Teaching Startup: All Startups Are Scams

THE SHOW - Episode 4.2


There's a fine line between being a dreamer and being an entrepreneur. Don't get me wrong, I mean this in the best light possible. Without dreams, without suspension of disbelief, without the ignorance of what can't be done, the entrepreneur is no different than the cubicle drone. One thing separates the entrepreneur from the dreamer: Execution.

There's also a fine line between being an entrepreneur and being a scam artist. Let's face it, if you're doing startup right, you're doing something no one has ever done before with no proof it will work, much less succeed. And you're trying to sell that vaporware, that dream, those magic beans, to customers or investors or both.

At some point, the entrepreneur, the one that's the visionary founder, has to self-check the reality of what he or she is trying to accomplish. At the very least, the entrepreneur has the responsibility of putting people around him or her that will keep that dream in check, making sure it remains viable, doable, and profitable.

Otherwise you get Theranos.

Too often, I hear the mantra that the successful entrepreneur has to fail quickly and fail often. I get the point, but this kind of thinking keeps too many people out of startup, especially those talented people who have built enough cred and wisdom to have something to lose. The more we romanticize failure, the more we take away the sting and the blame.

Not sure that's a great thing to throw on a Powerpoint slide.