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Amanda McCormick

Great Expectations in Startupland

By December 13, 2012

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There's no doubt about it -- these past couple of years have been super-heated in the startup world, with Facebook IPO and with multi-millions of dollars flowing at new, young and untested ideas. In general, the press coverage of this scene has been pretty sunny, but now in December, as the tech press looks back at the year that was, a bit of snark has infiltrated the normally positive tone.

In an article for ReadWrite called "Let's All Shed Tears For The Crappy Startups That Can't Raise Any More Money," writer Dan Lyons opines:

The great lie of these last few years is that anyone can be a tech entrepreneur. You don't need to know electrical engineering or computer science. You don't need to know anything about business. You just need a positive outlook and an ability to speak confidently while saying things that make little or no sense.

What really offends is that smart young people have been conned into thinking that starting a company is akin to buying a lottery ticket or rolling dice at Las Vegas -- the odds are long but you never know, you might get lucky and strike it rich. So make something up, throw it out there, and see what happens.

In PandoDaily, Franscisco Dao rails against "wantrapreneurs":

The problem is at its worst with "entrepreneurs" who do nothing but dream and print business cards that proclaim their title. Those who have nothing but self-belief have stolen these words from those who have actually executed. The self-believers have rendered such terms so completely meaningless that they're now often considered code words for being unemployed.

Have you seen Startup: Silicon Valley, by the way? I've just seen the first episode so far but I've been tracking the (wildly amused) reaction. In Time, Scott Gerber says that the show makes "entrepreneurs' blood boil."

Instead of helping would-be entrepreneurs understand the start-up life, they promote a false reality where entrepreneurship is about money and "the life" and not "the journey," "the tireless hours" or "the actual work."

So what's the answer? Entrepreneur Melanie Moore recently wrote an absolutely brilliant post called "Build a Business, Not an Exit Strategy" where she crunches the numbers on what it takes to achieve the multi-million-dollar payout. More modest startups are less risky, she writes, so they get a lot less ink.

Are you committed to making your dreams of starting up a reality? Then join me in making 2013 your startup year! Read more here.

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