Your Startup Makes Me Die Inside

Yes, I know. There is a lot of money to be made in advertising.

Of course, Twitter is a huge platform and Facebook reaches a billion people.

I know.

And when people like Michael Lazerow – who’s very personal video is heart warming (pun intended), and shows why so many people I respect respect him – exit large, it makes me happy.

Happy that good people have good outcomes.

That being said, your startup makes me die inside.

I understand that having yet another place for brands to advertise in yet another unique and innovative way is awesome. I love that you are respecting the sanctity of my online experience by integrating the brand experience into my web experience. I do. Really I do.

But, the complete lack of adding to the beauty of the world, beyond the optimization of monetization, just makes me sad.

I spent part of this past weekend looking at art. I love art. I collect it, and have close to 100 pieces in my house. I read novels and poetry and listen to smart people drop knowledge on philosophies that actually make the world a better place.

Each time I spend time seeing the world through a paint brush or typography selection, I realize that everything I wish I could be lives inside a skill set that I will never master.

I get that we are building businesses, after all I have built/helped build seven of them. And yes, we can’t pay our employees with pretty pictures or hugs, or even with a deep belief in their ability to lead the charge in changing the world. But, we can build things that make the world better. We can find ways to match monetization with improvement.

I’m not talking about social good or entrepreneurship. I get that stuff, and it matters. Lord knows that the world’s infrastructure needs support. What I am talking about is the beauty of image and story being shared. The amazing ability for emotion and meaning to cross cultural barriers with a simple brush stroke or turn of a phrase.

This morning I watched Simon Sinek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action, and his premise is that they focus on the why first, then the what and how. Watch it, great video.

Why? How? What?

The three most important questions an entrepreneur needs to answer. Why does your company matter? How does it make the world a better place? What are you doing to achieve that?

I get that you are making it easier for brands to connect to their customers. I understand that you are reducing friction between the buyer and the sale.

But why do you matter? How are you making the world a better place?

Our parents spent their time figuring out how to monetize the world, and made money a scoreboard, which has somehow translated into value.

We, as the harbingers of change, have a duty to leave this world better for the generation that travels behind us (even though they are moving at a much faster rate than we can even begin to fathom).

We need to spend our time on how to make it beautiful once again.


Now read this


If there is anything about you that is consistent, is that you love consistency. About a week ago I was at a local dive bar with Drew Olanoff and his fiancee (who after I had some choice words about his usage of ‘fuck’ in a Techcrunch... Continue →