I rarely attend startup events these days.
I used to attend them few years back when I was just starting up. Then I started seeing some patterns that worried me and made me avoid the trappings of what I call now as ‘Startup As A Lifestyle’.
Same Set of People at All Events
First thing I noticed was I was running into same set of founders, VC, Angels, etc. Only people who were new and busy used to ones who saw startups as their customers. Rest just chatted away while munching on the snacks. This gets tagged as networking. I think this is just socializing.
Not much wrong here, but it soon stuck me: You attended them one, you attended them all.
Saved myself bunch of time. Unless you are sure there is a new set of people attending, feel free to skip.
Who got funded. Who got acquired by whom. Who moved where. Comparing anecdotes of US days or upcoming US trip. Which startup is X of Y for Z. Which founder is having a meltdown. Name dropping.
There are so many meta conversations that it will boggle you. I have seen some founders keep up in news so that they are not caught off-guard in such conversation and appear not to be in-touch.
Gets worse if you do not enjoy being updated on all masala regarding everyone in Bangalore-SFO split lives.
Unless you personally love chatting everything up, avoid such events. Saved myself bunch of time.
Being Founder is Sexy
This is a good news and really positive sign for future of entrepreneurship. But is mots dangerous lure of ‘Startup As A Lifestyle’.
I have come across many young founders who do not seem to be going anywhere. They love going to pitches, pivoting, love passing on their cards, love talking about others, love talking how much funds others raised, love the scheduling freedom startup offers, love the dress code freedom startup offers and in general no hurry to get anywhere. Being a founder seems to be the reward enough.
Avoid being such a person.
Any social activity that does not help your product building and revenue generating prospects must be examined carefully and you should ask yourself repeatedly if investing time in it is useful or not.
Startups are not to enable your lifestyle. Your lifestyle should be to enable your startup.