Fuck You, Startup Yoda

There is an explosion of Startup Yodas, with their 140 character silly, pithy Jack Handy deep thoughts, seeking the retweet over the truth driving an insanely inappropriate number of tumblr quote posts.

“Famous” founders comes out with post about how easy/hard/awesome/sucky being a founder is. A million others retweet/quote pieces of the post as if some deep truth has been exposed.

Or, even more common, is a person considered to be a “thought leader,” writes an article about how everyone is building startups wrong and how he has the answer. The perfect answer.

And the quotes on Tumblr explode.

The truth is that entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because we are in a constant state of search. We get excited when we read, or hear, or see someone that seems to have figured out something. We take that data, consume it, put it in our brains and let it sit there.

And sometimes, it comes out in the form of an idea. Even more rarely, it’s a revelation.

The voices that bring real value are often not folks with tens of thousands of twitter followers or facebook subscribers. They are true operators, the silent killers who write with a pent up requirement to share their search with fellow entrepreneurs. They understand, perhaps unknowingly, that they are learning through the collective unconscious of the startup ecosystem by participating, rather than being a sound bite.

Entrepreneurs love to learn. We derive knowledge from amazing places, but as long as we are blinded by the apparent importance of the words of someone who has a ‘name,’ we are missing the truth in the words written by the doers.

Why are we looking for meaning? Haven’t we found it in the pursuit of changing the world through our startups?

Because that’s why we exist. We want to understand why the world doesn’t work in a certain way, and make it so. We want to change the very fabric of the world.

Want to stay anywhere in the world inexpensively? Boom. done. Want to make sure that the world has clean drinking water? Yup. Boom. On it. Have a story to tell? Want the world to see it? Not. A. Problem. Boom.

The most used (and most hated) word in an entrepreneur’s life is the word ‘why.’ We cannot escape it. We cannot run from it. We cannot avoid it. So we accept it. We learn to love it. We cannot imagine living without it. And sometimes, we build something that answers it.

In the great search for meaning, entrepreneurs fight a never-ending battle. It why so many of us suffer from depression, substance abuse, are awful people to be around at times, and are just fucking selfish people. We are in a war that we cannot win.

But sometimes, we prevail in a battle. And that battle can be big. Can change lives. Can bring value to people. And we smile for a moment. Pause, and then get back to the life we have chosen. A life we love, but cannot explain why.

Certainly, no Startup Yoda can explain the importance of meaning to an entrepreneur. Not in 140 characters or in a 140 years.

And while your victory is a retweet or tumblr quote, mine is seeing the very fabric of the world change as it accelerates into the future.

And until you realize that, that the only value you bring is the complete lack of value, you can go fuck yourself.

Tumblr quote that.


Now read this

Entrepreneurial Energy

I was asked the other day why I spend so much time mentoring and advising startups. “It’s the energy.” I replied. There is something special about companies when they are in the early stage and everything is in front of them. The numbers... Continue →