Of Startups And Trust..Time To Fix It

Conversation 1

Lady 1: “Startup hai..wait for 2 months – rate badhaayenge.” (will increase rates after 2 months)

Lady 2 : “We lived with their bad quality of service earlier. Now that they have raised money, the rates have gone 2X (more than the market rate).

Lady 1 :  “We better go back to the regular cook.”

Conversation 2

Landlord : “How many promoters do you have?”

Founder : Only 1. Why?

Landlord : Last time, a startup took this office space and the 2 promoters had a fight. They left after 4 months and I am stuck.”

Conversation 1 is between two women discussind a startup that delivers cook.startups

Conversation 2 is between office landlord and a founder (who happens to be yours truly, as we are moving to a bigger facility this weekend).

There are several such conversations – right from candidates asking startup founders questions around financial stability to white-collar employees asking for cash payment on a weekly basis.

Startups Have Gone Mainstream..But The Definition Has Changed

The truth is that startups have gone mainstream (which is awesome), but the definition of a startup has changed. Very often it is :

Startup hai ? How much funding have you raised?

It’s no more about path breaking ideas, big thinking or moonshots. It’s all about funding.

And Then..

Comes layoffs, more layoffs, restructuring, random pricing structures and founder/employee/investor fights !

For a layman, who is the ‘real’ customer of all these consumer tech companies, one can just hope that there is enough excitement and trust left in anything related to startups – enough for them to be an early adopter to new players.

Ditto for potential employees.

It’s not that people aren’t aware of failures, but there aren’t deeper efforts and thought out plans. A lot is just experiment (which is fine), but then customers/employees end up becoming the bakra in these experiments. In fact, some of the recent developments (esp related to M&A/shutdowns) in certain sectors have actually taken the space back by 6 – 9 months, which hurts the genuine startups.

And while one can point fingers at others – especially media for all this drama, the fact is that startup/founders are to be blamed for overdoing the PR shit.

Celebrating when there wasn’t much to.
Expanding when there was no playbook.
Hiring when the roles and product categories weren’t defined.

The course correction?

Build back the trust among consumers.

Beyond discounts and deals, they really need to trust ‘startups’ for their vision and the offering.

Otherwise, it’s all a perceived scam.

What’s your take? What are you seeing?

[Image credit: shutterstock]

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