LIFESTYLE

6 Absolutely Annoying Cons That Startup Guys Should No Longer Get Away With

It's curtain call, Mr Founder and CEO.

06/01/2017 6:52 PM IST | Updated 06/01/2017 8:13 PM IST
Jean-Bernard Nadeau / Alamy

Startup-ers. They're everywhere. With their behinds planted in the best seats at coffee shops, hogging all the charging points, wearing IIM-tinted glasses, quoting Steve Jobs every chance they get.

There was a time when being an entrepreneur meant something. Or, at last meant something that was mostly good. Not anymore. It's 2017, and entrepreneurs are cropping up like cobwebs in a house that hasn't been dusted. All it means is a person with an idea. Any idea. It doesn't even have to be a very good one.

Thankfully, the gig's up and the all-season pass to mooch off family and friends has expired. We're on to you, self-styled torch-bearers of the entrepreneurial spirit. And here are six things that will no longer fly.

YOU are the low-hanging fruit, my friend
The quickest way to identify one is to count the number of obnoxious, vague words they will hit you with in a single sitting. Whatever the topic of conversation, for a startup-er, words and phrases like 'disruptive', 'low-hanging fruit', 'leverage' and 'circle back' are like projectile; they cannot be contained.

Should I wipe my bum with those ESOPs?
They'll promise you wealth, fame and fortune... but five years later, when the company gets "acquired". For now, it's piddly salaries and crappy hours. Entrepreneurs, without a hint of irony, will beseech you to invest in their dream, live frugally and look like you're loving it, never mind that those over-promised ESOPs might amount to nothing more than really expensive toilet paper.

They're the ones who declare themselves experts on a subject after watching a YouTube tutorial.

1 a.m. is for sex. Or sleep.
It's as if they won't have earned their stripes until they've invaded their employees' personal time and space for exceedingly stupid reasons. I don't know a single startup employee who hasn't been woken up in the dead of the night by their CEO to discuss a brilliant idea they had while getting drunk with other startup buddies. It is a giant circle jerk, this "community" (another infuriatingly favourite word).

Stop promising exposure, you're embarrassing yourself
This kind of entrepreneur is a freelancer's wet dream. And by 'wet' I mean dreams in which the freelancer imagines they'd fall in a well and drown. They're the ones who will ask writers, photographers, designers...basically all kinds of creative folk to work for "exposure" and "credit", not money. Because freelancers have garden gnomes to grow the food they eat and leprechaun gold with which to pay their bills.

An intern can do YOUR job as well
They're wearing so many hats, Dobby would get a complex. This is the entrepreneur who hires an army of giggly interns instead of shelling out money to get trained professionals. They're the ones who declare themselves experts on a subject after watching a YouTube tutorial. Can be seen scattering pearls of wisdom in every direction during the day and crying to friends, wondering why they aren't getting funded, at night.

Call a barber, maybe?
Something about being a young entrepreneur seems to make them think that showers, shaving and ironed clothes are suggestions, not prerequisites of the adult world. Unless it's a meeting with a potential investor, of course.

6 years later...
...still calling it a startup.

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