Why building a “cool” startup is lame

CiprianGavriliu
Sep 1, 2014 · 3 min read

this article first appeared on my other blog — Mighty Product

The Internet is full with the phrase “cool startup”. You see it in the job boards, Twitter, Facebook, TechCrunch, on blogs and pretty much everywhere.

With all this pressure being cool, could be the only way to go for a startup these days? I don’t think so. That’s just lame and dangerous. Why? The focus of any startup team should be adding value to people’s lives and getting paid for doing that.

When you focus on being cool you focus on your ego. You also tend to forget about your customers. They won’t make it into your priorities list. A new self-absorbed culture sees the light.

If you want to be cool go work in fashion. Or not?

I had a chance to work for a while within the fashion industry. Shortly you’ll see a pattern emerging everywhere: the self-absorbed wannabe. Endless flocks of young girls and boys looking to be cool, to be recognized, to be famous. And guess what? They rarely achieve anything. Because they focus on themselves and how to make it fast. Those who achieve success follow a different path: they work a lot, understand their customers, adapt, evolve and create every day.

In the recent years, the fame found it’s way into the IT industry. At some point, people started asking the wrong questions: how can I be cooler, act like a superstar, hire more, attract more investments, get featured more on the famous blogs and magazines.

The IT industry is quickly picking up the bad habits of the fashion world.

The only way to be cool

Take a look at some of the most famous early teams in the IT history: Microsoft, Facebook, Google.

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Do they look “cool” to you? And still everybody is talking about them. They help hundreds of millions of people every day. They are envied, respected and powerful. They are COOL!

Just like with the fashion industry, being famous and cool is an effect, not the cause. You don’t have success because you’re cool – you’re cool because you have success.

So what’s the only way to be cool? Build a product that helps people and makes profits on a long run. Switch the focus from yourself to other people. Learn about them, care about them, build for them.

And don’t forget to surround yourself with people who want to serve and help. They are the coolest colleagues you can get!

Stay cool.

header photo by Paull Ebbage – U2 concert

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