background.

The planned 4 weeks of paternity leave lasted all of 36 hours. Not because the team couldn’t get by without me. But because Torch is a crying infant of a company, replete with midnight feedings and absolutely no concern for anything or anyone else.

I’ve been preaching, nay, annoying the crap out of every startup I’ve been around for years as a VC about how “startups are like kids and co-founders are like parents.” I believe that now more than ever. And I’m living it. I’m living the incessant anxiety ridden life of a start up founder. And the powerless, hopelessly in love, desperate to protect and provide for role of a new father.

And honestly, I think it makes me a better parent and a better founder. Lack of time forces you to prioritize and be decisive. Being a good founder and a good parent both require you to let go of your ego and to put other needs ahead of your own in ways nothing else can. As a person whose ego has gotten in my way more than anything else in my career, this current framework is forcibly unlocking things that have been hidden for too long.

Oh, and the fact that Torch is a parent tech company just makes it that much easier. I’ll sleep when I’m dead, but in the meantime, we’re gonna take a swing at changing the world so that the internet is truly a wonderful and safe place for all our kids to grow up.

*This post was written by Jack Studer for the Torch community of parents.