Getting acquired was the most stressful time of my life

The GitHub acquisition of Spectrum was the most stressful time of my life. I am generally a calm person and rarely let work tension affect me, however I had a lot of sleepless nights during that process.

Our entire future depended on this working out. We were at the end of the road.

Get acquired by GitHub… or die.

There were seemingly infinite questions about the company, the product, the people, the metrics, the users, the code, the architecture, the services. We obsessed over every single answer, as any one of them could have been a dealbreaker. (I say “we” but really Bryn and Brian handled most of it)

I felt like I was a fraud for how bad Spectrum was technically (Tech Choices I Regret at Spectrum) and feared I might end up being the reason the acquisition falls through.

Even if the acquisition would go through, would GitHub value the product and the communities using it like we do? Would we be able to champion it internally?

It felt like nothing mattered and we were in the hands of fate. I had no motivation to work on anything. My brain was spinning every night with doubts and fears and I slept worse than I ever have.

This kept going for months.

Until one day I had an email in my inbox with the acquisition contract. The relief I felt when we signed it was indescribable. A mountain was lifted off my shoulders.

For a great portrayal of the feelings you go through when being acquired, I’d highly recommend listening to the “Exit” season of the StartUp podcast. I listened to it and it viscerally describes the same feelings I went through.