I’m A Startup Troll Under A Startup Bridge

Lately, I’ve been getting pushback from a small group of community leaders, investors, founders for being critical of companies that put fluff before fundamentals. It’s like those fluffers I criticize are their kids and their kids are asking,  “Mommy, can’t you shut him up?”  Well no, you can’t. Especially now that the Silk Road is shut down and you can’t use bitcoins to hire a hitman. If you want me quiet you’ll need to “off me” yourself. Oh, and calling me a troll won’t work as I wear that crown with honor.

I’m going to keep questioning the fluffing, habits and behaviors that run counter to what in my experience, and just plain common sense run counter to a successful exit. I’m not attacking the players, I’m attacking the plays.

I’m going after behaviors and a few specific companies or faux “community leaders.” In no case am I launching a top down campaign of picking an investor and targeting their portfolio companies. My attention comes from a bottoms-up approach. I see buffoonery and I write about it. If your portfolio is buffoonery heavy….. then it probably feels like I’m after your babies. Want me to stop? Manage your babies. Stop the lunacy and I’ll stop highlighting the lunatics, I’ll go away. Truly crush-it and I’ll write about that too.

Or here’s an alternative. Let’s just say I’m full of crap. I probably am. Then stop giving a crap about what I say because no one listens to someone who’s full of crap. If you think I’m a liar, then don’t worry about it, no one believes a liar. Ignore me. Don’t legitimize me with your protests. Don’t send me silly demand letters (Like Danny Boice of Trustify did). Because you legitimize me or as Jerry Maguire said, “you complete me.”

So whiners? Tell your portfolio companies to build a friggin company. Build a product. Make it work. Tell them to stop doing silly shit like spending time, attention, and cash on pre-success partying, celebrating, self-promotion.  Tell them that promoting yourself and your company in our own tiny, local, non-prospective customer, ecosystem…. is masturbation. Tell them to go forth and sell that shit! Make shit and sell shit and people will write good shit about you.

Tell them that making themselves famous when their stuff isn’t ready for prime time when their products fail in the spot light of their not-ready-for-prime-time publicity, it’s not the fault of the audience. If your product fails constantly, spend time fixing the product instead of promoting it. Fix it before you put it under the friggin microscope of publicity. Bake that cake before you serve it to guests.

Tell them not to be surprised when this startup troll calls them out. Tell them to pace themselves. Prioritize and sequencing. First things first, second thing second and when it works, and when the time is right… promote it. Tell them to stop chasing fame and start chasing success. Forget When you actually crush-it instead of “startupland crush-it” fame will find you.   You won’t have to chase fame.

If your ugly investment is making a fool of itself, I’ll be happy to shut up about it as soon as you get them to stop making such good fodder for my stories. As soon as you get them to focus on the fundamentals like a product that someone needs, that works, and is generating real traction as opposed to spending their energy and your money on friggin useless glitter traction.

When Lindsay Lohan’s mom tells the press to stop writing about her daughter they don’t just stop. They keep writing. Stop being like Linsday’s mom and defending your Lindsey Lohan portfolio companies’ actions. Show her some tough friggin love. Clean up her act.

So call me a troll. Call me a startup troll. Call me what ever the hell you want.  I’ll proudly wear that crown. Come on under my bridge and see me sometime!