The Struggle: For Solo and Small Firms

By on June 26, 2012 in Continuing Education, Recommendations

Sometimes I will read a blog post and just sit back and say, “wow.”  It’s typically a post that speaks to something I have experienced.  That’s the beauty of the modern Web:  It allows me to listen to people (through tweets, blogs, podcasts, Q&A, etc.) whose life experiences overlap with mine and, as a consequence, they can offer me advice that is grounded in my reality.

The latest “wow” blog post for me was “The Struggle” by Ben Horowitz of the VC firm Andreessen Horowtiz.  It speaks of the struggles that entrepreneurs go through in starting a business, and I have personally felt so many of the things to which Ben’s post speaks.

And, then I got to thinking . . .  So many solo and small firm lawyers who have been bold enough to start their own firms are feeling these things as well – right now.  They think they are they only one and they should understand they are not.

So, I offer “The Struggle” to the Lawyernomics readers as a reminder that the truly entrepreneurial are few and far between.  Why?  Because starting your business is incredibly hard – jarringly hard – but, if you succeed, nothing is sweeter.

As my former boss and current Avvo Board Member, Rich Barton, said to me shortly after Avvo launched (and we were sued in a proposed class action), “If it’s not scary; it’s probably not important.”  Since that day, I have often thought – especially when I’m in the middle of “The Struggle — “Well Avvo must be pretty *$+x# important.”


The Struggle:

The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place.

The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer.

The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right.

The Struggle is when food loses its taste.

                                                                                ….. read more


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Mark Britton


Mark Britton is the Founder and CEO of Avvo.

Prior to founding Avvo, Mark was the executive vice president of Worldwide Corporate Affairs of InterActiveCorp Travel (IACT) and Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE). In this position, Mark oversaw all finance, strategy, corporate development, legal, human resources and government relations functions for the IACT companies, including Expedia,, Hotwire, Classic Custom Vacations and Interval International. He was also Expedia's first General Counsel.

Prior to joining Expedia, Mark was an attorney and equity partner-elect of the law firm Preston, Gates & Ellis LLP (now K&L Gates). In addition to Preston Gates, Mark practiced law in a small and medium-sized law firm and served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Today, Mark serves on the Board of Directors of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: OWW).

Through his work with Avvo, Expedia and Orbitz, Mark has been a central figure at the intersection of the Internet and professional services for over a decade. Mark's passion for helping consumers make better choices regarding legal professionals led to him being named one of Seattle's "Top 25 Innovators" by Seattle Business Magazine in 2007. Mark is also a frequent commentator on consumer issues, regularly appearing on programs such as ABC's Good Morning America, Fox Business' "America's Nightly Scoreboard," CNBC's "Power Lunch," CNN Money and Dow Jones MarketWatch.

Mark received his law degree from George Washington University. He holds a degree in finance from Gonzaga University and serves on Gonzaga's Board of Regents.

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