I like @jlw’s skepticism, but in the defense of the article’s author, even s/he concedes that:
More transparency is the only way forward.
However, in the conclusion s/he regresses to “faith” and lying to oneself. Sadly, I’ve observed this kind of zealotry in the valley, time and time again. Usually by the same founders that are continually failing. Just like their religious conterparts, these founders begin to apologize; not by saying sorry, or by changing course, but by justifying their bad decisions to themselves and persisting with the status quo.
Maybe I’m misreading, but I found the article refreshingly honest. At my last startup, the CEO lied to my face with tales of “we’re all family here” and “there’s nothing more important than your health” just a few days before firing me with no severance (instead of, say, letting me use the company’s STD/LTD policies, let alone FMLA) for not being in the office due to an illness (I still got all of my work done).
Anyhow, startup founders lie through their teeth.
I gave up on TechCrunch when they started CrunchFund… it would let them pump-and-dump with impunity.
Maybe I skimmed too fast, but I read it as, “these are the awful things being done, we all have to change before we all get burned hard”.
My last job was at a unicorn, and it was… Well lets say less than ideal. Ironically if it had been valued at 1/4 (still a huge amount) I would have been there for a decade.
TechCrunch publishes an article that is sensationally framed… and boingboing publishes a click-bait headline in response.
Not saying I’m a big fan of TC, but…
If you actually read the article I think there are really two kinds of lies being discuss. Unfortunately the author kind of conflates them - at least at the headline and buzzword level.
Saying something that’s materially false. Like “yes - we’ve hired that engineer” when you haven’t. Or “we will be finished next week” when you KNOW you won’t.
More transparency is the only way forward. Founders can’t expect to hide the term sheets and their liquidation preferences from employees who ask. The best startups won’t fear telling potential employees, and so the the answer to the question will simply become a screen on the health of a business. Informed employees have a right to know what they are getting into.
Hope, Faith, Optimism, Openness to Risk, (Over)confidence, Hubris, Vision, Myth
Call it what you will. The idea that if someone has to make it big, why not you?
However, we still need that Big Lie to function. We still need to dream about the possibility of success in order to realize it. With greater transparency comes a responsibility on the part of everyone in the startup ecosystem to understand and empathize with the plight of founders trying to build their companies.
I don’t think the latter is really a lie. It’s just an open acknowledgment of playing long odds.
They should just try being so-lo-mo…or mo-lo-so…maybe lo-so-mo…to make the world a better place!
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