I Got Scammed By A Silicon Valley Startup
Penny Kim

Yowza. I was on the edge of my seat the whole story hoping this ended in some triumphant win for you where Michael was led away in handcuffs and you floated gracefully away to an amazing job at Facebook. But getting your apartment and cat back is a win, too!

It’s incredible how much grotesque antisocial (meaning “dysfunctional and contrary to the needs of human society,” not “introverted/shy”) behavior there is in the startup world, and how otherwise functional people will rally around the scammers, liars, and pathological people to protect them from the natural consequences of their actions. It sometimes gets chalked up to personality disorders, mental illness, or (everyone’s favorite thing to armchair-diagnose), “sociopaths.” I’m sure that’s part of it, but there’s also some component where people who could perfectly well behave differently are simply choosing to behave in an evil, wrongful way for personal gain.

It sounds like you ran into one of the latter category. Michael sounds like his only skill set is defrauding others, and he’s cheerfully enough using it to his benefit.

Thank goodness you got out without being lured into the circle of sycophants lending him money!

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