10 June 2013

Don't Be a Fucking Douchebag Part Two

This is part two in a three part series on not being a fucking douchebag. You should read Part One (Choose Your Role Models) first.

Part Two - Confidence Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

Being an entrepreneur is a confidence game. “Fake it until you make it” is the rule. We all know that showing fear or doubt is often death and that you need to project a certain amount of irrational confidence to get you through the challenges along the way. Dealing with investors can feel a lot like confronting stray dogs on the street - you kind of know they can smell your fear so you act big, scary and most of all very, very assured.

But it seems like a lot of folks calling themselves entrepreneurs simply don’t understand what “Confidence” really means in this context. Because a lot of you are not acting confident - you’re just acting like fucking douchebags.

Let me explain in a very simple manner what I’m talking about.

Confidence is founded on knowledge, skill and understanding. To illustrate... I’m confident in my ability to taste and analyze flavors. This is based upon a decade working and training as a chef and 5 years spent working in speciality coffee. This is based upon tens of thousands of hours of practice. Does this mean I am right all the time? No... it doesn’t. But it means that I’m right a lot of the time - and when I’m wrong, I learn and my confidence grows.

In the current startup scene, what is being exhibited and displayed by many so-called entrepreneurs is not Confidence - but rather a toxic combination of Arrogance and Ignorance.

I hear a lot of startup folks talking shit about stuff they know nothing about - with a huge amount of delight in their own brilliance. When I question their knowledge, the usual answer tends to be a lot of dismissive talk about “disruption” and “useless old ways of doing things” and “applying startup models to other problems.” And this is seen (by them) as being Confident.

But here is the thing.... to those of us who actually know something about the topic this doesn’t come off as confidence at all - but rather as arrogance coupled with willful ignorance. And, frankly, that makes you look like a fucking douchebag.

So... you want to be a successful entrepreneur.
You understand that doing so requires a lot of confidence.

So fucking learn about the stuff you want to appear confident about. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be arrogant and stop being fucking ignorant.

Do the fucking work.
This is not a game.

Because every fucking time you open your yap in public and start bleating dumbass shit about “disrupting the health insurance industry using Google Glass and Node” you make all the rest of us look bad. And you make folks like me who happen to overhear you want to punch you right in the fucking nuts.


Read Next - Part 3, Douchebags like you are ruining San Francisco

3 Comments:

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Melissa Ho said...

You really fleshed this problem out. Especially with this second part here.

I don't have a deep rooted disgust and hatred for start up cats that put in the time and work to creating something useful and innovative.

I just have no tolerance for people who think they can bullshit their way to wealth and success. I speculate whether it is because we are the generation of instant gratification that this boom has really encourage this sort of behavior.

I found your blogspot from the article that was published in Gawker. I wished they published all parts. It just seems terribly out of context otherwise.

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger chris said...

It definitely would be better if folks were to read all three parts of the post. But expecting this particular audience to do so is probably as unrealistic as expecting them to actually consider the message.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Mike said...

One of my Facebook friends linked back here so I could see all 3 parts. Worth the read. I've lived in SF since 1996 and it has most definitely changed.

I worked in a handful of small companies over the years and loved it. It was nothing like what you described. I still work with some of the people from those early days.

 

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