David Janes' Code Weblog

March 14, 2011

“Have Startups Become a Fetish?”

startups,sxsw,toronto · admin · 5:36 am ·

I’m totally loving this Gigaom article by Stacey Higgenbotham:

Since the magical breakout of Twitter in 2007 and the Foursquare success of 2009, SXSW has become more and more cluttered with startups trying to break out. It has also become a celebration of startups in general. However, that celebration has turned into a fetish — placing the act of creating a startup on a pedestal without casting any sort of critical eye on the quality or likelihood of that startup or idea succeeding.

[…] But amid the hundreds of startups launching, pitching, forming or otherwise trying to break out at SXSW, how many of them are real businesses? How many of them are thought out beyond a scrawl on a napkin, or a quick debate ahead of a startup weekend?

[…] The thousands of startups today that are pitching themselves at app competitions or in industry conferences all seem to think being a startup is enough. That daring to come up with some idea, any idea, and build a beta site is enough. That the users will come and then the business model will come and then the money will come. Google, Facebook and Twitter are their icons. Somehow the act of creating a startup has become the goal instead of the building of a business.

[…] My issue is less with those littering the web with launch pages — if people want to take some time to test out a web site idea in their spare time, that’s far better than watching Two and Half Men reruns — but with the media, the venture firms and the ecosystem that has been built up to worship this idea of a startup. Maybe a little less fawning in the coverage and a little more skepticism is needed.

I quoted a little more than I wanted to here but there’s so many good lines – read the whole thing. An “the emperor has no clothes moment”? Remember, the characters in Neil Stephenson novels — if that’s the life you’re trying to recreate — actually had business plans and actually tried to execute them.


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