Startups Anonymous: The startup world is one big hoax
[This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we'll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.]
How often would you want to hang around the following:
A bunch of washed up late-20′s to mid-30 year old sales, marketing, manager types that couldn’t climb the corporate ladder so took to something “cool enough” that if they failed (which they will) it doesn’t matter much anyway to them. Oh, and they’re experts.
Lots of late-30's to late-60 year olds who think socking a few dollars once in their life into some random failed business makes them qualified to talk about investing.
And then the aloof snob with an overly smart watch to match his overly smart T-shirt that enjoys the supremacy of a demigod and tries to mirror it around those that lap him up as such for the five seconds they get to make eye contact and to pitch their latest and greatest.
And it gets better!
Now imagine getting on the mailing list where you get awesome invites to these cool conferences and you go and you see the stale sales person next to the aloof demigod on stage sounding like experts and you’re sitting next to the bumbling professional who is laughing at the jokes that are so niche they make zero (and I mean zero) sense.
And you look around. It’s all a big hoax.
The room and the topics are all a makeshift facade of emptiness. The lines of lies get spoken from anything but experts, and they get repeated and passed along by so called "journos" as gospel. The hurrahs and big belly laughs are embarrassing and spin out of control and everyone thinks they’re smart. Everyone.
This is the world of Startups. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the US or Brazil; all of these environments bring together some pretty useless hipster type people who had zero stamina to make it in the real world and instead spend the next one to five years filling in the space with weak conversation and essentially creating a big pile of wasted space.
Good luck walking through that mess.
Ultimately, if in the end you still want to be in startup land, stay away from these crowds and the big hoax. I promise it’s depressing and not worth your energy. Focus on your customers and your business. Don’t worry about raising money and just worry about generating revenue.
Hanging out with other entrepreneurs or so called investors or VCs isn’t going to make you a better entrepreneur. Go and hang out with your family and friends. They are the better judge as they will bring you practical advice that’s more holistic to your well being then the regurgitated flavor of the day.
And if you made it and your business is really making it, then pay it forward by not surrounding yourself with the pack of wash ups. Instead stay away from that group and mentor sparingly; maybe to students in high school or college during career day. And remind them of the big hoax.