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Killing it – an original Spotify podcast

Announcing a new Spotify original podcast on mental health in the world of tech startups.

There’s a dangerous culture of the startup ecosystem. A culture that glorifies the 0.1%, whilst the remaining 99.9% sprint around the hamster wheel trying to keep up. A culture where the line between perception and reality is blurred. A culture where ambitious individuals strive to reach dizzying heights, at any cost.

The always “on” mentality, the relentless positivity, the fear, the bravado and the toxic macho-ness all mix together in a melting pot with sprinklings of venture capital, stock options and financial insecurity.

“We’re killing it” has become a famous line in the startup world, because of course everyone is killing it, because everyone in the startup world is pitching- pitching for investment, for sales and for status.

Yet, in recent times; “killing it” has grown in substance — anyone who claims to be “killing it” secretly knows they’re not, or if they are, they know they won’t be for long.

Anyone who hears someone say they’re “killing it” has a hint that they’re not really, and it’s a brave face.

There’s a secret that a lot of people are holding onto.

Nobody is killing it.

Yet, there’s a darker side too. In the desperate attempt to “kill it”, people are killing themselves in the process. Burnout, depression, anxiety, stress and suicide are very real issues in the startup world and beyond.

This burning desire to raise that next investment round, hit that next milestone or build another “unicorn” is having a dangerous impact on the collective mental health of individuals within the startup community.

Still, conversations around this are hushed and behind closed doors, they’re not out in the open.

Until now.

For two years with Sanctus we’ve been working tirelessly to make mental health accessible and mainstream for everyone.

Now, we’ve teamed up with Spotify to focus explicitly on mental health in the startup world with a brand new podcast, called (you guessed it) “Killing it”

Killing it sheds light on the stories that you never hear. The ups and downs of startup life, with a focus on the ups and downs on an individual’s mental health.

Season 1 is a 6 part series with some juggernauts of the UK startup scene; notably, Alex Depledge ( &, Michael Acton Smith, Moshi Monsters & Calm) and Tom Foster-Carter (Monzo).

The show is hosted veteran tech journalist Aleks Krotoski, with me as the segway into the startup world and Petra Velzeboer as the therapist who delves into people’s stories.

Sanctus is the mental health partner, providing a space online for people to join in the conversation.

Many of the guests are seemingly killing it, or they have killed it — yet what this podcast shows is that it’s not always as it seems — in fact it never is.

We all have mental health and the most “successful” entrepreneurs have had their fair share of breakdowns and burnouts. In fact, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones managing their own psychology right now (Hard Thing about Hard Things).

Episode 1 is Alex Depledge, if anyone has killed it in the UK startup scene it’s her, but this episode tells the real story behind all the headlines.

Everyone, outside of startups included, needs to realise that nobody is killing it, nobody is “fine” or “not bad”. We’re all human, we all have mental health and that message needs to be shared.

Kudos to Spotify and most notably, Rob Fitzpatrick, for putting their brand and their resources behind this message.