My weekend was spent reading #girlboss the autobiography of Sophia Amoruso who built her eBay vintage store into a $100 million business in the space of six years.
My weekend was also spent stressing over getting Vibease's pitch deck ready for a huge Silicon Valley investor who I'm pitching to this Thursday in Mountain View. This investor is very specific on exactly how he wants you to present your slides and It's the investor's money we want, so we have to play by his rules.
The biggest take away from Amoruso's book was that she built her retail business to $100 million in revenue without going through any of the process or bureaucracy (yes, not meritocracy) of Silicon Valley.
When Silicon Valley investors sniffed out her cash making abilities and came knocking on her door demanding they see her pitch deck, she found their buzzwords alien and gave them a 'whatever' expression and told them she'd didn't have a clue how to use PowerPoint and didn't have a deck, if they wanted a piece of her company, they'd have to play by her rules.
Her book even has an amusing glossary where she pokes fun at the alien lingo the investors from Silicon Valley used to get her attention: deck, growth hacker, terms sheet, pivot, exit!
For a place that is supposed to be about thinking different and innovating in creative ways there sure is a 'right way of doing things' in the valley that may be detrimental in building a fast growing startup:
Startup, deck, test, pivot, find revenue model, customers, iterate, growth hack, inject cash, exit.
Innovation itself has become automated, standardized and mechanical in nature. It's become a process when innovation should mean a new method of doing things.
Like livestock on a conveyor belt in a factory farm, startups are injected with hormones from investors, growth hacked, fattened up and sold for the price of their meat mass, but these often aren't the most nutritious cows or the most tasty.
I wonder if entrepreneurs are getting lost and wasting time on the process of building a company, pandering to their investors needs, rather than focusing on their customers needs?
The system does work for some people, If I had money it would be wise of me to start an accelerator or incubator where I can get high equity and cheap labour building startups that I could flip and make a quick exit.
What do you think? Has Silicon Valley become standardized? Let me know in the comments below...