The Frinzee Story
Our Technical Founder Coughed Up Blood
We were at the tail end of a front end redesign that turned into a very long and nightmarish rebuild. Then, just to test our resolve, we got a very poignant demonstration of Murphy’s Law. Our technical founder came down with an unknown disease. Without warning, Lee — our Technical Founder and Lead Developer — coughed up a significant amount of blood and was rushed to the ER. From a hospital in NYC, he emailed the team.
The doctor’s ran a battery of tests but couldn’t find the cause for his massive hemoptysis and blood loss. Chest surgery was being considered. We held our breath, hoping he wouldn’t die.
Thankfully, during the days he was under observation, he didn’t throw up more blood. Surgery to remove parts of his lung or to embolize one of the 2 arteries leading into his lungs was, therefore, no longer needed. Unfortunately, even House-esque doctors in NYC, who could diagnose rare diseases stemming from exposure to 911 debris, couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause or trigger of Lee’s condition. He was sent home after a few days. He tried to remain optimistic.
I’m down about 2 pints of blood that filled up my lungs and that I spit out, so I’m still recovering. I have around 20 holes in my arms from IVs and blood tests, a severe rash due to an allergic reaction to moxifloxacin, and a sore throat and chest from a bronchoscopy. At least I didn’t have any invasive surgeries performed on me.
After everything he went through, Lee understandably feared for his life. We all did. Frighteningly, all the doctors could tell him was that he could have another episode at any time which, if severe enough, could kill him. Without knowing what the cause was, anything and everything could be a trigger.
He needed to rest. We kept things off his plate until he was ready to get back to work. That was all we could do for him. And, about 2 weeks after the incident, he told the team that he needed to find a “real” job. A job with health insurance to help pay for more tests and, if it happens, again, hospitalization and maybe surgery. As a bootstrapped startup — barely able to provide him with a livable stipend — we knew he had to go.
Lee is a brilliant programmer, so finding a job didn’t take long at all. To his credit, he still finished his assigned tasks to complete the last phase of the redesign AND he even finished the Frinzee Widget (not live), our first major post-redesign development milestone for which he still hasn’t gotten paid. (Sorry about that Lee.)
Lee remains a co-founder of frinzee.com. And he’ll always be a part of our team. We’re hoping one day to be able to have the funding to bring him back on board. But, for now, he acts as a technical advisor for frinzee. And we’re still hoping he’ll never cough up blood, again.
Our vision remains the same: Build the world’s central destination and application for discovering and sharing opinions. We’ve got a lot of neat things in our product plan and development pipeline. But to realize them, we need funding and a lead developer who shares our vision, passion and who fits our team dynamic.
In the next chapter of The Frinzee Story, I plan to talk about our product, funding issue, and other subjects.
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