“They’re all whimsical and unique in exactly the same way”
Paul Constant captures a vivid image of all that is wrong with the startup culture today. He lambasts their linguistic sadism that manifests itself in clumsy startup names and a vocabulary littered with obscure acronyms, cliches and startup-speak. His is the rant of a writer, but it would touch a raw nerve among startup founders sick of the pretentious, ‘change-the-world’ crap that passes for startup culture.
I know I’m not the only one who feels a little unnerved when companies that don’t have a penny in profit raise millions of dollars. What’s worse is that such companies are paraded as ideal companies to impressionable young entrepreneurs. Businesses are meant to make money. It’s a shitty business that can attract an audience of millions but can’t make a penny off them.
Sadly, that’s what passes for ‘startup’ these days.
Paul Constant’s rant was directed at a group of entrepreneurs who had gathered in Seattle for an ‘American Idol for Startups’ event. There are a lot of things wrong with any event that dubs itself an American Idol for entrepreneurs. There are many more things wrong with an entrepreneur who would attend such an event. Entrepreneurs should be building businesses and landing customers, not peacocking on stage with giant name tags around their necks hoping for a chance to pitch their idea to uninterested VCs. Any entrepreneur who thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor isn’t much of an entrepreneur at all.
Startup events like these play into the ‘founders-as-rockstars’ and ‘change-the-world’ bullshit prevalent in startup culture. Any startup that thinks a piddly little mobile app can change the world is swimming deep in his own kool-aid. Unfortunately, this is exactly how many founders describe their companies.
Let’s forget the hyperbole and the pretention and the grandiose delusions. Let’s go out there and build businesses. That’s what entrepreneurs are supposed to do.
And telling entrepreneurs so is what writers are supposed to do.