In Seattle’s Pioneer Square, same as in the Tenderloin in San Fran, and the Meatpacking district of New York — there is a junkie, a wino, a hooker, and an entrepreneur, all stationed around in every corner.
It’s like a Taliban roadblock, and if you escape one, there is no escaping the others. And the thing is that all of them are selling dreams. Dreams out of a bottle, out of a baggie, out of a business plan, or out of a pvssy. Either way they all are in the Dream Big, and in the Big Drama business.
And yes indeed, they all walk down the street at different paces, all day and all night long. And a new one is always taking up their place when they shove off to do their appointed rounds seeking their particular dreamscapes.
And if you look carefully — you ‘ll invariably see that all of them are always speaking to themselves, or talking to an earbud, or maybe having an interesting discussion with the voices inside their heads. Either way they prefer to look busy and gainfully engaged in some ethereal conversation — all the time. Of course the winos who suffer from the trash-talking syndrome known as Turrets, have the most interesting conversations out there, but the other ones are also not easy to follow…
And the scantily dressed sexy & over curved chick who’s talking to a John, while smoking a doobie, and looking around for a “safe” place to turn a trick behind a dumpster — is probably pitching her New StartUp. Amid the hassle and the hustle, further down the street and the alleyways, there is somebody who’s slipping some serious folding green cash to someone in a hoodie for a baggie of shit. That’s better than going to the wall to get some cash. This is hot commodity dealing and more cash exchanges hands between drug dealer and the “client” than most Startups will ever see in their entire lifetime.
Of course this could also be an investment from a hyper focused and hyper stressed out local VC to a budding entrepreneur who wants to be the next Suckerberg… and who dreams of nothing else but of connecting all of us in this uber-local and massively viral social network that will allow us engage in some new form of fornication through virtual poking — if only we could give him twenty gazillion dollars to build this fabulous new Mobile App that will kill it.
Really – Really Kill It…
Silicon Forest, Silicon Valley, and Silicon Alley, are all places where there is an entrepreneur, a dealer, a druggie, a wino, and a hooker, lurking in every corner. Nobody’s missing from this scene except the rabbi, the Catholic priest and the Virgin Mary.
Now the hooker we all know what she sells, and if you don’t know then this blog is not for you, and you should immediately turn back to your Mommy and ask for the pacifier.
As for the junk dealer — we also know what he sells and best stay away from him — but you are big boys & girls and how you find your dreams and get fucked up is your own business.
The Jesus freaks they also sell salvation but it’s difficult to use this salvation n the current lifetime so we reserve this in the compartment that smells of death and we only invest in it when we are thinking of mortuaries and funerals and cemetery plots. But till then we focus on more earthly things…
Like the new you-sit-at-home-naked-while-i-do-your-shopping mobile app that we get pitched about every week. Or the next dating up that will get your Pornhub addiction satisfied with a flashlight and a maximum dildo that is remote controlled through your I-phone in a smart looking Mobile App that allows you to vibrate wildly inside your panties while taking these boring company meetings — and nobody’s the wiser.
That’s why I remove everybody’s phone and devises in all of my meetings, in order to avoid the unintended female orgasms in the midst of the presentation pitches. Or when the troll demos are going on…
And this is the StartUp Entrepreneurial scene all over.
This is true of all the big Silicon hubs, around the world and especially in the United States, where only a handful of companies, are actually trying to do the real things that will have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. And even fewer are the ones that make the effort to built the strong organizations that carry a true vision in order to solve real problems, and advance human progress by pushing History’s wheels forward.
And then there are the other ones. The few nutters, the madmen, the totally crazy ones, who are audacious enough to want to put a dent in the Universe….
These folks are truly mad, and generally timid — so they go underfunded, and generally unnoticed. Because they are hidden from the glare of the spotlight of fame and fortune that often times shines down to the Kardashians amongst us and the crooks like the Elizabeth Holmes of Thanatos Inc. and the many Minnie Men of Steve Jobs, or Mark, or Bill, or Uber Kick the Can down the Street.
Now I have to ask you question:
How many startups define their mission just well enough to discover an avenue to revenue?
And how come most of them don’t even want revenue?
How come they just want users?
Because the current illogical thinking goes something like this: Always user acquisition trumps reason, because in Silicon Valley they say that users are better than cash when going in to talk to the VCs for another round of funding.
Most of these startups die within the year, and most people will forget their names long before then.
As for those Stock Options and under water promises — phooey goes the smoke form that pipe of medical Mary-Jane you’ve been smoking.
But if you ask the real questions and your honestly want to answer them — You’ll know that building any business is hard.
It is an all-consuming process, frustrating at best, and fraught with danger, privations, lack of sleep or personal edification, sacrifices, and loads of personal challenges.
And it comes as no surprise that when a founder is a Tourist, a Tramp, or an A-hole that is strictly “opportunity driven” it’s too easy to quit at the first bump in the road.
Yet when the founder is “mission driven” — he or she will do whatever it takes to make an impact in the market they serve, and will keep persevering whatever the startup trends of the month.
Therefore I encourage entrepreneurs to find real problems to sell to me and then go ahead and tackle these hard problems, even if it makes fund raising more difficult, even if they look like the man from La Mancha, and even if their life gets in danger when both he Girlfriend and the Dog leave them.
Now these are the folks I like. The Great Unwashed. They are the ones that are truly killing it. Because the other ones are far less likely to succeed and they present no competition to the driven and mad as hell Founders we back. We like the ones who are Crazy AF, and willing to show it.
I’ve been guilty of backing small thinkers too. Yes, I’ve made money from these Me-Too Mobile Apps. Yes I’m finding the Light belatedly too. Yes, I’ve launched my own products and services that were idea buyers of others and were there just to spin them off the the Private Equity boys for quick M&A activity. Yes, I’ve done every easy StartUp in the book, and they were indeed fun to build, and a great hoot to sell them off or morph them into a big company, or make an IPO run and a Billion dollar exit.
Sure all of these companies were received well by the tech community, by the good folks at Geekwire, by the other Silicon Valley folks that run the major tech blogs, and even by WSJ and Fortune, Forbes, and the other big “F” the Fast Company.
Yet for me the only “F” that matters is Focus. Say that three times fast: Focus, focus, focus — and soon you start sounding like an Irish crazy man from County Kerry asking for a fvck… but never mind.
And the chorus goes on, and all the analysts, the VCs, the Private Equity sharks and the millions of users were singing our praises all day long and vying to be the first to use our next iteration.
The front page of the Business section of the paper is a great place to be, same as the Forbes Innovation Summit was an interesting place to speak at and all the other Silicon valley conference like CODE and RE-CODE and the Google or the Apple shindigs. My ego was being stroked at maximum efficiency, and the swag kept coming. And throughout all that, I knew I was building things just because they were easy to do and the people would use them to gratify and ingratiate themselves…
Yet all that jazz doesn’t matter the least bit if whatever you are building makes no difference. If your Mobile App doesn’t improve people’s lives in a measurable way.
Don’t talk to me if you don’t have meaning in your life and your Startup company doesn’t have a purpose of being.
Raison D’Etre is all there is.
But I’ve had my Damascus moment and saw the Light.
Now I seek more meaningful things and reason that if you’re going to start a new venture — at least learn to care for whatever the fvck you are building.
Go out there and see the world and really observe. Seek instead of see. Go find some measure of meaning and maybe you’ll stumble upon a problem and a people, that you really care about.
Go ahead and focus solving that problem and only pursue that dream.
Even if the likelihood of success is slim, put your head down and go.