No I Don’t Want To Promote Your App That Compares Photos Of Girls — The Perils Of Exaggeration

Image Credit: Doctor Who

For the last twelve months, this dude has been messaging me on LinkedIn.

He wants me to promote his app. I’ve told him no so many times. He keeps persisting.

One could argue he’s a genius and the hustle till you die attitude he clearly possesses will see him win long-term.

I disagree.

‘The ask’ needs to align with the person

If you did five minutes of Google research on who I am, you would never ask me to promote an app that compares the hotness of women.

Google would tell you not to do that after about 4.5 minutes of searching.

An app that compares photos of women disagrees with everything I stand for. I don’t judge people or their ability based on looks. I don’t agree with spending huge amounts of time on your phone instead of living life.

Exaggerating your business while ignoring someones intrinsic motivations is stupid. That won’t help you promote your app.

Crazy statistics

Every month I get another message about traction.

  • One month it was that a $2.2B investor had just joined.
  • The next month it was thousands of new users
  • The month after that it was growing faster than SnapChat

All of these crazy stats sounded nice. Then I did my research and realized that the website was down, there was not one post about the app, there were zero reviews on the AppStore and nobody who was involved was happy to put their name to it.

“Exaggeration will not work if you dish out stats that can be publicly checked. You’re better off telling the truth about your business”
Illustration: Adam Nickel

Huge ego’s

Name dropping like Kanye West, ridiculous valuations, Silicon Valley Spin, supposed exits from other startups and talking like a car salesman will not help you achieve your goals.

Who has the bigger ego is a zero-sum game.

Show your heart not your ego when you’re pitching.

Make people feel the story of your business and the real reason why you spent $500k on an app rather than exaggerate your way to the land of nothing.

The average person can see through a huge ego and it’s not going to influence anyone to join your app train.

Zero purpose

The purpose of comparing photos of who’s hotter?

Absolutely no purpose at all. You’d find more purpose watching your dog take a dump than you would comparing photos of women.

Whatever business you create, you have to think about why people would want to be part of it. Now I’m not saying people won’t consume dumb content or ridiculous apps. They will.

The question is “For how long?”

Through my own experience, I have found that businesses which are gimmicks don’t tend to have decades of life in them.

“Unless we can connect with a purpose that takes advantage of our own human existence, we’re unlikely to be interested for more than a few dopamine minutes”

Offering money to someone you don’t know

On the second direct message ever, I was offered $100K of shares.

Image Credit: Fox/The Simpsons

I’m a nobody. The question of what value I could bring was never asked. It all sounded way to easy. The pitch was supposed to make my ego say yes. Instead, I said no every single time I was asked.

Offering money too quickly looks desperate and it rarely works. Attracting people to your business is never a quick process. Shares in a business that has no traction, purpose or lifespan will not work.

Most people who can help your business will not want your shares; they’ll probably want to be paid for their time instead.

This simple understanding of how to attract people will stop you from throwing away money that you and I know you don’t have.

Get to know someone. Money is not the answer.

It comes down to lies

Exaggeration in the form I’ve just described can be summed up with one word: Lies. When you’re forced to exaggerate your business, you end up lying.

Those little white lies end up ruining any chance you ever had of seeing your business attract millions of customers.

If you’re prepared to lie to some tall white dude from Australia (like me) who you’ve never met, then god only knows what you’re prepared to do to the people who work for you or even your customers/investors.

“Lies smell like shit and shit doesn’t sell”

The solution: Follow this formula

Okay, I’ve pointed out a lot of things that don’t work. It sounds a bit negative and sarcastic I know (stories like this normally do).

The solution to attracting people who are good for your business follows this basic formula that a five-year-old can follow:

  1. Build something that solves a problem
  2. Confirm what you’ve built solves a problem
  3. Find people who are also in love with that problem
  4. Treat the people on your team like humans
  5. Treat your customers really well too
  6. Work away at your business for at least a few years
  7. Become a learner not a know it all
  8. Be prepared to fail
  9. Enjoy the process knowing you are in love with the problem

The formula does not include exaggeration. 
Exaggeration is for amateurs who become professional liars. That’s not you.

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