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Startup Mating Call Feb 2014

Page history last edited by rsb 2 years, 10 months ago

The Startup Mating Call - February 2014


In silicon valley coffee shops, where I have spent way too much of my time, some conversations are easier to ignore than others.


Older folks at these coffee shops, who are usually reading, enjoying a meal, or joking around, aren't always sure what to make of the really loud, really young entrepreneurs all around us.  A lot of us have owned businesses.  We're positive we never sounded like these people...we hope.  



As shorthand, I'm going to call this  over-excited, very young, entrepreneurial set: coffee shop entrepreneurs.  


When you can parse their jargon, you can tell that they are most often making projections about what portion of which market they are going to conquer, and how that will change the world.  Almost as common, however, you will hear them loudly proclaiming to one another how they will build a "killer" team.  


Any one thing they say is not necessarily nonsensical, but when they string their jargon together...with more enthusiasm than can possibly be genuine...it's pretty bad.  This sort of talk eventually drives everyone within earshot near-crazy, except, possibly - I'm unsure - the coffee-shop-entrepreneurs themselves.  


They are why you see so many people in coffee shops around here wearing noise-cancelling headphones.

On a recent Sunday, I spent the entire day at Dana Street Roasting Company.  I had a good chat or two, then settled down to do some writing.  I forgot my headphones, a critical piece of equipment.  


The coffee shop entrepreneurs were *merciless*.  After being exposed to their unique phraseology again and again, I decided to embrace the situation.  Rather than run from the coffee shop, I sat closer to these strangely loud members of the entrepreneur family, and took notes.  


I wrote down every "startup team talk" phrase that I heard.


At the end of the day, I compared my notes with previous recollections, and, taking some creative license, compiled it all together in the form of a dialogue.  This took a while, because their jargon is an almost bottomless pit.  I establish that compilation here as an anthropological point of interest. 

I could literally see two particularly hapless, highly over-caffeinated young entrepreneurs gesticulating and yelling this particular set of drivel in a silicon valley coffee shop, perhaps as a misguided attempt at enthusiastic recruiting, after many too many espressos.  Better yet, add some color, and this might make a decent punk song, or a piece for dueling piano players in a dark, velvet-lined lounge somewhere (low bar set! :) )


The Call:

"We're looking for hot, young, hungry talent!"
"Startup A-players!  Startup A-players!"
"Just rock stars!  Rock stars only!"
"It's like cloud synergy 2.0!"
"Two! Point! Oh!  Two points of synergy!"
"Three point oh - Eyeballs equals Profit!"
"Equals Community Social Viral Metrics Application Oriented Disruption!"
"Just do it!"
"Do total Life Disruption to maximize Revenue!"
"That's the bottom line!"
"Agility!  Agile is the bottom line!"
"No! Facebook!"
"But you code like a disruptive agile virus!  Go viral! Be viral!"
"Social viral!  Be a social coder!"
"Yes!  Do it!  Do it!  Coding is life!  Get into that database!  It is so cool!"
"H!T!M!L! Five! Point! Oh! For! Revenue! That! Is! Creativity!"
"And revenue is fun for ladies, too!"
"Agile Metrics Ladies killing it!"
"Ladies can keep pushing through meaningless pain, too!"
"Pivot right through that glass ceiling - to revenue! - Forever!"
"Keep Pivoting Constantly! Like a circle!"
"Must! Do! dynamic-communications-configuration for the killer-app with our non-team-holocracy. Yeah!"
"We're putting Rock-Star A-players in our holocracy!"

"I'm pulling the chain! of! command! OUT of your holocracy!"
"And you're a Rock-Star A-player Entrepreneur!"


"Innovator plus entrepreneur - Intrapreneur!  Is that a word?  You don't know and we don't care!"
"You're a virus!"
"A young hot hungry game-changer virus!"
"Like the A-players from top schools with a 4.0 GPA!"
"Venture capital is dead in the enterprise!"
"Agile metrics 10x'd on it!"
"No! Social media gurus pivoted on it!"
"We solve puzzles on it in our interviews!"
"Disruption is being disrupted!"
"Young hot disruptive talent is being disrupted!"
"Like a hot young hungry viral bottom line!"
"Get! In! Our! Private! Buuuuuuussss!"

For those of you not in a silicon valley, if you haven't puked yet, all you have to do now to complete your silicon valley coffee shop experience is to work for an hour under loud headphones, having someone tap you on the shoulder and ask you to "watch my computer while I go to the bathroom" every five minutes, then make yourself a cup of coffee (being sure to give yourself a pained look in the mirror to mimick the barista experience).  Then rip up ten bucks.


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