It’s a ‘Dog-eat-your-own-dog-food’ world out there in the startup jungle, and whilst we’re mixing metaphors, make no bones about it. Unless they’re for the dog-food. There’s a lot of “Winalot” Pride at stake, if you know what I mean. And if you don’t, good. That’s just what I want you to think.
Zany opening gambits aside, in this week’s study of some of the darker, less talked about arts of London’s startup scene, we’ll examine how to react when confronted by one of those ice-dripping-down-the-back-of-the-neck moments, when, bantering away casually with a seemingly unthreatening geek at a startup event, you realise they are working on the same disruptive idea as you; only, naturally, it’s better.
Now one thing is clear – if this shiny, happy, collaborative, mutually supportive and changing the world for the better and lifting all our spirits and making us better people blah blah blah yada yada ecosystem has taught us nothing else; they must be stopped! Their idea buried, destroyed, torn asunder, their hopes crushed, their cap-table made to resemble…hang on, what is a cap table anyway?
This founder’s idea must never see the light of day again; that much is clear; and be replaced by a vastly inferior version; your version.
Here’s how the deed can be done; and don’t forget, the fact that literally no-one can stand your slovenly attitude, the half-arsed nature of your approach to your startup, your technical incompetence and your failure to interest even a single business Angel, even though you went school with half of them, must only inspire you to redouble your efforts to ruin somebody else’s perfectly good, well thought out, potentially game changing idea. It’s called an ego, and if it’s good enough for Bill Gates…
- Upon first hearing the idea, breathe in deeply and sharply, take two steps away from your opponent throwing your hands up in a defensive stance as if they have just broken wind and it smells of dog food. Then, shaking your head side to side ever so imperceptibly, slowly expel the air from between your cheeks and say, enunciating each word as if you were doing a Spanish GCSE oral exam, “ooo-ooh mate, I guess you didn’t hear about the last founder who tried that.” Before your opponent has time to respond, turn on your heel and grab the first geek substantial enough to hold your weight, and say “did you hear Richard Branson is downstairs – let’s grab a hotdog”, then beat it.
- The self-doubt you’ve inspired in your opponent gives you maybe 48 hours breathing space. Take the first 24 hours off. You deserve it. Kind of.
- Wait a bit longer. Maybe hit a bar with some friends. Been on Tinder recently? Squeeze in some online shopping, perhaps. Cook a lasagne, think about inviting some friends round, then eat it all yourself.
- Probably time to go to the office. Don’t have one? Try one of those co-working space thingies – put on a bow tie and say you’re a scientist/investor and you shouldn’t have to pay.
- Time to do some “internet research”. Did you remember to take the guy’s business card? Nope, of course you didn’t. Read the Hipsters, Hackers & Hustlers’ always outstanding review of the networking event you met them at and get the details there. They’re wrong? Just Alphabet the name of the company.
- Phone them up, pretend to be an angel (you little devil) and arrange to meet. Put on a woman’s voice and wear women’s clothing to the meeting. Just because. Look at Caitlin Jenner. Don’t look at Frank Warren, he might give you a black eye. At the meeting, ask for everything they have. Every projection, all the tech. Ask for it in a dongle, just to be difficult.
- (Optional) Throw dongle into the Thames.
Don’t thank us, we mostly read about it on another blog and reproduced bits of it here. Could be worse. We could have used a RSS feed aggregator.
Keep on hustlin’