Entrepreneur

Welcome to the world of startup fan fiction – the anorexic edition

Editor’s note: We’re happy to publish this excerpt from a short story by Mike Frankel. Enjoy!

Day
 37: 
It’s 
been 
over a 
month 
since 
I’ve 
embarked 
on 
this 
masochistic 
lifestyle.
 My 
eyes 
are 
bloodshot, 
burned 
deep
 by 
my 
laptop’s 
searing 
glow.
 The 
floor 
is 
littered
 with
 streaked 
coffee 
cups 
and 
half‐smoked 
cigarettes. 
A
 late 
rent 
notice 
is 
buried
 somewhere
 under the mess,
 along 
with 
other 
forgotten
 responsibilities.
 My
 hoodie 
and
 jeans 
uniform
 has 
grown 
roots 
to 
my 
skin,
 and 
I
 have 
completely 
abandoned 
proper
 hygiene.

Let 
me 
explain 
how
 I’ve 
transformed 
into 
such 
a 
creature. 
I 
was 
fired 
a 
few
 weeks 
ago 
from 
my
 IT 
job. 
I
 worked 
at 
a 
law 
firm, 
helping inept attorneys open 
their 
emails 
and 
print 
documents. 
My
 spotty 
attendance 
was 
the 
problem 
– apparently 
you
 have 
to 
show 
up 
every
 day 
when 
you’re 
working
 with 
people 
who
 wear 
suits.
 Honestly,
 I
 was
 quite
 relieved 
by
 the 
axe. 
It 
was
 an opportunity 
to 
do 
what
 every 
unemployed
 programmer 
does: 
burrow
 in 
a 
dark 
corner 
and 
build 
an 
iPhone 
app.

The 
first 
ten
 days
 were 
full 
of 
distractions.
  On 
day
 11,
 I 
blocked
 Reddit 
and
 Facebook
 from 
my 
browser,
 instantly 
tripling 
my 
productivity. 
Since 
then, 
I’ve wired 
in,
 spending 
day
 and
 night 
filling 
my
 computer
 screen 
with 
lines 
of 
code. The
 unanswered
 calls, 
texts, 
and 
emails 
have
 accumulated.
 My 
minimal 
costs 
(cheap
 server
 space, over‐priced
 caffeine) 
have 
been 
funded
 by 
unemployment 
checks,
 and
 I’ve 
done 
everything
 myself
 –
 the 
algorithms, 
the
 user 
experience, 
and
 
the
 marketing
 strategy. 
Forget 
lean.
 This 
is 
an 
anorexic
 startup.

So 
here
 I 
am, 
37 
days 
in.
 Today 
was 
dedicated 
to 
tweaking. 
After 
squashing 
a
 pesky 
bug 
in 
the 
image‐mapping
 code,
 my
 app
 is 
fully 
functional,
 and 
looks 
decent enough 
for 
Apple’s 
App
 Store.
 There’s 
definitely 
room
 for
 improvement, 
but 
I’ll 
be 
100 percent
 broke 
in 
three 
weeks,
 and
 should 
probably 
find 
a 
job 
at 
this 
point. 
I’m
 tired 
and
 delirious.
 This 
thing 
just 
needs 
to 
get 
out 
of 
my 
life. 
Here,
 Apple, 
just 
take 
it. 
Submit.
 Done.

Mike Frankel is a student at Columbia Business School. When he’s not busy crunching numbers, he runs Melted In Marketing, a digital strategy consulting service. He also runs FreeIndie.Com, a free music website. You can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook. Check out how the story ends at theanorexicstartup.com.


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