Morbus Startupus . New clinical perspective on unicorn experts syndrome

3 Jul 2015

Morbus [latin: disease]

After visiting another startup incubator last month the words of Terence (ancient Rome playwright) who once said  “I am a human, and I think nothing human is alien to me”, have never seemed more awkward to me. Listening to a 2-hour lecture on brand marketing during which I managed to trash all unread emails, install new apps and friend on Facebook a hot chick sitting next to me, I realized that the guy on stage trying to show us the holy grail of marketing simply talks rubbish.

Author: Andresime


Although, multitasking might be beneficial, wasting time is definitely not. And it’s not the first time some self-made expert was trying to share with me his magic wisdom about building new ventures using his ingenious tactics hidden in a pre-ordered book you can buy on his website.

The most common form of unicorn syndrome materialises in the person of business coach. Even though you may find many trustworthy certified coaches, the market is full of gold diggers who advertise themselves as the fastest way for you to become the next Warren Buffet in the world of investments. The first obstacle seems rather obvious. Why should anyone care if you are going to make a million this year, not to mention they never achieved that and will never do (okey I beg your pardon… it depends on how many friends you take to their course).

On top of that, would you be satisfied as a dean at a university if the whole society would have been composed of graduates? That is why many coaching courses need to be repeated annually.

But truly my favourite type above all is the non-native startup guru coming from some exotic location that you can barely find on google maps who has no clear track of entrepreneurial history. This leaves place for a huge amount of fresh and creative fantasy-based writing. Apart from my love for Ian Fleming classics and great expectations before the next episode starring Daniel Craig that comes to theatres this November, my logic doesn’t help me to believe that after creating a multi-million company, the next step you take is respectively: leave your LA mansion, Maserati, fashion week models and move to central European country in order to become a vegan hermit and preach to young hungry-for-success kids in hoodies. You probably still now want to lead your happy corporate life after reading this.

Author: Andresime


Psychological underpinings you say? Since our lives become faster and faster we tend to generalize more, as it gives us a sense of doing things in a greater tempo. That is why there are such clichés as expensive means high-quality or authority equals professional knowledge. Unicorn experts quite often become authorities who disturb me even more than digital hoarders[1]. The only thing douchier than giving your startup into the hands of these pony-land mentors is taking seriously web articles like “5 habits of successful people” or “10 rules of great business” that deftly enumerate all entrepreneurial virtues.

The lesson learned from unicorns and the most efficient therapy for this  humbug is to stick to the basics: The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and the other that you must not let others fool you (and beware, you are the easiest person to be fooled)[2].

[1] digital hoarder – a person reluctant to delete electronic material no longer valuable to the user

[2] inspired by Richard Feyman Caltech commencement address


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