Startups Anonymous: Happy New Year and up yours, haters!
[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.]
"Your track record is HORRIBLE!! It's like you are trying to harvest everyone's data. I wish you luck but you've become a massive joke among everyone. Next you will be selling male thongs. Be sure to post a picture of yourself in it! You could make it a Christmas card with the sausage in your hands too."
The lovely note above was sent to me in the form of an email recently from a ... ahem ... (disgruntled) former user of my product. That was a day before Christmas. Awesome.
As someone who has taken a beating or two and had my fair share of "disgruntled" emails, I've grown somewhat accustomed to the savagery. I've even convinced myself that having "haters" means that I'm on the right track. In other words, I'm willing to take the occasional hit below the belt in order to keep the debate alive. Debate breeds discussion, discussion breeds exposure. And that, my friends, is the name of the game.
Just because I take the beating, it doesn't mean I don't want to fight back. I do — really badly. I'd love to throw my gloves off and go toe-to-toe with these fuckers. I am human after all and what these people say does get through.
But, I don't. In most cases I just let it go. I don't respond at all. I think about what my mom would say – "they're just jealous" – and move on with my day. Sometimes I'll feed the beast for fun and say super nice things in response, hoping they'll feel like shit. It also helps that for every one hater, there are probably five to ten supporters that say something nice. (Thank you, nice people.)
If you're a founder, artist, author, journalist, public figure, celebrity, etc., you're going to have naysayers, trolls and haters. It's a fact. If you're bold enough to express your thoughts, they'll shoot down your ideas. If you have any measure of success, they'll say you haven't amounted to shit. This is the cost of entry to the world of putting yourself out there.
But not today. It's the start of a new year and I’ve got something to say. Today I want to tell all of you naysayers to take your piss poor attitudes, snarky comments and uninformed opinions and shove them up your uptight ass.
While you're working on that, I'm going to continue on taking chances and kicking ass.
While you sit on your high-horse spewing the gospel of your trollish leader, I’ll be on the high road passing you by. By the time you come to realize that you’ve accomplished nothing and spent your entire life tearing apart everyone’s accomplishments, you’ll be long forgotten.
You may think that you’ve gotten me to nibble on your bait. It may amuse your psychopathic mind that I care enough about your opinion to respond.
The truth is, I’ve used you. I’ve taken your bait without biting the hook and have grown into a big ass fish. I’ve used you as motivation. I’ve even egged you on.
So, as you’re reflecting on what you didn’t accomplish this year, know that, thanks in part to you, I’ve had a great year.
Thank you, Happy New Year and up yours, hater.
“Be careful whose toes you step on today, they might be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”
[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]