How The HyperNovelty of Online Media Is Building a Generation of EntrepreLosers

Posted on June 20, 2010
Filed Under Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Entrepreneurship |

They don’t intentionally lie to you, it’s just part of the game. The new new thing is always more interesting than reality. That is why the stuff you are learning is mostly crap.

I hear it regularly, as people tell me their business ideas that show a total lack of recognition of what business is all about or how it works. And I’m blaming the media (aren’t they always the scapegoat?).

You see, hype and novelty always triumph in the short term, so when you live in the short term, you build your ideas around hype and novelty. Let me provide you an analogy. I used to play basketball at an open gym every Saturday where, every week, the “kids” (15 - 18 years old) took on the “adults” (25 - 55). It never started that way, but at some point in the day the kids always wanted to take us on. They never won. They always wanted to play because they couldn’t understand why they could never beat us.

They had flash and pizazz. They were more athletic. They had more energy. They watched Kobe and they thought they were playing his style. What they never understood is that, at most levels of basketball, flash and pizazz doesn’t win games. The older guys (granted I was on the younger end of the “old” spectrum) always played like a team. We did very basic stuff that was basketball 101: pick and roll, give and go, blocking out - nothing flashy at all.

Everyone wants to be flashy. Not just in basketball, but in business too. Of course, you wouldn’t read boring but useful business articles, so the business media writes about the new new thing. They cover the flash stuff. They cover novelty. The problem then, is what you read is more a reflection of its novelty value than its underlying business value.

That is my point. If everything you are learning about business comes from online media, you are probably learning mostly crap.

The reason I am bringing this up is because I never realized the extent of the problem until I got plugged more deeply into the entrepreneurial community after Backupify took venture capital. Now I know many more entrepreneurs, and I know too many people who think their business should be run like Twitter. They don’t realize Twitter is the outlier, not the norm.

So when I say “entrepreloser” I don’t mean it in the derogatory social sense of “loser”, I mean that your company is going to go to a big fat 0 because you aren’t focused on the right things. The incessant need of online media to present novel business ideas, and the obsession with outliers instead of the norm, are creating a generation of people that know all the wrong things about business.

Your body is healthier if you seek out the right things to eat rather than consume whatever it is that is pushed in front of you. Your business mind is the same way. You are what you eat. There is a Buddhist saying that “the mind is everything. What you think you become.” So think the right things. Turn up your filters. It’s noisy out there, and sometimes all you really need are the basics.

Comments

5 Responses to “How The HyperNovelty of Online Media Is Building a Generation of EntrepreLosers”

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  2. nick huhn on June 20th, 2010 5:28 am

    what, no LIKE button here? you simply don’t understand social media or the internet, Rob.

    I agree that more “duh” needs to be put back into business fun-duh-mentals.

    Part of me questions, however, if novelty == profit given the seemingly insatiable craving for style over substance and/or immediate gratification over delayed reward in our society. (I bet the kids spent more on shoes and gatorade than the old farts, per your example.) Frankly, I’m just scared that the effort required to diffuse the bullshit or exert a modicum of critical thinking to distill information is a skill set that is increasingly rare. Let’s hope scarcity == value into the future.

  3. How The HyperNovelty of Online Media Is Building a Generation of … | Media Point on June 20th, 2010 6:31 am

    [...] Read the original post: How The HyperNovelty of Online Media Is Building a Generation of … [...]

  4. Kevin Brown on June 21st, 2010 2:57 pm

    Funny but the same thing applies to startup attitudes towards IT talent. Flash and quick little interfaces with no ability to scale well are all the rage with entrepreneurs. One weekend putting together a web startup is one of the really interesting results of this all flash no substance attitude. Start talking about a longer development cycle or more boring aspects of real applications and you find that the work has been outsourced overseas or to some high school student because they were cheaper or they promised to use the newest cool quick web application development framework.
    Funny how quality seems to always become a concern as businesses and their leadership mature. Suddenly they wonder why they are re-writing their applications.
    But perhaps the real skill sets in IT will also be increasing rare and have more value.

  5. Dane Carlson on June 24th, 2010 12:08 am

    Amen, amen, amen!

  • About Rob

    Rob is co-founder of Backupify.com. He likes value investing, the Rolling Stones, college basketball, artificial intelligence, economic history and people who think independently.