Is Silicon Valley Really Public Enemy No. 1?

By January 28, 2014Insight, Startups

Post copied from my article on Kikai Mining
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Just finished reading an interesting article by @DannyCrichton on TechCrunch.

The article is entitled “Silicon Valley Is Now Public Enemy No. 1, And We Only Have Ourselves To Blame.” Danny points out that public sentiment on startups has begun to sway against them.

Oh great! I switched my career last year to focus solely on building my own startups and helping other startups.

But apparently not all is lost. The reason for this trend appears to be a PR issue for the startup community. Here you have hot-shot, 20-year-olds who are appearing to avoid the trend of working their entire lives to be ‘successful’*, upending entire industries and not really doing much to improve the communities in which they work. So pretty much, don’t be cocky, complement vs. destroy and give back. Good thing it’s simple to solve.

It’s not that easy to solve

Wait? Didn’t I just say it was simple?

It’s not that easy. The rate of change in business has been astounding and naturally there will be some push back. Startups are so focused on Minimum Viable Products, Cost per conversion rates, Business Models, Pitches and Investors that there is very little time to think about the overall impact you might have to society. You’re passionate about your solution and you know it’s better than anything else out there. I’ve been there and I’m living it. I focus so much energy on begin successful (in a business sense) that the other aspects aren’t often considered.

What’s a startup to do?

Here are some initial thoughts that I’ve considered.  I’ll certainly be thinking more about this as I continue with my startup-based career:

  • Give back – mentor, volunteer, donate.  I do all 3 because it helps my community and makes me a better businessman.
  • Can you complement instead of compete? – Your idea might be awesome, but does it necessarily have to compete in the industry?  Reality is that if the industry is big enough you can probably make plenty of money without directly competing.
  • Be humble and thankful – yep, you worked hard to get where you are, but i’m pretty sure you’ve had a lot of help along the way.  I know I have.
  • Sometimes you can’t win – Even if you know the fight is the right thing to do and you’ll prevail, it doesn’t necessary mean anyone wins.

* Success in my mind is not determined by material wealth, but by what you do with the opportunity.

[Read the whole article at TechCrunch]