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Has The Startup Sense Of Community Eroded?

Chris Chong | October 17, 2018
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    Has The Startup Sense Of Community Eroded?
    Chris Chong

Welcome to this sultry sounding podcast which has a serious message behind it.

Hey, I have to admit sometimes, and if you’re an entrepreneur, you know what I mean. I just feel so alone and isolated, even in the startup community. The reason why I make the distinction between startup and corporate is that having worked in both, I always saw the startup community as the ideal place to work  I just love that we used to make such a big deal of things that should be communal, such as working together and sharing information freely. It didn’t feel like me vs you like it does now, it felt more collaborative because we’d both given up on the rat race and what it stood for.

Whenever I worked corporate, people might meet each other outside work once or twice per week, but the connection is never really fostered because of the pressure that people are under to compete within the organisation. People are tired in general, work a lot, and tend to stay in their comfort zone. I’m convinced that I got into a relationship while I was working corporate just so I could have a stable friend in my life, which is pretty sad.

Recently though, startup culture is resembling more closely corporate culture. The way we interact and socialise between startups used to be as big a deal as our collective search for trying to make it, we’d cheer each other on and reaching new heights was an interactive event involving your new startup family,

While startups have never been some idyllic utopia, it used to definitely be a more important aspect of peoples’ lives to build things together, spend time doing it together, and enjoy it, it reminded me of how you used to hang out with your university friends in between classes, just casually spending time together.

Is it just me or does working in a startup feel like working in a corporation now? I don’t know what it is, but it feels like ruthless commercialism is creeping into startup culture. Entrepreneurs in startups used to have elements of counter-culture, it used to be started in a garage, it used to be about outmaneuvering the big corporations, of course, all startups eventually sell out, but it feels like startups have already sold out even before they incorporate their company. It doesn’t feel like a place for rejects or outsiders to find success outside the conventional definition of corporate success, it seems like the corporate world has invaded startup culture with a fast food, instant gratification, formal and robotic feeling. It feels empty, and while there’s lots of distractions, events, and promotions, it’s lost its unique zeal. Conferences are now just a way to acquire customers, meetups at coworking spaces are places to show off, even startup media has only latched onto the 10% of successful startups and avoid covering new, riskier startups. Do you feel like the culture that once accepted anyone, has now left you out?

View part 2 of this podcast series here.


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