Is a dream driving your startup? I once saw research that identified “dreaming of success” as one of the common traits of entrepreneurs.

And success for the startup, the pinnacle of success to most, is that moment of going public. Known as the IPO, for initial public offering, that’s when shares go on one of the main markets and founders are suddenly worth a lot of money.

If you want to dream about your own startup, you’ll probably want to read about NetSuite going public and what that means for founder Evan Goldberg, in a story by Laurie Flynn, Going Public Caps Dream for a Maker of Software, in today’s New York Times.

NetSuite plans to start selling shares to the public this week, most likely Thursday, in hopes of raising close to $100 million. It is one of the most anticipated public offerings coming out of Silicon Valley…

Much as I feel obligated to caution startups about the risks, and much as I like to help with the planning, to make it realistic, there is also something to be said for sharing the big moments. Like this one:

If the initial public offering for NetSuite shares goes as planned later this week, Evan Goldberg will have come a long way from the overcrowded Silicon Valley apartment that served as the company’s first office nearly 10 years ago.

At that time, Mr. Goldberg, a former programmer at Oracle, was struggling with the business model for his first startup, a stalled multimedia software company. Then came a game-changing phone call from the chief executive of Oracle, Larry Ellison, his financial backer. Mr. Ellison suggested that the future of Mr. Goldberg’s company might just be in a new approach to accounting software. Luckily for Mr. Goldberg, he took the advice.

I wish the story had included how much money Evan Goldberg’s shares will be worth. I’ve Googled a bit and found out that Oracle founder and chief NetSuite backer Larry Ellison will be about $66 million richer if the IPO day goes as planned. Actually, there are probably public documents filed with the SEC that list Goldberg’s share; but it doesn’t matter that much. It’s always a big day.

And, turning back to you and your startup, if it’s a dream that’s driving you, please drive carefully. The big day, the IPO, is meant to be truly the day the dream is realized. Suddenly, all the work becomes all the money. And you don’t want the irony of the the IPO day for Eagle Computer founder Dennis Barnhart. Wikipedia explains:

On June 8, 1983, the day of Eagle’s initial public offering, its president, Dennis Barnhart, was killed in a crash of his new Ferrari, leaving the company suddenly leaderless. (He had just taken a yacht salesman to lunch.)

Drive carefully.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.