Selling the Sizzle: Startups as Stepping Stones

Imagine that there are 3 parties involved in a startup:

  1. The customers of a startup
  2. The startup itself
  3. The companies and people that influence and shape the people in #2.

It used to be that entrepreneurs started at #2 and eventually, after some time, they evolve to #3 for other entrepreneurs.

One of the strange things that I have begun to notice is how many entrepreneurs are looking to jump to #3 right away. I think this goes along with the rise of the importance of a persons ‘personal brand’. Everyone is looking to start a conference, publish a book and start charging for speaking appearances as soon as they start their company. It’s really surprising when someone tries and sells me on their ‘startup consulting service’ when I know for a fact that their company is 6 months old and not even profitable.

It makes me realize how incredibly easy it is for one person to spin their history. If you can talk well and impress people who don’t have the ability to dig into what you’re saying, you can go from opportunity to opportunity on your spin. I’ve seen people do it. It’s amazing on many levels.

This isn’t a ‘karma will get these people’ rant. It’s just an observation. Obviously, there’s never going to be a short supply of these people. This is a piece of advice for entrepreneurs: don’t automatically believe peoples bs. If you’re going to listen to people and seek their advice, make sure that it’s coming from their experience and that it’s honest. Don’t listen to people who’ve read ‘Getting Real’ and suddenly want to tell you how to run your company.