What’s a neutral way to explain hiatus in your startup’s development?

Say there was a static gap of ~1 year after soft launch where nothing happened.  Especially in case where it was caused by personal issue that you do not want to divulge or discuss publicly (eg sickness of family member, sickeness of cofounder, death in family, etc).  Others did not know there was a hiatus, they just assumed things were moving ok or slowly.

Would appreciate suggestions on how to address it on written applications and in person discussion, when you have to mention launch date or how long ago you’ve supposedly been working on it.

  • How about truthfully with no spin, instead of forcing people to read between the lines, assuming you are failing and not honest enough to come clean.

    Courage is actually facing the elephant in the room that you are pretending no one else knows and addressing said pachyderm head-on. The hardest failure to recover from is credibility.

    • I’m all for truthfulness but I like keeping my personal business private. Therefore, it isn’t about not facing the elephant in the room, but that I don’t like to reveal or discuss my personal issues in a public arena. Note I asked for a neutral way to explain, not necessarily a fantastic lie to cover up.

  • “It turned out that we needed a timeout, which of course slowed down our ongoing work. But this gave us time to regain power and gave our concept time to mature. Wait for good news!”

  • My advise is be brutally honest about it. You don't need to disclose details that you don't wish to share, but just give enough so that the person can relate. Just make sure it won't come across as a bunch of excuses. Chances are most people can relate because shit happens in life. And startup is damn hard. And if they can't relate or empathize, well then you don't need to care because they won't be a good match for you anyways for whatever relationship you are going for. So move on. The most important thing is to signal that you are trying your best to move forward and have a concrete plan doing so.

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