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Venture capital and the great big Silicon Valley asshole game

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, @sarahcuda, Awesome, Values, Jerk Store, Uber, Snapchat, Rap Genius, Silicon Valley, Secret!, Douchebaggery, Tinder!

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The best thing Sarah Lacy has ever written. She calls venture firms out by name for backing egregious assholes -- mostly but not all very young -- more than ever before. Brava!!!

Wow, she calls out Snapchat, Uber, Secret, Tinder, and Rap Genius by name. 

I didn't see that coming. 

OMG.  Makell Bird in the comments.  What a douche!!

The guy who thinks that starting a company has made him a jerk, and he's proud of it?


"Well Sarah, this article spoke to me. I guess I'm one of those startup assholes. I am Makell Bird and I run ADED.US Music Distribution. My wife tells me I am an asshole all the time... but she doesn't mind holding her hands out when I'm giving her money from my business. I think the job sorta MAKES you an asshole. We (as programmers/service people) have to exist in this world in a way that most people don't exist. We have to use our mind to figure things out and understand how to make things work better. These are mental stresses that "worker bees" don't have to worry about. We can work 2 weeks without making a dime. We don't get to clock in and out and receive a paycheck. And at the same time, with all those stresses... at least WE get the opportunity to be a millionaire whereas your daily blue caller worker bee will NEVER make a million dollars building someone ELSE's company up."

The world needs fewer people like him.

The job doesn't make a person anything except who s/he already was. 

Too bad there are so many people willing to engage in transactional relationships with them.  Including spouses.

Eventually the karma police catch up with them.

This part really made me stop and think.

I was expecting him to answer my question about what baggage he had to get over with something about this heartbreak. Instead, what he said caught me off guard:

“I like working with a certain kind of person. I like working with people who are very smart, who have a little introspection, who have some humility, and high integrity. People that have some kind of honorableness about them. That’s how I attempt to carry myself. The truth is a lot of really successful entrepreneurs aren’t those kind of people. I think that’s something I have to watch out for. The models that work are not always created by those kind of people, and I want to be able to invest in them. That’s the biggest thing.”

Wow. Essentially, Vishrai is admitting that investing with high integrity founders is no longer a luxury the venture world can afford. Particularly telling as two of his firm’s biggest hits are Uber and Snapchat. In fifteen years of covering this industry, I’ve never heard anyone be quite so honest on the record about this topic.

Brutal. I sympathize, though. Any business often requires you to deal with people who have different values than you do. That is why it is so essential to carefully design your customer base and value network, so that you are able to actually reinforce the values you care about.

I love the phrase "carefully design your customer base". :)

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