From Bubble to Bubble

Sahil Lavingia
9 min readFeb 7, 2018

This story is now available directly on my website: — I’d prefer you read it there!

A year ago, I lived in San Francisco. I spent over $2,000 a month for one bedroom in a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission District. Outside of working on my startup, I devoured books on my Kindle and brooded with my fellow liberals about Trump and the GOP on Twitter. Most everyone I knew was agnostic.

I had my whole life planned out. Decades of startups, at least one of which would hit it big. A retirement full of vapid, but pithy tweets.

Today, I live in Provo, the most conservative (and religious) city over 100,000 people in America. I live in a one-bedroom apartment that costs $800 a month. I no longer tweet as much, and especially not about politics. A majority of my friends, including my girlfriend, are religious, and most of them are conservative. I go to church every Sunday.

What changed?

A quarter-life crisis

In 2014, I was the founder of a 20-person VC-backed startup called Gumroad that helps creators of all stripes sell their work.

In 2015, I had to lay off over half of the company. Our growth wasn’t reaching the 20%-a-month we needed to raise the funding we required to grow at the same, aggressive pace. I decided to pivot the company towards a sustainable business model. That meant nixing the office and having to let many of my friends go. It was the right decision — we attained…