Not enough is shared about acquihires by the startup community. I know because I’ve searched, having gone (going?) through one myself.
I get it. You are most emotional and want to write about it when it’s fresh. But you remain tight-lipped for a slew of reasons (you’re unsure what’s allowed to be said, uncertain if you have accurate information, fearful of jeopardizing anything with your new team or employment package, uncertain about how to accurately label your outcome, concerned about your image, feeling survivorship guilt, etc.). So you wait. And eventually, you’re less emotional. You mentally move on.
This is where I find myself today. But I want to share some thoughts for other acqui-hired startup employees who find themselves here in the future.
Find comfort in knowing others have been there, will go there, and feel exactly as you feel. It’s a roller coaster for everyone involved.
On the one hand, you’re disappointed about 200 different things. You likely experienced an abrupt, radical 180. Your future outlook, current workload, and team change entirely overnight. It can be mind-blowing. But on the other hand, you’re incredibly thankful. Especially when you step back and compare yourself to others in the world. You have a job. You potentially have a generous retention package. You potentially have a bright, new future ahead of you, albeit a different one than you pictured for so long. You’re confused as you process everything, which is understandable given how much change is taking place.
Here’s content that helps me process the situation:
- https://changelog.com/founderstalk/53 – A FoundersTalk podcast episode (hosted by Adam Stacoviak) featuring Danielle Morrill, who was the CEO of Mattermark (acquired by FullContact). She’s now a GM at GitLab. I listened to this episode a hand full of times this past year and probably will again in the future.
- How the Digg team was acquihired & How to navigate and/or survive your acquihire – 2 blog posts by Will Larson, who has since worked at Uber & Stripe.
I can finally feel myself mentally moving forward. It took a while, and everyone processes these things differently. I haven’t felt that fire or excitement about work and potential future work in a long time. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I have. But with a different mindset and drive than in the past. I haven’t been ‘myself.’ But it finally feels like I’m turning a corner. It feels like I’m beginning to find my mojo again, and all it took was time and some life changes.
As for Blispay, I’ll forever miss working out of the house when it was just 8 of us.
I’ll miss the excitement of establishing initial routines and operations; setting up things like Slack, and adding everyone to it.
I’ll miss the excitement of writing our first funding announcement blog post and being added to the portfolio of amazing venture firms.
I’ll miss the thrill of getting ready to first release Blispay to the world, which we were quietly working soo hard on.
I’ll miss unexpectedly spreading like wildfire on MyFico forums and trying to ignore the noise.
I’ll miss being talked about as a contender to great, great companies.
I’ll miss working hard to recruit previous colleagues and the enthusiasm amongst the team when they joined.
I’ll miss the customer feedback in NPS surveys and on Twitter.
I’ll miss the genuine pride both of my late in-laws expressed as they used Blispay every single day.
I’ll miss being alerted of a significant, new inbound prospect on a random Friday evening.
I’ll miss the uncertainty of not knowing how to best do something but working tirelessly to figure something out that’s good enough and moving onto the next hottest thing.
I’ll miss seeing many of my friends every day, who have since moved on to continue their careers elsewhere.
I’ll miss working with an incredibly talented, cross-functional, collaborative team.
I’ll miss knowing how big Blispay could have been if we could have kept going.
I’ll probably always miss these things.
And there are also a lot of things I won’t miss 😊.
Please share your acquihire story or any helpful content on the topic. I’d love to add more quality references to this post for future readers.