The Problem with TechCrunch

Far too many of us have TechCrunch Syndrome, if we‘re honest about it. No idea what I mean? Let me explain.
Firstly, I should probably say that I don‘t actually have a problem with TechCrunch itself at all. Hell, even their new logo has grown on me in the past few weeks! The problem that I actually have is with the countless entrepreneurs, including in South Africa, who seem to live their life and build their business in the pursuit of a TechCrunch headline.

I‘m just as guilty of it. That salivating morning glance over the headlines that read like a just-slightly-more-attainable fairytale to any entrepreneur. “œColor Looks to Reinvent Social Interaction With Its Mobile Photo App (And $41 Million in Funding)“, “œSocial Commerce Network Lockerz Raises $30m“. “œBlah blah raises $(insert stupid number)m/bn in funding from blah blah Ventures“.
I‘m no expert, but I know for sure that that approach won‘t get us as an industry anywhere except on the rather sad inside of a burst bubble.

I‘m lucky enough to know some really great tech entrepreneurs and innovators and not a single one of them has started a business in the hope of raising a wad of investor cash and riding that bank balance for as long as possible, before moving onto the next venture. Forgetting the debate around whether there actually is one or not, it is in that space that the hushed whispers of “œbubble“ crop up. And rightly so. The definition of a bubble is one of unwarranted investment, rather than simply large valuations. Color screams of a bubble. MXit doesn‘t.
I‘m not suggesting that the motivation for entrepreneurship should be all altruistic. Or that there is no place for venture capital. Far from it. What I‘m suggesting is that the motivation for entrepreneurship should be to build a great business; one that will, in turn, make those dream figures of cash. Rather than the other way round. The success is not raising capital – it‘s what you do with it once you‘ve got it. Build a business of sufficient innovation, appeal, and scale, and financial success will follow. The mark of a truly successful startup, after all, is one that deserves investment, not expects it.
So don‘t stop reading TechCrunch; but rather than lusting for the headline of an unjustified value of venture capital, instead keep scrolling down until you hit those headlines spelling out successful acquisitions, IPOs, and Q3 earnings. With that approach to entrepreneurship, it won‘t be long before initiatives like Silicon Cape, Google Umbono, Quirk Labs, and the like start to see some truly exciting results. And Bandwidth Blog becomes SA‘s very own TechCrunch. Perhaps we‘ll make our logo 8-bit, too.