Strikes and Gutters

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Among my friends in college, a frequent response to the question, “How’s it going?” was “Strikes and gutters.” In other words, really well and really poorly - at the same time.

Five years into the venture business, I think that expression is much better suited to the day-to-day swings a startup experiences than the life of a college student.

It’s hard to imagine these two diametric feelings at the same time, but for entrepreneurs it’s a daily occurrence. Launch a new great product feature but lose a big customer. Grow really fast but struggle with fund raising. Get a lot of great press but fire an under-performer.

At the beginning of most startups, there are more gutters than strikes, more down days than up days. And over the life of the startup, each day presents an opportunity to start changing the ratio from mostly gutters and one or two strikes, to one strike per gutter and so on.

Hard work, smart thinking and perseverance can win you that perfect game. Keep your head up after a few gutter balls. And celebrate your strikes. The most important part of the journey is to relentlessly pursue those pins.

Published 2013-03-11 in


I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


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