Startup Supremacy Syndrome

- October 24, 2012 3 MIN READ


I have written this post in response to this blog post that was a response to a conversation on a Sydney Startup facebook wall. The person and I know each other, and hang in the same space – but we obviously have very different opinions when it comes to those who choose a life of self employment and those that do not.

Getting Up To Speed

The initial comment: “Getting a job is like prostituting oneself. You offer your mind in exchange for money. You don’t do what you like, you don’t choose what you get money for, you just do what you’re told to do. And, you wouldn’t do it if you had lots of money”.

My response: “Disagree. If you apply for a certain position you are making a choice to be remunerated for completing the tasks associated with the JD. I loved the experience of working for a corporate, I learnt many skills that have saved me from disasters since working for myself. Plus as a Business owner I would never want anyone coming to work for me that thought they were prostituting their mind and disliked what they were doing … that would be a disaster for the culture I was trying to create and would negatively impact productivity and growth”

The response to this further expanded his point – that having a job you love is like being an escort, and that you minimise the impact you  can have  on the world. Though certain the intent is to entertain and promote entrepreneurship, I disagree strongly and think that this kind of supreme thinking of those who create being above those who help creators build great things is quite frankly, demeaning.

If everyone worked for themselves, Nobody would work for you …

When I worked for Pitney Bowes I loved what I did, not because it was fun – but because I believed in the vision of my boss. I look around at some of the successful startups right now such as ScriptRock, Show Pony Fashion, Ninja Blocks and many many more that are growing at such a rapid rate and it is obvious that if they don’t have a great team behind them that believe in their visions and want to work with them to achieve these ambitious goals – they will fail. A Startup needs their team, in fact everyone I have ever interviewed dedicates their success to their teams, because these are the people with the specialised skill sets that make shit happen, they sell better than the founder, they code better than the founder, they understand a target market better than the founder. But they are all just as passionate as the founder is about the problem they are trying to solve.

Self employed people make a bigger impact on the world

This is quite simply, not true. Successful entrepreneurs quite often become highly regarded leaders but so do successful employees. Marisa Mayer, Erin Brokovich, Tim Cooke, Alexia Tsotsis and Sheryl Sandberg are some names that come right off the top of my head that are not self employed that have a massive impact and influence on the world around them. And is it really that important to make an impact on the world stage? It is all dependant on an individuals ambitions and goals I suppose. Is the employee focused on something local that you don’t know about really making less of an impact than you?

You learn 5 times more working for yourself than you do for an employer

You learn a lot of things being an entrepreneur, you learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about how to build something from the ground up. Employees may not learn these lessons to the degree that a startup does – but I guarantee you they learn a lot of things that startups struggle with when it comes to things like company structure, retention and  red tape to name a couple. Every successful startup reaches a point where the rapid growth stops and these things become relevant, the startup to successful company transition.

Save them, save them all

Entrepreneurship is great, but it is not for everyone – the world would actually be boring if it was. Some people are actually happy doing what they do, self employment is not the only road to fulfilment. To say otherwise is a misguided notion, created from your perception of the world – if you are an entrepreneur, you see the world in the same way a lot of entrepreneurs see the world, full of opportunity and it is your duty to build and create. Good for you. Others have different goals and aspirations.

If you start something you should be proud, but it does not sit you above those out there that work hard for others. Imagine where we would be without our teams. Escorts? Hardly. Lifesavers. Definitely.

Food for Thought

When we reach that goal, build that big profitable company and sell it to that massive enterprise, it is likely that as part of the clause you may have to spend some time working there for the hand over. You’ll most likely be reporting to one of those escorts.