5 Wrong Things That Are Right For Startup Founders

Angry Baby

Eh? Eh? Nudge nudge, wink wink! ; )

Life may not be all “ha-ha-hee-hee” but lose your sense of humour and you lose your business.
At its most basic level, running a business is about trying to give people stuff – a new watch, some information, a nice hairdo – and people accept stuff from people they like and identify with. Sometimes they even give you something in return.
A shared sense of humour is a powerful dynamic. And if used wickedly, a sense of humour can be strategically employed to ensure that somebody likes you more than your competitor.

So, founders, it’s time to get a little naughty. Here’s 5 things you can do to make yourself look good, and others not so good.

1. Make light of your product

People get sick of having the benefits of a run-of-the-mill product rammed down their throats. This toothbrush has not one, not two, but four different lengths of bristle. Who gives a cr*p?
Our disruptive startup gives 10% of the cost of our product to charity. Charge me 10% less and I’ll choose who I donate to then.
You get the picture. Make your customers laugh instead – they know how a toothbrush works, believe it or not. My new dating app won’t make you any sexier or cure your halitosis, but it might get you laid!

2. Be prepared to lose everything

Everything? Yes, everything, starting with your dignity. Don’t try to be perfect, nobody likes perfect, but people, all of us, are addicted to risk. If we see somebody walking a tightrope, doing something a little “dangereux”, we are drawn to them. Risk is more attractive than success, even.
“We ran out of funding 6 months ago but we don’t care, we’ve got t-shirts! Coma and join us!” Literally everyone will.

3. Contradict people and argue with them

Say what? But then they might not like me. Newsflash, they didn’t like you anyway. People deal with people who won’t leave them alone, not people they admire or respect. A VC is giving a talk and gets their maths wrong…everyone’s thinking it, be the one to say it!
Another founder has had a rough experience they don’t like to talk about – bring it up!
It may sound harsh, but look, it wasn’t your fault it happened, and who knows, by bringing it up or by contesting someone’s opinion – well, that’s how you move forward sometimes.

4. Leave people hanging

Why not? They’ll survive…probably. When confronted with another’s misfortune, many people feel there is something to be said for helping them out.
There is something to be said – don’t do it! Let them wallow and stew in their own juices. Helping people out is egotistical and ultimately unhelpful – demonstrating that you have the power to make a problem worse is another powerful indicator that you are somebody to be reckoned with.

5. Bully and cajole

Just do it! You need something done – get it done. Do you take your laptop out for a meal and ask it what’s wrong and talk about feelings when it won’t work? No, you thump it, don’t you? It knows. It would thump you back if it could – and then you’d both feel better.

Get people used to the idea that you are difficult, wilful, and unpredictable. Will they respect you? Who cares? Who are you living for, them, or you? Whose vision are you trying to achieve? Theirs, or yours?

  • “Building my disruptive tech app was a journey of discovery but now it is here, its bland, and its uniform.”
  • “Building my boring tech thingy was mostly awful, I sacked most of my team and sometimes it works crap.”

Whose product would you buy? Whichever you identified with the most, that’s which. And the honest amongst would admit that that is obviously the latter. Q to the E to disruptive D.

Disruptive ain’t positive – it’s badass. Just like it always was.

Keep on hustlin’

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