There is nothing wrong with a startup echo-chamber, just that there is a high probability of one building a narrow focus and eventually, losing sight of the big picture.
If you are an entrepreneur, watch out for some of these signs, because being in the echo-chamber will definitely feed your ego/knowledge, but will hurt the business in long run.
1. Your Last 5 Meetings.
Make that 10 and write down whom you met. If most of your meetings were with other entrepreneurs or investors or mentors, then there is a problem.
And the problem is that you are probably not meeting a lot of industry professionals, customers, your ex-colleagues, friends and in a way, have created a social life around your startup.
Business needs more of you and the expanded social circles will not just help you rewiring yourself, but will also help in building industry connects.
2. Your Jokes
“Sometimes, Hollywood screenwriters create scripts filled with inside jokes that only people in Hollywood could appreciate. Sometimes, New York media writers write about other New York media writers. And sometimes, tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the south create companies best appreciated by other people who live and breathe technology.[Nick Bilton/NYT].”
If most of your jokes, bitching(!) and chatter is about startups, entrepreneurship, funding and related stuff, you are way too immersed in the ‘business of startups’.
Agreed that other topics/interests have taken a backseat, but ask yourself if tweeting/reading about startups/entrepreneurship is going to help you build lateral perspective.
Most probably, the answer is NO. Not that you need to stop doing the above, but maintaining a fine balance will help.
Maybe, talk a lot about your industry.
3. Your Social Timeline
For me, my startup is the business as well. And hence my social timeline is full of talk about startups, entrepreneurship and while this fits into the context of value creation for NextBigWhat (i.e. we heart startups), do check your timeline for tunnel-vision.
If your social timeline resembles mine (i.e. full of startups, entrepreneurship talks), you need a break.
Unless you are in the business of startups.
4. Funding = Success
You know the biggest sign of “startup echo-chamber”? When you clap/congratulate a startup for raising fund or winning awards, but no shout-out for the startup winning key customers (read this discussion), or hiring well, or a product or feature well done.
If you and most on your timeline are usually getting inspired and excited about funding deal announcements and little else, then it is a serious echo-chamber that you are a part of !
5. You are reading this 🙂
Jokes aside, as somebody who is part of the echo-chamber (and has played a role in creating one), I am now making a conscious attempt to go out and see the real world (read : offline).
Recommended Read : Pi of Life : Stepping Out of the Cubicle