It is after a long reflection that I decided to put into words the difficulties I have been experiencing lately and the impact this situation has on Kartus. This decision is supported by the fact that I want to help other people who may be experiencing certain difficulties and also for the sake of transparency that I am looking back on my last months.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction among our customers about the delivery times of Kartus chairs. This sentiment is entirely justified; or in part, at least. Some members of our community are also disappointed with the lack of support I offer them compared to previous years. I understand it well, perhaps too well. These reactions cause me a great sense of shame, because I have always taken great pride to deliver on my promises.
Last year had already been very difficult. The absence of events and the pandemic context played a major role in my motivation to continue my work. It made me realize how much I need to share the smiles that an activity with Kartus brings. To share it and to live it. To divert a well-known expression: “out of sight, out of heart (sic)”. I remind you that although the Kartus stroller is a product of which I am proud, the fact remains that my vision of the product can be simplified to this: the stroller manifests a context for connecting human beings. It is simply a pretext to do a meaningful activity together. At the dawn of spring and summer, I realize that it is precisely this gathering that I have been missing for two years now.
The situation described leads me to speak of isolation. What I find ironic right now is that I founded a company with a mission to break isolation when I myself constantly live in that isolation. At home and at work. Although generally stoic, I must admit that the winter was very difficult. This isolation led me into a slump from which it was very difficult for me to get rid of. If we juxtapose the dissatisfaction of customers (which affects me a lot), the messages of the "grind mentality"1 that I listen to to find motivation and the pressure that I impose on myself, it inevitably leads to an endless whirlwind , and which feeds constantly. A great darkness.
Faced with this situation, immobility took over. What's weird about it is that I've always been aware of it. I lived with a huge sense of shame for not living up to the community and not being able to fulfill the implicit promise made between Kartus users (present and future) and me. To have worked so hard to make a difference, to achieve it and then to breakdown and not be able to continue - temporarily - brings a feeling of disappointment that is hard to express.
I am not writing these lines to pose as a victim, it is even difficult for me to accept help from my loved ones. On the other hand, I believe that the community had to know what is happening “behind”. This is also the life of a startup. A company is, in a way, the materialization of the personality of the founders and their values. In the same way that its operation is also intimately linked to the people behind it.
To secure the readers, know that I am very well surrounded. The people around me are exceptional people, both for their listening, their help and their advice. A very special mention to a very close friend working in the restaurant world who is a constant source of inspiration. Despite this support, I believe that there are certain paths that one can only walk alone. After the rain comes the good weather, as they say.
Finally, I want to reassure the community: production has indeed started again and I'm fine. I take this opportunity to say how important it is to take care of our entrepreneurs. Startups and SMEs are important players for the well-being of our economy and our society. Let's be sensitive to their reality, which is very different from the McDonalds or Wal-Marts of this world. And, although it has been written many times, let's try to put aside the model of the superhero that we affix to entrepreneurs. Moreover, it is more than important to continue our efforts to break isolation in all its forms, whether of people with reduced mobility or not.
The man in the arena, Theodore Roosevelt
« It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. »
1. For those who don't know the "grind mentality", it comes from public figures like Gary V or David Goggins who promote relentlessness at all costs. Although I personally subscribe to this vision in certain contexts, I also see that there is a limit to it. There is often a comparison between entrepreneurship and sport. However, this analogy has its limits and can even lead to negative consequences, such as accentuating the feeling of shame already present.