I read this morning that Fab was selling for $15M, half cash half stock, 18 months after raising $150M at a $1.5B valuation…As I clicked through to the article, I felt the same disgusting feeling you feel when driving by a car accident and trying to catch a glimpse of the blood and gore. It’s an ugly behavior…a guilty, sensational, non-empathetic lust to watch the wreck in all it’s gruesome detail…and for some reason we, here in startupland, can’t get enough of the high profile gore. We say that failure is acceptable in this world, and when a seed funded company doesn’t make it to the A round, we generally embrace that human and try to lift them up as opposed to scrutinizing his fall, but when fancy people fail, when a high profile person’s new product flops, or a company once on a tear, hit’s a bump in the road, it’s such an easy story, or off color comment, or joke to crack…that we actually bond over watching the car crash together…it’s just a sick behavior.
What does this say about our tolerance for exploration? How can we encourage risk taking, and pushing the envelope when we behave like this? Why does past success or praise somehow strip a founder or company of their right to be imperfect? This world loves to jump on the bandwagon when something is hot, and loves to jump off and judge when the same thing cools off…and there’s this implicit “i was right about this” or “i saw this coming” or everyone else who was bragging about “being right” on the way up was actually wrong and somehow their loss levels things out and becomes my gain…it’s just such an ugly, detached relationship to the creative process…and it only really exists in people who are just far enough a way to look at the thing that’s being judged, as opposed to the process of creation, the risk taking, the attempt…which comes in many flavors, and in my opinion is beautiful even when it ends in defeat.
I know absolutely nothing about Fab…i’m not an investor, have never met them, didn’t bother to read what went right and what went wrong…but if it’s not Fab this week, it’s something else last week or next week…and I’m a little tired of the sensationalism and expose (ex-pose-ay…i don’t know how to make that e character w the thing over it), camera rolling in your face, snickering that comes with a visible defeat. Next time you find yourself judging someone else’s attempt at creation from your arm chair, rather than lust in the savory details, get off your fucking ass and create something instead.
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