At least according to this guy. Mr Crichton seems to think that unless you have a talent for the long con, no one will invest and no one will work for you. VC and employees, he says, are getting smarter and if you can’t pull off some overwhelming sales job, based on simply convincing, you will never make it.
He says that employees have been burned so many times in Silicon Valley with unkept promises that they are gun shy. You have to sell them on the company and you have to lie lie lie. If anyone knew the real financial backing or the true forward looking numbers, you would be sitting in your bedroom with your dog. And it would be eying the door.
I know he’s talking about well intentioned lies, lies that aren’t really meant to mislead but to embellish. Lies that will get you the engineer you need, or the $40mil that will carry you to the ‘next level.’ After all, without that engineer or that money, there is no hope of success.
I know I’m not the best person to be talking about business models, but I have always wondered about a company or individual that starts up and on day one has an ‘exit strategy.’ I wonder if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or the guys at Google or Facebook had an exit strategy. Maybe they did, but I doubt if they were serious.
It seems to me that if you want to hire good people, you need a commitment, a kickass idea, and a way to make it happen. You need the perseverance to see it through — your money, your mortgage, your life. 20 hour days of work, fresh thought, and I will say it again, perseverance.
If you go into some project with the upfront idea on how you are going to get out, then that commitment isn’t there and you probably do need to lie to get employees or capital.
I always wonder at companies that take the VC bucks and immediately move into better digs, buy top of the line office furniture, increase everyone’s salary, line the parking lot with something from Stuttgart or Munich, and then think, now what.
They speak of burn rate. How long can we survive on the money we have? Shouldn’t they have worried about that in the beginning? Maybe if they had they wouldn’t have to embellish, or to put it another way, lie.
If you find an investor that wants good return, a solid investment, and who trusts you with their money, then you will grow to the next step. Investors that don’t care about anything except owning the next Twitter or Uber may be ok for some, but will they care at all about your product, your idea, your imagination? I doubt it, no matter how well you lie.