Economics/Class Relations

Startups’ hidden woes

November 15, 2023 • 5 min read
with Dan DeFrancesco
Halfway to the weekend! For much of the US, the cold weather is settling in and it’s getting darker earlier. Here’s some advice from a therapist on how to get through what can be a difficult time of year for many of us.

In today’s big story, a Business Insider reporter gives her unique perspective on navigating life as a startup founder’s wife.

What’s on deck:
But first, let’s talk this out.


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Josh Cochran for Insider
The big story
A founder’s other backer

The startup world is not for the faint of heart.


Long hours, stressful work, and layoffs are commonplace. And for your efforts, you’re more than likely to fail.


Still, tech entrepreneurs know what they’re signing up for. For most, it’s better to fail trying than to just be a cog in the wheel of a corporate giant.


But what about their significant others?

For many founders, there is a spouse or partner by their side. And while it’s not their dream, that doesn’t make navigating the heartache and turmoil any easier.


Business Insider’s Melia Russell knows those challenges all too well. In this fascinating essay, she details her life as a founder’s wife, watching from the sidelines as her husband’s company tries to stay afloat during an unprecedented time for startups.

Melia’s account of her relationship with Kyle and his startup is equal parts entertaining, heartwrenching, and informative. It also provides another perspective on the high-stress world of launching a company.

Josh Cochran for Insider
As if being a founder spouse wasn’t difficult enough, Melia has the bonus of covering the space as a reporter.


Imagine spending a good chunk of your workday researching and writing about all the things that can go wrong in an industry the person you love is endlessly pursuing. It’s like an emergency-room doctor marrying a stunt performer.


(To be sure, everything Melia writes isn’t doom and gloom.)


When I asked Melia about the piece, she said it was the hardest thing she’s ever written. But she found the process cathartic.


Working on the story forced her to have difficult but important conversations with Kyle, and address issues head-on she’s long fostered but rarely communicated.


That, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest takeaways Melia said she hopes other founders’ partners will get from the piece: communication is critical. And while that’s true of any relationship, it’s especially pertinent in the volatile startup ecosystem.


Bottling up those emotions to be a spouse’s “relentlessly positive cheerleader” can weigh on a person, Melia told me.


She also recommends finding people in similar situations. Being a founders’ partner is the type of thing that can only be understood by being a founders’ partner.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Melia told me she’s happy to chat. You can ping her here.

Read the full story
3 things in


🔔 Before the opening bell: US stock futures rise early Wednesday, after the House of Representatives passed a bill to avoid a government shutdown

Brandon Bell/Getty Images
1. Inflation cools off. The Consumer Price Index increased 3.2% on an annual basis, which was lower than expected and a smaller bump than September’s 3.7% increase. PIMCO’s former chief economist called it a “gamechanger,” and said the Fed’s next move will be to cut rates. Bank of America also seems optimistic the rate-hiking cycle is over, while Fundstrat’s Tom Lee said inflation might be finally hitting a wall.


2. What to expect when you’re expecting… a bonus. We’re a few months away from bonus season, where finance employees find out how big — or little — the discretionary part of their compensation is. One expert predicts another tough year, with exceptions in areas like equity underwriting and wealth management. Here’s a breakdown by division of what to expect.


3. While Wall Street’s titans worry about a world war, the market shrugs. Big names like Ray Dalio and Jamie Dimon have warned about the state of the world following Hamas’ attack on Israel. But the market seems unbothered, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both up since the October 7 attacks.


With expert-built portfolios, automatic rebalancing, and tax-smart tools to name a few, Betterment’s the investing app that puts your money to work and helps put your mind at ease. So you can be the totally chill investor you’ve always wanted to be.

Learn More
3 things in
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
1. Leaked doc: Amazon is blocking the promotion of employees who don’t comply with the company’s return-to-office policy. Those who aren’t going into the office at least three times a week will need a VP’s approval to get the proposed promotion, internal messages show. It’s the latest update to Amazon’s unusually contentious return-to-office process.


2. Google’s lawyer reportedly “visibly cringed” when a confidential metric was revealed in court. Apple and Google have both been fighting against revealing details of their search-engine agreement. But an expert witness accidentally leaked that Google hands over 36% of its Safari search ad revenue to Apple.


3. AI is going to force millions of workers to train for new jobs. The US has historically been terrible at this — just look at the loss of millions of US manufacturing jobs in the early 2000s. To avoid the same catastrophe, US companies need to make major retraining investments.

3 things in
Alexander Spatari
1. “Why NYC’s Airbnb ban is a slap in the face to people like me.” A New York City resident who rented their spare bedroom for years didn’t qualify for a license under the city’s new short-term-rental rules. Their finances now feel less secure, and finding guests has become more difficult.


2. A Q&A with the chief product officer at Discovery Education. Pete Weir dishes on how they’re testing and using AI. Weir said that the tech isn’t meant to replace teachers — it’s meant to augment them.


3. Meet the typical HENRY. The typical profile of a high earner, not rich yet is a 32-year-old with a college degree, six-figure income, and no kids. They also live in a city but have $80,000 in student-loan debt to pay off.


In other news



What’s happening today
  • The 16th annual Steve Irwin Day at the Australia Zoo is today. It celebrates the Crocodile Hunter’s life — he died in 2006 from a stingray attack.
  • Microsoft Ignite, an annual developer and IT professional conference, kicks off today. CEO Satya Nadella is expected to give a keynote related to AI.
  • Earnings today: Target, Cisco, and other companies.


Bolton Clarke
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The Insider Today team

Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

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