I just got blocked from r/startups...

I just posted on r/startups about some of the craziest things I've done over the years to make things work at PeopleFish (my startup).

Worked through many nights. Worked from the hospital. Worked on vacation. Worked from the passenger seat for several hours straight while road-tripping across the country.

They blocked my post for promoting "martyr culture."

In particular, they didn't like that I worked from the hospital the night my daughter was born.

"That's a HUGE red flag," they said.

Yes, I sent some emails that night while her and my wife slept. And I fixed my website, which had updated and glitched out earlier that day. I didn't want to do it, but leaving my two biggest clients in the dark and my website inoperable for days just wasn't an option. Sorry.

No, I wouldn't have to do this if my daughter were born today. Because PeopleFish is a steady, growing company. I can take time off.

But what did it take to get to this point?

A lot of hard work, that's what. Working smarter and harder.

Work-life balance is important. But it's not something you have to achieve every single day, or even every single week. And no, working really, really hard isn't "martyr" culture if you're telling a true story and being honest about whether it was worth it.

At the beginning of a startup, you're going to feel swamped. Pretty much constantly. You're going to work almost constantly.

And that's fine. It's a big price to pay, yes. But with the right mindset, you'll get through it. You'll come out the other side a far better, stronger, and more confident person than you were before.

There are no shortcuts.

(And no, working really, really hard isn't automatically martyr culture. I think it's helpful for startup founders to be able to discuss these things in the open -- to get honest feedback, and to reminded that we're not alone.)

  1. 9

    Reddit's culture is a combo of toxic and inscrutable.

  2. 8

    Reddit is one of the worst places on the internet

    1. 6

      ...and it's one of the best. Depending on sub. It's like a blind date - you get extremely bad experiences, but also a chance for a jackopt.

    2. 2

      In some ways, yes. But most of that simply has to do with the anonymity people have on Reddit.

      That's changing, for better or worse. More people on Reddit are using their real name on their profile (like me), which changes the whole tone of the site.

  3. 5

    As a mod myself of Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/SaaS/) I can tell you straight-up: r/Startups mods (one in particular at least, the most active one) are just not it

    1. 3

      That Gary guy right? It's hilarious that so many of his mod comments are downvoted to hell. People disapprove of him and yet he's still a mod.

      1. 3

        Yep, that's the one. He went on to troll other of my posts in other subs, using profanity to describe my startup.

  4. 4

    The Reddit community can be hard and most toxic. Don't take it personally, they don't know you, so they can't judge you.

    Stay strong and don't give up on Reddit. Just ignore them.

    1. 2

      Oh, I haven't given up on Reddit! r/entrepreneur has a strong community, and I'm a huge fan of the super-niche subs on various subjects related to my specific industry.

  5. 3

    Congratulations @NickFreiling!

    You have now received your 'Reddit r/startups is Shite' certificate.

    This certificate hereby permits you to no longer have to spend a minute more of your life pointlessly sat reading reams of crap.

    You no longer need to spend 2 minutes writing a post, then 3 hours editing it to make sure there is no self-promotion or other gobbits of usefulness.

    Welcome back to your life.

  6. 3

    To be extra ordinary requires that you’re not ordinary, and you will get drug down by ordinary people in entrepreneurship who have never achieved the life they try to preach.

    1. 4

      Side note: I launched my startup that made millions from the hospital room of one of my kid’s birth.

  7. 2

    Reddit sucks for these types of reasons. Everyone throws around labels.

  8. 2

    great post.

    No, I wouldn't have to do this if my daughter were born today. Because PeopleFish is a steady, growing company. I can take time off.

    this reminds me of a recent post from rand fishkin that argues for "chill work" over "hustle culture." the elephant in the room, it seems to me, is that you don't get to chill until you've created a stable living for yourself. it's one of the important risks you take on when you trade a full-time job for running your own business.

    1. 2

      Great point.

      It's a balancing act, for sure. Always will be.

      I suppose all I can endorse with confidence is my own story. Took ~4 years of "hustle" (for me, that means working ~60 hrs/week, often late into the night) to get to a point where, now, most of my "work" is doing things to grow my business -- things I don't have to do, but want to do.

      I do think I'm more productive these days, being more careful about how I spend my time. But it took a very different mindset for me to get here. Maybe that doesn't have to be true for everyone...

  9. 2

    matyr culture? this is the first time i even heard of this term. too many snowflakes nowadays. stay strong nick

  10. 2

    As an owner you did what is necessary and expected of you for your business and in-directly your family.

    If you are promoting and expecting the same level of commitment from your employees I agree with the "martyr culture" stamp.

    1. 2


      I definitely don't expect that of people who work for me. I have a strict no-off-hours policy -- if something isn't done by end of the business day, it just has to wait until tomorrow.

      It's almost never happened that a client didn't understand this policy.

  11. 2

    r/startups seems to be very unpredictable - sometimes they are allowing posts, that should never be there, other times banning quality posts for "reasons". Seems like some of the mod decisions are based on ego and phases of the moon.
    It's worth a try, definitely not worth expecting anything from it.

    You should post the post here! IH is predictable and reasonable.

    1. 2

      I am starting to post here a lot more. I love it!

      And yes, r/startups is a mess. r/entrepreneur is much better.

      1. 2

        While I think r/entrepreneur is much better (still, a bit unpredictable though), I also like r/EntrepreneurRideAlong , r/InternetIsBeautiful/ , r/SideProject :)

  12. 2

    Completely agree "martyr culture" is awful but what you did sounds like the equivalent of being on Instagram while your daughter and wife slept. Like others have mentioned Reddit is strange...

  13. 2

    Yeah, reddit is a funny beast😁If I had a nickle for every blocked post😁

  14. 2

    Bummer! Sorry to hear that.

  15. 1

    There's always going to be haters.... Don't let them drag you down.

    You know in your heart what is right and what is wrong.

    And you are correct. Insanely hard work is necessary to get a startup off the ground.

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